Category: Featured

Bennett, Badenhorst, Dearing, Cresswell and Shinkawa are the first round picks.

Bennett, Badenhorst, Dearing, Cresswell and Shinkawa are the first round picks.

The 2023 Hunlock Series Draft was completed on Friday night. The managers of the teams had a plethora of talent to choose from with 82 players drafted over 17 rounds.


It was no surprise that four of the five first round picks were pitchers.

On a toss of a coin, the Yellow Wizards had the first pick. Manager, Osvaldo Badia, selected Sean Bennett (pictured above) – a member of the Triple-A League Semi-Finalist, Herts Cardinals.

The Black Barracudas chose pitcher and infielder Josh Badenhorst with their first pick. He has been wearing the MK Bucks jersey this season and has previously played for the various Herts youth teams.

The Big Red Machine had the next pick. They selected Herts Cardinals player-manager Brian Dearing whose primary positions are starting pitcher and shortstop.

The defending Hunlock Series champions, Blue Buzzards, were next and they picked Herts Falcons first baseman and outfielder, Mike Cresswell.

Finally, Green Cheese Cutters manager, Callum Ferrier, selected Testuro Shinkawa with his first pick.


The full team rosters determined at last night’s draft are shown here.

New players are sill regisering and they will be added to the teams as free agents.

New players aged 14 or above, regardless of whether they are members of Herts or another club or completely new to baseball, can be added to the teams at any point. To be added to the teams or for more details contact Herts Baseball Club.


The Series commence on Sunday, 1 October. The first games start at 09:40am at Basing Hill Ballpark in north west London. Admission is free. For complete Series schedule click here.

4 Herts teams compete in the national youth baseball championships this Saturday

4 Herts teams compete in the national youth baseball championships this Saturday

Herts Baseball Club will be represented in all four divisions of the 2023 BBF Youth National Baseball Championships this Saturday, 23 September.

U19 Division

The Herts Falcons U19 team goes into the Final as the underdogs against LYBL U19. However, Herts U19 manager, Will Zucker, is not fazed by the fact that the odds are stacked against his team. His roster features young players from all seven Herts adult league teams so it will be interesting to see if Herts players from the NBL, Triple-A, Double-A and Single-A leagues will be able to combine and work together as a team with very little time to prepare since the end of the adult league season last week.

The Final is a best-of-3 series with all three games being played on the same day. Pitching depth and physical stamina will be critical.

The club’s best finish in this age group was as runner-up in 2013 national championship when they beat the London Mets 6-4 in the semi-final and lost 6-9 in the final to the Cobham Cougars. Will Zucker was 16 years old and was the starting pitcher for the Herts Harriers in the final so this year he will have another shot at the U19 national title, this time as team manager.

U16 Division

photo by Richard Williams

Herts Falcons U16 will also face LYBL U16 in one of the semi-finals. The two teams met three times during the BBF Yotuh Super League regular season and LYBL won all three games, so they have the upper hand this Saturday. Herts U16 manager Nick Sanders will need his team to be at their very best if they are to eliminate the favourites.  The winner will face the winner of the other semi-final between Essex Redbacks and LYBL’s second team.

U13 Division

photo by Richard Williams

The format in the U13 Division is the same as the U16s and Herts Falcons U13 will face LYBL U13 with an equally difficult task. Herts U13 manager, Stephen Wong, added 10 extra training sessions during the summer holidays and this Saturday is the ideal opportunity to see if his team will manage to close the gap on LYBL. In the other Semi-Final, LYBL’s second team clash with the London Mets. The winners of the two Semi-Finals will meet in the final.

U11 Division

The Herts U11 roster includes players from the club’s two branches in Hemel Hempstead and in London so manager Daniel Rose will have the difficult task of blendinU them together. They face Mets U11 in the second semi-final with the winner facing the winner of the other semi-final between LYBL U11 and Essex Redbacks U11.

12 years of hurt…

The last time a Herts youth baseball team won the national championships was in 2010 when the Herts U14 team beat the London Mets 2-1 in the final. The closest that a Herts youth team has come to lifting the national championship trophy since 2010 was in 2011 and 2013 when they finished as runners-up in the U14 and U17 divisions, respectively. Can they bring the silverware back home this weekend?

Hunlock Series managers announced. The Live Draft is on Friday night.

Hunlock Series managers announced. The Live Draft is on Friday night.

We are counting down to the 2023 Hunlock Series Live Draft which will take place this Friday, 22 September at 8:00pm.

For those who are new to the Hunlock Series, in the days leading up to the Draft, the 100+ Herts players (aged 14 and over) and newly registered players mark their availability for the three weeks of the Hunlock Series. The team managers then take turns picking players one by one over the twenty or so rounds of the Draft. It will be interesting to see which players will be picked in the first round and who will be the very first pick.  In previous years, that honour has gone primarily to Conner Brown.

Players and fans can follow the Draft picks here as they happen. Participants will also be able to interact and chat about the Draft in WhatsApp groups as the managers make their picks.

The team managers

Five teams go into this year’s competition. The managerial appointments have just been announced.

  • Black Barracudas – Duane Badenhorst
  • Blue Buzzards – Danny Preston
  • Green Cheese Cutters – Callum Ferrier
  • Big Red Machine – Nick Sanders
  • Yellow Wizards – Osvaldo Badia

Danny Preston led the Blue Buzzards to the Hunlock Series championship last year and he is back to defend the title this year.

Fans will see some new faces in the Hunlock Series this year who have joined the club in the last few weeks, so there will be an element of surprise in Friday’s Draft. Some of them may be new to Herts fans but they are not new to the game. The Hunlock Series could give us a glimpse at some of the new players who will be wearing the Herts uniform in 2024.

Historically the Herts adult league team managers have used the Hunlock Series games to evaluate current and new players in preparation for the new season, to populate their rosters and positions and to decide which leagues the Herts teams should go into in 2024.

How to regsiter

All Hunlock Series players will be drafted into teams. To be eligible for the Draft players will need to update their availability for all the Hunlock Series dates in the online Clubhouse by 7pm on Friday, 22 September. If you miss the deadline or the first one or two weeks of games, don’t worry. New players will still be eligible to play but will have to be assigned to teams as free agents after the Draft.

If you already have a Clubhouse account you can update availability by logging on with your existing username and password. Click here to go to the Clubhouse.

If you do not have a Clubhouse account but wish to play in the Hunlock Series, please register here and select “Play Hunlock Series” in the membership category list. After registering you can log on and mark your availability.

To be eligible to play in the Hunlock Series, players must be 14 years of age or above on 31 December 2023.

Entry fee

2023 club members, including non-roster club members, do not have to pay an entry fee as the Hunlock Series is part of their membership package. If you don’t have a Hunlock Series team shirt, you can buy one before your first game. The price is £10. Many players already have Hunlock Series team shirts from previous years and, to keep costs down for players, an online group will be set up where they can exchange their shirt if they have been picked by a team wearing a different colour team shirt.

New players or players from other clubs can play by paying the £24 entry fee which includes a free Hunlock Series shirt of the team which has drafted them.

For more details about playing in the Hunlock Series, contact us.

Hawks and Falcons are the 2023 Herts U15 and U11 League Champions.

Hawks and Falcons are the 2023 Herts U15 and U11 League Champions.

The Herts Hawks U15 and the Herts Falcons U11 are the 2023 Herts Youth Baseball League champions in their respective age divisions.

U15 Division

Going into Game Two the Hawks led the U15 Championship Series 1-0 against the Falcons.  Their dominance continued as they took a 9-1 lead.  The Falcons mounted a late comeback scoring 5 runs in the final inning but it was too little, too late.  The Hawks won it with a final score of 12-6 and lifted the U15 trophy.

U11 Division

In the U11 division, there was no room for error for the Herts Falcons who were trailing the series against the Londoners 0-1. They tied the series with a 12-6 win in Game Two so it went down to the third and final game of the series.

Despite home runs for Flynn Dunn and Alexis Marriaga, the Londoners found themselves 6-9 down going into the final inning. They drove two runs and put the tying and winning run on base but the Falcons kept their composure to get the final out and clinch the U11 title.

These last two weeks of Herts Youth Baseball League playoff action also featured contests including the Obstacle Relay Race, Power Pitcher and the Home Run Derby which finished in a tie between John Sanders with 2 home runs for the Hawks U15 and Alexis Marriaga also with 2 home runs for the Londoners U11.

The champagne cork seemed to surprise everyone.

There won’t be much time for this achievement to sink in as all eyes now turn to the climax of the 2023 youth baseball season as four Herts teams go into the 2023 BBF U19, U16, U13 and U11 national championships at Farnham Park, in Slough on Saturday, 23 September.

End of the road for Ravens and Cardinals

The Herts Ravens (A) and Cardinals (AAA) fought to the last in playoff games which capped their excellent seasons. But ultimately they fell one step short of the finals they had been chasing. Both teams can be proud of their year, and of the games they played at its climax.

(Photo by Iestyn Dallimore)

The Ravens had to navigate a wildcard game on Saturday, 9th September, after an unexpected BBF ruling removed their tied regular season game and replaced it with a loss. But when they faced the Cambridge Royals at home they overpowered them with an 18-1 win.

That meant a long road trip to Cardiff the next day to face the Merlins. That stacked the odds against them, and the absence of their star slugger Zak Beller and ace pitcher Nic Goetz — who took the win on Saturday – offered further challenges.

But Herts opened up strongly against the winners of the South West and Wales league. Sony Lama drove a hit to centre, stole a couple of bases, and came home on a passed ball. Greg Bochan drove in Eric Ferng and the visitors took a 2-0 lead.

Then when Cardiff’s leadoff man hit a fly ball to the outfield it ended in another big blow to Herts. It deflected off Lama’s glove as he chased into foul ground for the play, and opened a cut above his eye which required stitches at the local hospital. He has recovered well, but losing his arm and his bat from the lineup did not help the Ravens cause.

Andrew Slater’s deceptive curve kept the Merlins batters off balance and the first few innings were tight and low scoring. Norman Peng and Eddie Wang made good defensive plays.

After three, Cardiff had managed to edge ahead 3-2. But then they were able to surge ahead. Essentially, their batters figured out a solution before the Ravens were able to solve the Cardiff starter Eiki Ito, who issued 7 walks but also struck out 10.

After Cardiff jumped to an 8-2 lead, Herts’ defense dug deep to put a zero on the scoreboard. But in the end they could not hold off the home side. Oscar Landin and Jamie Cunningham continued the damage they had done all season and the Merlins won it 12-2 in six innings.

The Herts Cardinals also faced a long road trip, heading to Bournemouth to face the Bears. And they too started strong. They led 2-1 after four innings thanks to an Erik Gustafson RBI hit and a Will Davis home run. Tyler Cote was solid on the mound.

Bournemouth rallied in the bottom of the fifth to retake the lead, but the Cardinals bounced right back. Vytas Macenas cleared the loaded bases for 3 RBIs and the lead. The Bears had the final word, though, with two home runs helping them to a 9-5 lead which they would preserve to take the victory.

Cardinals manager Brian Dearing said it had been a fun and tough fight, with amazing efforts top to bottom from the team.

The playoff finals for the BBF’s A, AA and AAA leagues take place this Sunday at Farnham Park. Herts players can turn their attention to the post-season Hunlock Series which brings together all levels of the club in a fun tournament in October to wrap up the year.

Thanks to Iestyn Dallimore for the excellent photos of the Merlins-Ravens game. Google him and you will find many more!

Dan Gipple 1960-2023

In Remembrance of Dan Gipple 1960-2023

Herts Baseball Club has learned the sad news that club member Dan Gipple passed away two weeks ago.

The Gipple family joined the club in 2013 when Dan’s son Joe was ten and started playing for the Herts Under-11 team. As Joe developed as a player through the baseball age groups, Dan joined the Herts youth baseball coaching staff working alongside Mike Wakelam, Max Trautman, Jeff Witter and other youth coaches.

In 2018 Joe was old enough to start playing in the adult baseball leagues and both Dan and Joe made their senior league debuts with the Herts Raptors. Parents playing baseball side-by-side with their children is a special feeling and Dan and Joe had that opportunity to play together.

With the opening of Basing Hill Ballpark, both of them went on to play for the Herts Eagles reuniting with many of the coaches and players from their youth baseball years.

Dan wore Herts jersey number 54.

Dan with the Raptors, 2018

He has been battling with health problems for some time now. The medical procedures must have been very difficult for him but he did share with club members that baseball gave him strength through those hard times and kept him going.

The thoughts of everyone at Herts Baseball Club are with Joe and the rest of the Gipple family.

The Opening Day of the 2023 Hunlock Series was the ideal opportunity for the large number of club members gathered to remember Dan.

Herts Cardinals win over Bristol Badgers sets up Playoff semi-final versus Bournemouth Bears

Herts Cardinals win over Bristol Badgers sets up Playoff semi-final versus Bournemouth Bears

The Triple-A League Playoff race was decided on the last day of the 28-game regular season as the Herts Cardinals overcame the Bristol Badgers to stay ahead of them in fourth place.

They jumped to an early 5-1 lead after a 2-run double by Tyler Cote and a 2-run single by Giorgio Ferroni who entered the game in the second inning substituting James Cavanagh who suffered a dislocated shoulder after a diving catch in centerfield.

The Badgers scored 2 runs to reduce the deficit to 5-3 but the home team pulled away with another 4 runs after hits from Andy Cornish, Giorgio Ferroni, Osvaldo Badia, Erik Gustafson and a 2-run single by Tyler Cote.

That took the game beyond Bristol and it finished with a final score of 10-5.  Erik Gustafson was the winning pitcher while Naohiko Kumagai picked up the save.

Game One Box Scores: Herts Cardinals 10 Bristol Badgers 5

This win meant that the Cardinals had booked their place in the Playoffs as the Badgers could no longer overtake them.

They ended their regular season in style winning the second game of the day which means their record is 13-12 with a .520 win-loss average. Stephen Wong was the winning pitcher and Kumagai closed the game for his second save of the day.

Game Two Box Scores: Herts Cardinals 11 Bristol Badgers 7

The Herts Cardinals are now preparing for a trip to Bournemouth this Sunday to face the top seeded Bears. They are the favourites to win this semi-final, but the Cardinals have already shown that they are very capable of competing against the Bournemouth Bears having won 2 of the 4 games played between the two teams during the regular season.

Herts fans can follow the play-by-play updates live on the BBF website.

The winner will play in the final at Farnham Park on Sunday, 17 September against the winner of the other semi-final between the Richmond Knights and the London Metros.

The last time a  team from Hertfordshire won the Triple-A League National Championship was in 2008 when the Herts Falcons beat the Oxford Kings 5-2 and won promotion to the National Baseball League.

Herts Ravens face Cambridge Royals in Wild Card game. Winner will be off to Cardiff for Semi-Final.

Herts Ravens face Cambridge Royals in Wild Card game. Winner will be off to Cardiff for Semi-Final.

On Sunday, Herts Ravens fans were anxiously following the game updates from around the Single-A League divisions. When the final out of  the 2023 regular season was recorded and after some off-field BBF deliberations, the Ravens were confirmed as the fourth seed team for the Postseason.

Wins for the Cardiff Merlins, Tonbridge Bobcats and London Mustangs on the final day combined with a decision by the league to roll back the score of the earlier Ravens versus MK Bucks game which was suspended tied 5-5 in extra innings and has now been declared as a 4-3 Bucks win, meant that the  Ravens dropped from second to fourth seed.

Single-A Postseason Seedings (Win-Loss %)

  • 1st Seed – Cardiff Merlins (.917) – Severn Pool Winner
  • 2nd Seed – Tonbridge Bobcats  (.913) – South East Pool Winner
  • 3rd  Seed – London Mustangs (.893) – South Central A Pool Winner
  • 4th Seed – Herts Ravens (.875) – South Central B Pool Winner
  • 5th Seed – Cambridge Royals (.625) – East of England Pool Winner

This implies that the Herts Ravens will have to go through a Wild Card game to earn the right to play in the Semi-Final. Their opponents will be the Cambridge Royals who are the fifth seed but the win-loss average in the different pools may not be the best indicator of the strength of these teams as there are no interleague games between the five pools and there may be a disparity in the strength of opponents in each pool.

As the higher seed, the Ravens will have home field advantage in this Wild Card Game so it will be played at their home field – Basing Hill Ballpark in north west London. First pitch is at 12pm. Admission is free and fans are advised to bring their own seating as the ballpark may not have enough seating capacity for everyone.

If the Ravens overcome the Royals, they will need to swiftly get on the M4 motorway to meet the Cardiff Merlins in the Semi-Final which will be played in Cardiff 24 hours later – a 300-mile round trip.

Fans who cannot see the game in person can follow update on the BBF website.

Herts Youth Baseball League champions to be decided over the next two weeks

Herts Youth Baseball League champions to be decided over the next two weeks

The 2023 Postseason Playoffs of the Herts Youth Baseball League start this Saturday.  The finals of both the Under-15 and Under-11 divisions will be decided in a best-of-3 series.

photo by Richard Williams

In the Under-15 Championship Series the Herts Falcons U15 will come up against their old rivals the Herts Hawks U15. Game One was originally planned to be played at Basing Hill Ballpark but it has now been moved to Grovehill Ballpark to make room for the senior teams in the Single-A League Wild Card game between the Herts Ravens and the Cambridge Royals. Games Two and Three move to Basing Hill in the following week on Saturday, 16 September.

photo by Richard Williams

In the Under-11 Championship Series it will be a battle between Herts Falcons U11 and the Herts Londoners U11. The Falcons are an all star team of Hemel Hempstead-based U11 players while the Herts Londoners are an all star team of players based at the club’s Basing Hill branch in London. All three of their games will be played at Basing Hill Ballpark on 9 and 16 September.

Apart from winning the HYBL championships, the Herts youth baseball team coaches will also be assessing players for the 2023 BBF national youth baseball championships which will be played on 23 September at Farnham Park in Slough, and the Herts Futures Tournament on 30 September.

Boys and girls, from complete beginners to advanced players, can still register to play in these games as the season reaches its climax. Contact us for more details.

Herts Cardinals need a win this Sunday to make the Playoffs

Herts Cardinals need a win this Sunday to make the Playoffs

The Herts Cardinals are currently 4th in the Triple-A League standings.  They face fifth-placed Bristol Badgers on Sunday knowing they will need to win one of the two games to stay ahead of them and qualify for the Playoffs. 


The two teams have played each other twice so far this season when they met on Opening Day in Bristol. The Cardinals won both of those games but they were closely-fought encounters – 5-4 and 5-2.

The starting pitchers for the Herts team in those games were Tyler Cote and Stephen Wong and they faced Bristol’s starters Luke Claflin and Deivydas Trinkunas, respectively. Other potential starters for the Badgers are Nerius Tamosiunas and player-manager Rhodri Theaker.

Roberto Hernandez is the Herts Cardinals’ home run leader this season (photo by Tony Small)

The Cardinals will have home-field advantage and Herts fans can support them by coming to Basing Hill Ballpark this Sunday.  First pitch is at 12pm. Admission is free.

Those who can’t be at the ballpark can follow the live updates on the BBF scoreboard webpage.