Category: Headlines

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

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

We are counting down to the 2022 Hunlock Series Live Draft which will take place this Wednesday, 21 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 among the club’s 100+ 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 on the Herts Facebook Page, on Herts Twitter and 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 Bears – Matt Bell
  • Blue Buzzards – Danny Preston
  • Green Pilgrims – Mike Cresswell
  • Herts Ducks – Brad Charalambous
  • Red Roosters – Jack O’Brien

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 Wednesday’s Draft. Some of them may be new to Herts fans but they are not new to the game. The Hunlock Series could be a glimpse at some of the new players who will be wearing the Herts uniform in 2023.

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 2023.

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 Wednesday, 21 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 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 2022.

Entry fee

2022 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 £8. 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 £18 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.

Herts youth baseball league U15,U13 and U11 finals moved to 24 September

Herts youth baseball league U15,U13 and U11 finals moved to 24 September

Herts Baseball Club received the news that only one other baseball club is likely to enter teams in the BBF national youth baseball championships which were expected to be played on 24-25 September. In view of the difficulties which this presents, Herts has decided not to enter its teams in the various age divisions of the tournament.

In place of that event, the club has now moved the finals of the Herts U15, U13 and U11 leagues to Saturday, 24 September. All games will be played at the newly upgraded Basing Hill Ballpark in London.

In the U15/U13 division, the Herts Falcons and the Herts Hawks find themselves tied in the standings and they will meet in the final at 12:15pm to determine the champion.

HYBL U11 Standings

PosTeamWLPctGBRSRADiffStrkNext Game
1930.7500855035W9-
2420.667223203W1-
3740.6361.576733L1-
4540.5562.550437L1-
5660.50036678-12L6
6280.20065471-17W1-
6280.20064665-19L7

In the U11 division the final will be contested between the Herts Cardinals (8-3) and Herts Falcons (7-3) who are in first and second place in the standings, respectively. The winner will become the U11 champion. The game will start at 10:30.

British youth baseball teams have started entering the 2022 Herts Futures Tournament

In the following week, the Herts U15, U13 and U11 teams will be joined by teams from around the United Kingdom to play in the 2022 Herts Futures Tournament.  All the games will be played at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead on Saturday, 1 October.

Hawks are left stranded by Islanders; comeback not enough

Hawks are left stranded by Islanders; comeback not enough

The Hawks post-season run came to an end in a roller-coaster semi-final game in which two fierce rallies were not quite enough to secure victory.

The game was a mirror of the previous weekend’s battle against the Herts Londoners, with the Hawks on the ropes early and then pulling it out of the bag. But the Formosa Islanders were ultimately able to hang on and progress to the Farnham Park final.

Hawks in action in May (pic: Will Baxter)

Herts travelled to neutral ground in Bristol for this contest, and had seen Bracknell Inferno win a close first semi-final against the local Bats team.

Giuseppe Basilea got the start on the mound for Herts — who were the home side — but had a rough time. Three walks and a couple of hits allowed the Islanders to score the maximum 5 runs. Add a fielding error to the mix and the day looked difficult.

But the Hawks got one back in the bottom half of the frame, with Jack O’Brien doubling and scoring on a wild pitch. And Basilea settled down to keep the second inning scoreless.

Formosa Islanders tacked on a couple more in the top of the third, but then the Hawks were able to stage the first of their big comebacks to cut the lead to 7-6. A series of walks and wild pitches served up by the pitcher Sam Lin allowed 5 runs, with Harry McMenamin and Danny Preston among those reaching home.

Giuseppe Basilea v. Londoners (pic: Rob Jones)

Basilea got two more outs but then the game got away again, with the Islanders able to restore their lead. Manager Ken Pike came in as relief pitcher and the next couple of innings were much more nip and tuck.

Pike struck out 3, and limited the Islanders to 2 earned runs. But going into the bottom of the seventh and final inning Formosa had a 14-6 lead and seemed in a commanding position.

Herts were not surrendering, though. Substitute Dale Hardwick started it off with a walk, and was driven in by McMenamin. Wild pitches again damaged the Islanders’ cause, and helped Herts as they clawed back runs and forced a call to the bullpen for Harry Yang.

Cameron Schultz brought in Jack O’Brien, before Todd Neville really amped up the drama with an inside-the-park home run. That made it 14-11 with just one out and the extraordinary seemed possible.

There was to be no walk-off celebration this time, though. The homer was the only hit Yang gave up, and he coaxed a fly-out from Charlie O’Brien to secure the win.

Ken Pike (pic: Will Baxter)

The Formosa Islanders are in their first year in the BBF league, and started their schedule 1-6. But they grew throughout the season and will now play for the Single-A title.

The Herts Hawks had been drawn up as a team to compete for silverware and they delivered on that in spades. Their powerful bats and array of consistent pitchers took them to a 20-5 record, and a quarter-final win over the Londoners.

Manager Ken Pike was gutted by the defeat, but lavished praise on his “amazing” team. “What a year, and what a progression from last year”, he said – adding that as manager he had been “standing on the shoulders of giants”.

The Hawks players will next join the rest of Herts in taking part in the club’s Hunlock Series in October.

Brent Cross Town funding to enhance baseball experience and activities at Basing Hill Ballpark

Brent Cross Town funding to enhance baseball experience and activities at Basing Hill Ballpark

Herts Baseball Club has confirmed that the Brent Cross Town Community Fund has awarded them £2,632 to fund the purchase of a baseball pitching machine for Basing Hill Ballpark.

Phase Two of Basing Hill Ballpark project nearing completion

Herts Baseball Club established its north west London branch in 2019. The playing field had deteriorated over many years. It was last used by football teams more than 15 years ago. The club ran two successful crowdfunding campaigns raising over £40,000 to level and resurface the field with new grass and also to install the baseball elements including the backstop, infield perimeter fence, infield cutouts and pitcher’s mound.

The club is now aiming to expand and enhance the baseball activities on offer for the local community. In addition to adult and youth league games, the club wants to bring the experience closer to the standard enjoyed in other countries where there are baseball batting practice places in every neighbourhood.

The BATA-2 is the type of pitching machine which the club will be looking to add to Basing Hill Ballpark.

This funding from Brent Cross Town will be used to purchase a pitching machine which will enable the club to offer an even better product and experience to children and adults to try baseball and fall in love with the game.

Hawks rally over Londoners in playoff derby

Hawks rally over Londoners in playoff derby

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish”.

That might be the phrase ringing in the ears of the Herts Hawks after they dug themselves out of an early hole to win their playoff match-up against friends and club-mates, the Herts Londoners.

The Hawks team meeting (Pic: Danny Preston)

The two teams faced off at Grovehill on Sunday (September 4th) in the first round of the Single-A playoffs. This seven-inning game was the first playoff derby for Herts since 2016, and the first time since 2019 the club had a side reach the BBF post-season.

The visiting Londoners struck first, and struck hard. Leadoff man Hunter Devine doubled and stole third, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Sonam Lama. A double by Greg Bochan and a triple from Norman Peng helped bring in the maximum 5 runs.

In reply, the Hawks also got their leadoff man aboard, Harry McMenamin. He ultimately came home on a throwing error, but would be the only run of the inning. It was 5-1 Londoners.

The visitors threatened again in the second, but scored only one. They suffered a setback when Devine was thrown out stealing second base thanks to a move by pitcher Ken Pike which the Londoners thought was illegal. There was a long debate – with both dugouts consulting the rule-book – but the umpire did not see a balk, and no amount of debate changed that fact.

Greg Bochan at bat

The powerful Hawks offense then got into gear in the bottom of the second. Paul le Guillou hit a double and Pete Hogg a triple, and the home side brought in 4 runs.

The Londoners loaded the bases in the third but couldn’t get a run across the plate. The Hawks saw their chance, and jumped into a 7-6 lead. Antony Lavender and Jack O’Brien were among those doing the damage, and chasing starter Andrew Slater from the game.

Hawks extended their lead to 9-6 in the fourth but the Londoners were not rolling over. A single from Bochan – who ended the day 4 for 4 – got them started, and they loaded the bases again. This time, they would capitalise. Devine was hit by a pitch to bring home one, while Zak Beller’s hit scored Arnie Longboy and Nic Goetz. Momentum had switched.

Now it was the Londoners who were 11-9 up, and in the driving seat. Goetz was pitching in relief and, for the first time, the visitors kept the Hawks off the board in the bottom of the fifth. This game was always going to be close, now it was tense, too.

The home side turned to their bullpen, and Giuseppe Basilea did the business. The former Herts youth player, only recently returned to the club, struck out two and induced a flyout to record a scoreless inning.

Giuseppe Basilea pitching

A Dale Hardwick single in the bottom of the 6th chipped into the Londoners lead, driving home Lavender. In return, a sac fly from Beller brought home Lama to tack a run back on. Going into the bottom of the seventh and final inning, Herts Londoners led the Herts Hawks 12-10.

The final and decisive rally was started by Todd Neville, hit by a pitch to lead off. Then Pedro Martins singled. McMenamin got another hit — and by the time he had stolen his way round to third base, he represented the winning run. Nobody was out.

As the Hawks dugout shouted for calm, they knew they were touching victory. Cam Schultz grounded out, but there was no way to stop McMenamin racing home on the play to be mobbed by his team. A 13-12 walkoff win.

The Hawks will travel to Bristol for their playoff semi-final, where they will face the Formosa Islanders on Saturday (10th September).

Hawks vs Londoners – Playoff Quarter-Final preview.

Hawks vs Londoners – Playoff Quarter-Final preview.

We are now counting the hours until the Herts Hawks and Herts Londoners play in the Single-A League Playoff Quarter-Final this Sunday, 4 September.

The last time a Herts baseball team qualified for the BBF postseason playoffs at any league level was 2019. This may not sound like a very long time ago but for a club of the size of Herts with five teams competing in the various league tiers of British baseball, this feels like an eternity.

The format and seeding meant that the two Herts teams were drawn to play against each other. Herts fans would have preferred to see the two teams meet much later in the postseason, but they will have to accept that one team will be eliminated on Sunday.

Herts teams have met in the postseason only once in the club’s history. That was in 2016 when the Herts Hawks eliminated the Herts Raptors once again in the Single-A league quarter-final, pictured above.

This year the Hawks (20-5) dominated their division and secured their playoff place a few weeks before the end of the season, while the Londoners had to grind out results and go through a nail-biting experience right down to the last games of the season which saw them finish above the reigning national champions, the London Mustangs, only thanks to a better head-to-head run differential as they both ended the season with identical records of 18 wins and 8 losses.

Some would argue that the Hawks have the advantage as the Londoners must be physically and emotionally drained from that intense race. Others may say that this gives the Londoners an advantage as they are going into the game firing on all cylinders.

Both teams have many pitching options so it is difficult to predict the starting pitchers. For the Hawks, player-manager Ken Pike seems like the obvious choice having pitched the highest number of innings this year, but they also have Declan Carlean, Harry McMenamin and Luis Martins who have all been effective on the mound this season.

Andrew Slater has been the starting pitcher for the Londoners in 10 of their regular season games followed by Nic Goetz (7) and Greg Bochan (6).

Offensively, the Londoners have their big hitter, Gilberto Medina, who is the league’s joint home run leader with 3 as well as some very consistent hitters like Cory English (BA .750), Simon Langton (.700) and Kenny Liao (.691).

Danny Preston and Todd Neville have shown home run power this season and there are a number of other hitters with impressive batting averages like Paul le Guillou (.636), Harry McMenamin (.625) and Jack O’Brien (.529) but the one batter who the Londoners have painful memories of is Anthony Lavender who hit 3 triples when the two teams met in May. The Hawks won those two games 14-9 and 12-11.

The Hawks also have history on their side having appeared in the Postseason before – in Single-A (2015 and 2016) and Double-A (2017 and 2018) lifting the Single-A national championship trophy in 2016 (pictured above).  This was one of only three national championships for Herts teams over the club’s 26-year history.  The Herts Londoners were formed in 2019 and this will be their first postseason appearance.

Admission to the game is free.  Fans are advised to bring their own chairs or other seating as currently there is no spectator seating at Grovehill Ballpark. Fans who are not able to watch the game in person, can follow the play by play live on the BBF website.

Phase Two of Basing Hill Ballpark project nearing completion

Phase Two of Basing Hill Ballpark project nearing completion

The key components of the second phase of the Basing Hill Ballpark project have now been completed.

The first phase of the project was to level and resurface the playing field with new grass.  That was implemented last September and October by the contractor Inscapes and it was time to move to phase two.

The club, with the help of Sport England, club members and the wider community successfully reached the £20,068 crowdfunding target in April and the London Borough of Barnet planning department granted the planning permission for the project to commence.

Over the last three months the club secured the services of several fantastic contractors. Galldris Group, who have been busy across the street with the huge Brent Cross Town development, implemented the excavation of the infield cutout areas around the bases and the pitcher’s mound.

Working on a very tight budget, the club relied on its own members and volunteers to do the heavy lifting of laying the 20 tonnes of sub-base and 40 tonnes of infield mix onto the cutout areas.

They somehow managed to avoid disruption to the youth and adult league schedules by squeezing all of this work into the five days between two weekends packed with games.

The first games on the new infield was the Triple-A League clash between the Herts Cardinals and the Cambridge Monarchs on 26 June, pictured above.

The mound clay blocks were installed on the pitcher’s mound and the batters’ and catcher’s boxes a week later.

Today, the installation of the baseball backstop was completed by contractors Tate and Tonbridge Fencing.

The last remaining task in this phase of the project is the installation of the spectator rails on the first and third base side of the infield. With steel and fuel prices rising, the cost of this increased by 30% which pushed the total project cost above the amount which was raised and the club is now looking for solutions either to raise more funds or find a fencing contractor who is able to install the spectator rail fencing panels at a lower price, or hope that inflation will correct itself in the coming months but that looks highly unlikely at the moment.

Although the 2022 BBF regular season is over, players will have a chance to play at the upgraded Basing Hill Ballpark before 2023 as the first Hunlock Series game day is scheduled to be played there on Sunday, 2 October.

British youth baseball teams have started entering the 2022 Herts Futures Tournament

British youth baseball teams have started entering the 2022 Herts Futures Tournament

Herts Baseball Club has confirmed that the 2022 Herts Futures Tournament will take place on Saturday, October 1st.

The Herts Futures Tournament (HFT) was first held in 2008 and is now a permanent fixture in the British baseball calendar. The number of teams entering the tournament has been going up. The highest number of entries which we have managed to accommodate in previous years has been 21 teams. It will be interesting to see how many teams will enter this year. If the number continues to increase the club will have to consider ways of expanding the venue further.

The event brings together youth teams of various age groups from across the country for a day of baseball at one of the best baseball venues in the UK. Grovehill Ballpark is the home of Herts Baseball Club. Over the years the venue has been selected to host some of the biggest events in the British baseball calendar including the National Baseball Championships and Great Britain National Team events.

During the Herts Futures Tournament additional diamonds are added to cater for the different age groups.

This year’s edition is expected to cover the Under-15, Under-13 and Under-11 age groups.

For more information about the event, how to enter your team in the Tournament or how players can join the Herts teams to play in the HFT, visit the Herts Futures Tournament homepage or contact us.

BBF confirms the change of venue and date of the playoff clash between the Hawks and Londoners

BBF confirms the change of venue and date of the playoff clash between the Hawks and Londoners

The British Baseball Federation has approved the joint application of the Herts Hawks and the Herts Londoners to move the Single-A League Playoff Quarter-Final game between the two teams from Williams Field in Kent to Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead.

The date of the game has also been changed and it will now be played on Sunday, 4 September 2022, with a first pitch at 12pm.

The plate umpire will be Chris Goldsmith. The base umpire will be confirmed in due course.

Admission to the game is free.  Fans are advised to bring their own chairs or other seating as currently there is no spectator seating at Grovehill Ballpark.

Two Herts baseball teams to face each other in the Playoffs

Two Herts baseball teams to face each other in the Playoffs

The British Baseball Federation (BBF) has announced the Playoff matchups confirming that the Herts Hawks and Herts Londoners will face each other in the quarter-finals of the BBF Single-A League Playoffs.

Single-A (South Central B)

PosTeamWLPctGB
12160.7780
215120.5566
312140.4628.5
312140.4628.5
51250.03819.5

The Hawks have dominated their division and booked their place several weeks ago.  The Londoners played their final games of the regular season on 14 August and at that point they were almost certain of a place in the Playoffs regardless of what the reigning Single-A League National Champions, the London Mustangs, did in their remaining games by virtue of a better run differential in the direct games between the two teams.

However, the Herts team had to wait until last Sunday’s round of games involving other teams as there was a scenario where the Mustangs could overtake them due to a peculiarity in the tie-break rules. The Herts Londoners have a better record than the Mustangs in a two-way tie between them, but a worse record than the Mustangs in a three-way tie which would have occurred if the Bracknell Inferno had lost to the London Minotaurs leaving the Inferno, the Londoners and the Mustangs with identical win-loss records of 18 wins and 8 losses.

Herts fans had to endure a tense afternoon on Sunday waiting for game updates as the Minotaurs put up a real fight against the Bracknell Inferno but the division leaders came back late in the game to win it which confirmed Herts Londoners’ place in the Playoffs.

Single-A (South Central A)

PosTeamWLPctGB
12060.7690
21880.6922
31890.6672.5
47180.28012.5
57190.26913

The Playoff matchups were determined based on the seeding of the teams in the regular season league standings which paired the Herts Hawks and Herts Londoners against each other. The higher seeds are designated as the home teams.

Formosa Islanders (6th seed) @ Tonbridge Wildcats (1st seed)
Herts Londoners (5th seed) @ Herts Hawks (2nd seed)
Kent Mariners (4th seed) @ Bracknell Inferno (3rd seed)

All three games were scheduled to be played on Saturday, 3 September, at the home of the Kent Buccaneers in Hadlow, Kent.

In view of the two Herts teams being drawn to play against each other and given the cost of living crisis which players and fans are facing at the moment, last night Herts Baseball Club submitted an application to the BBF to move the game to Grovehill Ballpark in Hertfordshire and avoid Herts players and fans spending hundreds of pounds on fuel.  The application also requests the game to be moved from the Saturday to the Sunday, 4 September, to avoid a clash with youth baseball events.

The club is awaiting BBF’s decision and will keep supporters updated when a confirmation is received.