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Youth summer camps come to Herts for 2024

Youth summer camps come to Herts for 2024

In a year which has seen MLB return to the UK with a bang, Herts Baseball Club is thrilled to announce a new offering for our players – and for kids across British baseball.

The club will run a Summer Youth Baseball Training program at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead designed to cater to young players of all ages and skill levels. Sessions will take place from 23rd July to 15th August, every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

The program will be divided into two levels, Beginner and Experienced, to ensure the best and safest development of all of those taking part. Please ask your coaches if you have questions about which level suits you best.

The cost is just £15 per week (the fourth week has two sessions rather than three), or £50 for all 11 sessions. We feel this is excellent value, considering the expert leadership provided by Coach Stephen and his team. It is important to us to make sure baseball is available to as many families as possible.

Experienced Players

  • Skill Level: Players with over 1 year of baseball experience.
  • Age Group: 11-16 years old
  • Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM (3 hours per session)
  • Training Content:
    • Advanced skill development
    • Pitcher and catcher training
    • Hitting drills and techniques
    • Physical conditioning

Beginner Players

  • Skill Level: Players with less than 1 year of baseball experience, or under 10 years old.
  • Age Group: less experienced players or under 10 years old
  • Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM (2 hours per session)
  • Training Content:
    • Basic skill development
    • Introduction to catch and throw
    • Fundamental hitting drills
    • Body coordination training

(Pic: Tony Small)

Registration

Participants will need to be registered with the British Baseball Federation (BBF), the sport’s UK governing body. To do this, you must sign up through the Sport80 website. All our existing players will already have done this, but please ensure you sign up if you are new to the season.

To register for the Herts Summer Baseball Training program, please fill in the online registration form.  Ensure you select the appropriate skill level group for your child. If you have any questions, please consult your coach. Payment will be taken through the club’s Direct Debit process.

Training Content Breakdown

Individual Skill Development

  • Throwing: Techniques to improve accuracy and strength
  • Catching: Proper catching techniques and positioning
  • Fielding: Infield and outfield drills to enhance agility and reaction time

Pitcher and Catcher Training

  • Pitchers: Mechanics, control, and various pitching techniques
  • Catchers: Stance, receiving, blocking, and throw-down drills

Hitting Training

  • Beginners: Basic batting stance, swing mechanics, and tee work
  • Experienced: Advanced hitting strategies, live pitching, and situational hitting

Physical Conditioning/ Body coordination training

  • Strength Training: Age-appropriate exercises to build muscle and endurance
  • Agility Drills: Enhance speed and coordination
  • Flexibility Exercises: Stretching routines to prevent injuries
  • Body Coordination Drills

We look forward to seeing you at the Herts Baseball Club Summer Camp — and helping our young players enhance their skills and enjoy the game of baseball!

Herts rallies support for MND on Lou Gehrig Day

Herts rallies support for MND on Lou Gehrig Day

Last week, Hertfordshire residents and businesses joined members of the baseball community in support of Motor Neurone Disease research for a charity event at a sunny Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead. 

The fundraising event for the Motor Neurone Disease Association on Sunday 2 June attracted people from across Hertfordshire and beyond. They enjoyed hotdogs, home-baked cakes, and other food and drinks donated by volunteers and local businesses in a tremendous display of community spirit and support for a vital cause. The most intrepid took part in ice-bucket challenges.

(L-R) Pete Hogg, Hetty Smith, Mike Cresswell

Of course, this is a baseball club – so we had sporting challenges too. People of all ages and abilities joined in with a friendly softball match and other fun baseball games. Two of Herts’ British Baseball Federation (BBF) AA-league teams, the Hawks and the Ducks, battled it out in league games in front of a record number of spectators. Fittingly, they won one game each!

The event has so-far raised over £1,300 for the MND Association charity. It will be split between the national branch to fund medical research and the local branch to provide care and equipment for people in Hertfordshire living with MND. 

June 2nd is a significant date for Major League Baseball (MLB), as America’s top professional league marks Lou Gehrig Day each year in honour of the former Yankees star player, and the degenerative disease that bears his name.

MLB featured Herts Baseball Club on their global website in the lead up to the event and donated an array of prizes, including team hats, jerseys, and tickets to the London Series games between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies at the London Stadium, which were eagerly won by attendees. Other great prizes included a bat, donated by Baseball Outlet, batting cage time donated by The 108 in Brent Cross, and a softball signed by the Great Britain Women’s World Cup team, donated by BSUK.

Eyes down for a raffle winner

The event took on an additional layer of significance as the day drew to a close, with the breaking news that another sporting legend, former Rugby League player Rob Burrow, passed away from Motor Neurone Disease.  

Event organiser for Herts Baseball Club, Pete Hogg, who also ran the inaugural Rob Burrow Marathon for MNDA in 2023, remarked: “The generosity and enthusiasm of our volunteer team and everyone who chipped in with prizes and donations made the day a roaring success. I can’t thank them all enough. We are thrilled with the turnout and that everyone had an amazing fun day.”

“Rob Burrow and Lou Gehrig are both sporting icons who share the same tragic fate at the hands of Motor Neurone Disease, but will be remembered for generations to come as inspirational figures in their respective sports. The funds raised today will make a real difference in the fight against it.”

The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Hetty Smith from the MND Association’s Hertfordshire branch, who was the guest of honour at the event. Speaking on behalf of the MND Association, she shared her gratitude: “The Hertfordshire Branch are immensely grateful to Pete Hogg for organising this event. Without the support of people like Pete and his friends, family, and colleagues, we would not be able to fund equipment for people living with this horrendous disease in Hertfordshire. Half of the funds raised will go to the National Office towards research funding which is hugely important. Events like this are also a very important way of raising awareness.”

Sweet treats

Herts Club President Michael Cresswell added: “We are grateful to the residents of Hertfordshire and beyond for their incredible support. Whether they attended, donated, or volunteered, their contributions have made a meaningful impact in our collective fight against Motor Neurone Disease. Herts Baseball Club plans to make Lou Gehrig Day an annual event and we hope to inspire other international clubs, players, and fans to get involved and make next year even bigger.”

The successful fundraiser not only generated significant funds for MND research but also showcased the growing enthusiasm for baseball in the UK. As the sport continues to gain momentum, events like this highlight its potential to bring people together for a greater good.

To support Herts Baseball Club’s fundraising efforts please visit https://givestar.io/gs/lou-gehrig-day-at-herts-baseball-club.

Ravens sweep up in Essex

Ravens sweep up in Essex

The Herts Ravens continued their unbeaten start to the season, when they visited the Essex Redbacks in Chelmsford on Sunday (26th May). But it was not all plain sailing.

Herts opened up Game 1 with a single and a steal from Hunter Devine, who was then driven in by a double from Zak Beller. So far, so normal. Beller came around to score, too.

The Ravens ace pitcher, Nic Goetz, was on the mound. He racked up three strikeouts in the first two frames. Again, pretty normal. But Essex also got three hits and a walk in the early innings – pretty unusual. And the Herts bats just weren’t able to get good contact against the Redbacks’ starter Ben Brett.

After four innings, the Ravens led 2-1, and it was time for a manager’s pep talk. The team’s defense had helped keep things that tight – with Greg Bochan at third base making a series of strong throws to narrowly get runners at first.

Youth and experience

Now, at last, Herts strung together some hits. Sony Lama drove a triple out to right field – by far the best hit of the day. Zak Beller followed up with a single, and went 3-for-4 on the day. Andrew Slater singled, too, and 3 runs crossed to pad the lead.

Goetz gave up one more walk but also rediscovered the legendary zip on his fastball. He also fielded his position brilliantly and helped prevent any sort of Essex rally. He had gritted through for the win, with the final score 6-1.

Game 2 saw patient at-bats and strong hits from the visitors from the very start, and the first maximum 5-run inning of the day. Slater brought his famous curveball to work, and a groundout, a strikeout and a pop-out expertly taken by catcher, Devine, quickly ended a scoreless first.

Slater was supremely efficient, with the record showing he threw 30 pitches – 21 for strikes. And he was backed up by the Ravens offense. New recruits Lewis Auchterlounie and Matt Lewis worked walks and scored runs, as they blended well with the veterans of the team.

Henry Bell pitching

And again the defense stood firm. Zak Beller took an impressive catch when a bloop hit threatened to fall in the dead zone behind shortstop and second. And Henry Bell – who closed out the game with an 8-pitch clean inning – ended it all with a smooth-as-silk snaring of a sharp comebacker, and a throw to first. This one ended 20-0.

Essex were genial hosts on a day which swung from hot sunshine to heavy showers, and the game was played in a good spirit, peppered with one-liners from the umpire. On Sunday the Ravens head to Milton Keynes for the first time this year to face a team which pushed them all the way to the division title last season.

Herts Baseball Club Takes A Swing At Motor Neurone Disease

UPDATED: Herts Baseball Takes A Swing At Motor Neurone Disease

 On Sunday June 2nd, Herts Baseball Club will be transforming Grovehill ballpark in Hemel Hempstead into a hub of solidarity and support in the global fight against Motor Neurone Disease (MND), often referred to as ‘Lou Gehrig’s Disease’.

This full day of activities, revolving around baseball, will allow individuals of all ages and skill levels to come together in support of MND research and awareness.

From thrilling baseball games to beginner-friendly batting and pitching sessions, a bake sale, and a barbecue there’s something for everyone at this event.

There will also be a charity raffle where you can win great prizes which have been generously donated:

— London Series merchandise from MLB Europe

— time in the batting cages at The 108 London

— a Louisville Slugger bat from Baseball Outlet

— a signed ball from the GB Softball Women’s World Cup

Look out for tickets on sale at all our training sessions, as well as on the day.

June 2nd holds special significance in the baseball community as Lou Gehrig Day, honouring the legacy of the former New York Yankees star player whose life was tragically cut short by ALS, a form of MND. By commemorating this day, Herts Baseball Club aims to channel the spirit of solidarity and determination to make a tangible difference in the lives of those affected by the condition.

The London Series has raised the profile of baseball

Pete Hogg, Herts baseball player and event organiser from St Albans, shares: “Motor Neurone Disease is a devastating condition that can affect anyone, quickly robbing them of their ability to move, speak, and even breathe on their own. Through Lou Gehrig Day, the baseball community can play a vital role in funding medical research and supporting those living with the condition”.

“At Herts Baseball Club, we aim to play our part and inspire other British and international baseball teams, players, and fans to unite in the global fight against ALS and other forms of Motor Neurone Disease. We invite anyone curious about the sport, willing to support the cause, or just looking for a fun day out, to come down to Grovehill Ballpark and join us for a day of summer fun.”

Will the bake sale include tasty treats like this?

As baseball continues to gain momentum in the UK, events like this fundraiser contribute not only to MND research but also to the growing community of baseball enthusiasts.

There has been increased television and online coverage, boosted by the successes of Team GB, and landmark events like the regular London Series. This year, it brings the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies together at the London Stadium. The sport is capturing the hearts and minds of people across the country.

Events on the day will open to the public from 11am, with a representative from the MND Association charity throwing the ceremonial first pitch as the Herts Hawks face the Herts Ducks at 12:00.

We are expecting plenty of volunteers for the iconic Ice Bucket Challenge – using ice kindly donated by Ice Cool Ice UK, based in Hemel Hempstead.

The raffle will be drawn at 2:30, with the Hawks and Ducks squaring off again at 3pm.

Herts Baseball Club has five teams that play in the British adult baseball leagues and one of the largest youth baseball programmes in the UK. 

Club President, Michael Cresswell, commented: “We invite the residents of Hertfordshire and beyond to join us in spreading the word about this important event. Whether you attend, donate online, or volunteer your time and resources, your contribution will make a meaningful impact in the fight against Motor Neurone Disease.”

Please visit our fundraising page at Lou Gehrig Day 2024 at Herts Baseball Club | givestar (NB. donations are very welcome, but do not constitute a purchase of anything unless explicitly agreed in advance)

BBF Youth Super League comes to Herts

BBF Youth Super League comes to Herts

The BBF Youth Super League comes to Grovehill ballpark this Saturday, 11 May. It’s a competition run by the British Baseball Federation (BBF) covering the Under-15, Under-12 and Under-10 age groups.

Herts young stars will take on teams from the London Mets, LYBL, and the Buccaneers travel team. The first game starts at 10am, the last game at 4pm.

The Herts teams put in a tremendous performance with some great games when the first round was played at Farnham Park earlier this year.

We are on the hunt for volunteer umpires and helpers so do give us a shout if you think you can do something to help our youth baseball division.

Herts in action in Round 1 at Farnham Park

Each of the competing clubs will host a round of games, so there will be one more to be played at Finsbury Park.

Players should make sure they are registered with the BBF to play with the Herts youth league teams this season.

Cresswell takes over as President

Cresswell takes over as President

Herts Baseball Club is delighted to announce the appointment of long-time player, coach and cheerleader Mike Cresswell as our new President.

He adds a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the Executive Board as the club moves into 2024 and beyond.

Mike Cresswell in action

Mike joined Herts as an 18 year old equipped with, as he puts it, “a plastic glove and a keen interest in the sport”. In the years since, he has developed not only as a baseball player but as a crucial figure in the club.

He played for the Raptors in Single-A, moving onto become their co-manager. In that role, he helped lead them to a famous playoff victory over the defending champions Tonbridge in 2016. Mike moved on to Double-A with the Hawks, Triple-A with the Londoners and then — inevitably — the Falcons of the NBL. In 2024, he’s a Cardinal.

But his contributions have gone way beyond that. Mike has run midweek training sessions at Grovehill for some time now, helping to bring on new recruits and get them ready for competitive baseball. And he has always been there to cheer on other Herts teams at every opportunity.

Applying for the vacant President’s role, Mike Cresswell offered passion, loyalty, and ideas for the way forward. The hope is to lay the foundations for a women’s baseball team, and to build from the ground up with teams full of good chemistry.

The new Herts President said: “This is a club that I hold very close to my heart. To give back, to not only Herts but the baseball community as a whole, is an opportunity that I welcome with both arms.”

“I look forward to this role, and watching Herts grow and build as part of the British Baseball landscape.”

A safe pair of hands

The Herts adults teams are in action for the first time this weekend in the BBF leagues. The Ducks go first, travelling to Norwich on Saturday. Everyone else follows on the Sunday.

The youth players are at Farnham Park on Saturday to take part in the first BBF Super League event of 2024.

13 teams sign up for the 2024 Herts Spring League

13 teams take part in the 2024 Herts Spring League

Herts Baseball Club can announce that 13 teams have entered this year’s Herts Spring League (HSL). The teams come from across a range of British baseball leagues including the Triple-A, Double-A and Single-A Leagues.

Spring is the time when managers put together their teams and aim to turn them into winning machines ahead of Opening Day. Similar to the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues in MLB, the HSL provides a competitive edge to Spring training. This is the seventeenth year of the HSL.

This year’s teams are:

Herts Cardinals (AAA)
Northants Centurions (Single-A)
Herts Ducks (Double-A)
MK Bucks (Single-A and Double-A)
Herts Ravens (Single-A)
East London Huracan Latino (AAA)
Formosa Islanders (Double-A)
Herts Hawks (Double-A)
Bracknell Inferno (AAA)
Herts Buzzards (Single-A)
Leicester Blue Sox (Double-A)
Essex Archers (Double-A)

Schedule and Format

The action will take place at both Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead and Basing Hill Ballpark in north west London.

The HSL will be played over three weekends commencing on the 24 March and ending on 7 April. The format and full game schedule are expected to be announced shortly and hertsbaseball.com will bring this and all other HSL news as they happen.

Going under cover

Going under cover

The phrases “if you build it” and “people will come” have a magic resonance in the world of baseball.

And so they must have drifted through the minds of two Herts baseball club veterans when they saw their vision of an indoor baseball and softball venue open at Brent Cross this past week. The 108 London is a first in the UK, and the biggest such centre in Europe.

Its creators, Mike Wakelam and Max Trautman, have been part of Herts for more years than we’d like to say. Their wisdom and enthusiasm – not to mention a little bit of skill – have left a lasting mark on the club. Together they oversaw the youth programme for a long time. Rifle through our photo archive on Flickr and they feature often.

Mike and Max overseeing a youth session in 2017

Now they have made a mark on the wider world of British baseball. The 108 is a purpose-built indoor venue with a neat, full-size infield. It had its gala opening this past week, with the backing of MLB, Barnet Council, and the developers of the Brent Cross Town project.

There are batting cages with computer technology which allows you to check your progress in detail. There are bullpens for pitchers and catchers to hone their craft. And there is a bar and barbecue, with games on TV screens.

Herts players have already been taking advantage of the facilities, with regular training sessions on a Thursday evening. Members of the Herts Cardinals, Herts Ravens — as well as the Herts Raptors who are based in Hemel Hempstead – are among those who have been there to work out.

Baseball Softball UK (BSUK), the development agency for the sports, has already made extensive use of the manicured indoor green fields. In England in January, going under cover is the best way to play. They hosted a two-day clinic for coaches this weekend, with World Series winner and current Miami Marlins coach Jon Jay among those sharing their expertise. And yes, Herts coaches were there.

Mike Wakelam told the BBC why he wanted to create the space: “I’ve been passionate about baseball and softball since I was a child, and I wanted somewhere people could enjoy the game and help it grow. The barbecue and bar is part of that, because you want the game to grow socially, and let people have a hit and have a drink with friends!”

Pic courtesy Barnet council

MLB Europe described the barbecue offerings at The 108 as “mouth-watering”. Batflips and Nerds, the premier British baseball podcast and website, called the whole facility “absolutely incredible”. Barnet’s council member for sports, Ammar Naqvi, said it provided an exciting, fun place for local residents to meet and new ways for people to get active.

Herts — which has its Basing Hill field close by – very much shares the aim of growing the game of baseball wherever we can.

Players are continuing sessions at The 108 in the coming weeks, and do get in touch with us if you want to know more. We are hopeful that the club can organise training there, too, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, a number of indoor sessions have been arranged at other venues:

Youth: Saturday 17th February and 9th March, 1-3pm, JFK Catholic School, Hemel Hempstead

Adults: Sunday 18th February and 10th March, 12-2pm, JFK Catholic School, Hemel Hempstead

Adults: Sunday 4th February, 12-2pm, Ark Elvin Academy, Wembley

We look forward to seeing you all soon to play baseball (under cover, it’s cold outside!). And before you know it the sunshine and the season will be here.

2023 Season Review

2023 Season Review

The following article was featured in Herts Baseball Club’s 2023 Annual Report distributed to club members ahead of its annual general meeting held on 26 November 2023.


It has been another record year for our club growing by 16% and we now have 248 adult and youth members. This has enabled us to have one or more teams at each of the four adult league tiers and in all four youth league age divisions. Substantial investment has gone into upgrading both ballparks and facilities and we are in a strong position to go further in the coming years after adding new revenue streams which increase our healthy cash reserves. MLB and other strategic partners have recognised us as an organisation they can work with and we hosted two MLB events – one in Hemel Hempstead and one in London. There are exciting opportunities on the horizon.

This would not be possible without the hard work, care and dedication of board and non-board staff, and the wider membership. We have been receiving very positive feedback from club members, parents and fans and I would like to join them in thanking you, the members, for your incredible contribution.

Adult Baseball

In 2022 we saw the unusual scenario of having one team in the Triple-A League and our other four teams all in Single-A. This year, the number of teams increased from five to seven and the allocation of teams was more balanced – one team in the NBL, one in Triple-A, two in Double-A and three in Single-A. From previous years we know that moving up the leagues is not an easy step to take. It became even more difficult when, after submitting the league entries in January, the Hawks lost five or six players from their strong 2022 roster and a similar number of new experienced players who were expected to strengthen the Ducks, withdrew their club registration shortly after registering due to change of circumstances. That had a significant effect on the competitiveness of those two teams in Double-A.

photo by Henry Bell

Despite this being an expansion season, the Cardinals, Raptors and Ravens achieved a considerable improvement with a combined record of 42 wins and 30 losses (.583) compared to 29 wins and 49 losses (.372) in 2022.

photo by Tony Small

Cardinals and Ravens qualified for the Triple-A and Single-A postseason, respectively, reaching the semi-final stage which is an outstanding feat.

Falcons and the NBL Pilot Project

After a one year absence, the Herts Falcons were back in Britain’s top league. In addition to the return of a number of former Falcons players, we saw a large number of talented young players with international experience with the various Great Britain national teams.

There were games when the team showed that they can compete against the best NBL teams, but at the end we have to give credit to our opponents and accept that the Falcons did not do enough to stay in the playoff race.

But there is no doubt about the enormous potential of this group of young players not only to close the gap on the leading NBL teams but to overtake them in the coming years.

There was a recognition of this when Falcons third baseman, Jack Warrington, was selected as the only British player among the top 90 young European prospects to take part in the MLB Development Tournament during the MLB London Series in front of the MLB scouts.

The return of the Falcons to the NBL was in conjunction with the club’s Pilot Project which had the aim to increase the number of fans and provide a more immersive game day experience.

Despite operating on a limited budget, we sold a total of 284 tickets for the four NBL home games. The total included a number of complimentary tickets given to local primary schools and an organisation which supports people in Dacorum facing homelessness or social exclusion.

The department made a small profit. It would have been interesting to see what the results would have been if the team’s win-loss percentage was higher and had avoided some of the blow-out losses.

The project achieved most of the goals which were set, including:

  • Falcons’ return to the NBL
  • Grow the club’s fan base
  • Increase attendances at home NBL games
  • Increase publicity and media coverage
  • Raise the club’s profile
  • Inspire more children and adults to play baseball and join Herts

Youth Baseball

The Herts youth baseball programme grew again this year setting another record high.

photo by Richard Williams

The club was represented in all four age brackets of the national youth baseball championships picking up a silver at U19 level and two bronze medals for the U16s and U11s.

There is still a gap between our youth teams and the leading youth programme, but that gap is getting smaller every year.

photo by Marcus Grant

The coaching staff deserve a lot of praise for raising the standard further and providing more playing opportunities, some of which were added extras on top of the membership packages.

Coach Lee Manning once again ran the midweek youth baseball sessions in Hemel Hempstead and coach Stephen Wong added ten summer holiday sessions and four April half-term sessions. The Basing Hill branch also added twelve midweek evening sessions to the calendar.

U13 players also had the opportunity to work with coach Monte Brooks from The Master’s University, California who have seen a number of their players play in MLB.

Like any organisation, there will be hurdles that we need to overcome. This year, a large number of U11 players in Hemel Hempstead made the transition to U13 leaving a lower number of players in that U11 group. That made it difficult for U11 coaches to run regular season games. Although the size of our programme is at a record high, we are still slightly short of the level needed to run local league play in every age group on our own. Disproportionate fluctuations in numbers from one year to the next can leave one or more age groups vulnerable so we need to keep pushing for growth to reach the scale which will ensure stable regular season game schedule.

This year it was very satisfying to see the work of the youth baseball staff in the previous three years show results with many Herts youth players starting their transition to adult league baseball with the Hawks and in the Hunlock Series.

photo by Richard Williams

I must give a special mention to the parents. They see that the club is looking to build something special and provide children with lifelong memories and they have become very involved supporting all aspects on and off the field, from coaching and umpiring to concessions and field maintenance.

Financials

The club continues to be in a healthy financial position.  We were able to avoid any major increases in membership fees this year. However, we are operating in difficult economic conditions with high inflation.  We need to do our best to keep baseball affordable while continuing our prudent management of the club’s finances. There will be some cost pressures which we will not be able to avoid and club members also will have to adapt to the new membership fee structure which the BBF is about to announce for 2024.

Ballparks

In 2022 the club was awarded £2,851 match-funding from the BSUK Facilities Fund to be invested in improvements at Grovehill Ballpark with a total cost of £5,851.  The first stage of the work involving the installation of mound clay blocks for both pitching mounds at Grovehill was completed in 2022.  The main part of the project involved verti-draining, overseeding, top dressing and other procedures to improve the playing surface on both diamonds. It was scheduled for Spring 2023. 

Our contractors struggled to time the project due to heavy flooding in the Spring followed by a very dry spell which made the ground too hard for the spikes to penetrate the soil. As a result, it was implemented in September 2023 and grooves of newly grown grass could be seen during the Hunlock Series games in October (see photo above). 

We had wonderful support from Dacorum Borough Council who assigned two additional rooms to us.

They also re-painted all our rooms and installed new female and male toilets and washing facilities.

The club also acquired a new paint-based line-marking machine for Grovehill.

We completed the second phase of the Basing Hill Ballpark project with the installation of the infield perimeter fence.

photo by Rob Jones

Thanks to the Brent Cross Town Community Fund £2,632 award we were able to fund the purchase of a baseball pitching machine for Basing Hill which means that now both ballparks have one.

It is important that we increase awareness about ballpark and facilities operational and maintenance procedures and train the designated team supervisors so that we can ensure that our ballparks are kept at the highest standard year after year.

Media and IT

Our media operations continue to be among the best in British baseball, with the club and its members featured by various media organisations and publications.

The number of followers of our various media channels continues to grow at a good rate.

We saw an increase in quality and volume of video content on our YouTube channel which members and other followers enjoyed this year.

As always, our IT Director, Greg Bochan, was hard at work keeping the club’s IT infrastructure running, integrating all of its separate components to work smoothly with each other and enabling us to do things which would be impossible without this technology.

Events

photo by Rob Jones

Our club’s reputation for having some of the best ballparks in the UK and being able to host high profile events is paying off as we had the honour of hosting two MLB events around the MLB London Series. The first was the MLBPAA Youth Clinic featuring World Series winners, David Eckstein and Jake Arrieta, running a clinic with 60 kids from British baseball clubs around the UK.

The second was the MLB First Pitch event at Grovehill for around 200 pupils from local primary schools.

There was no Herts Futures Tournament in 2020 and 2021 but it is starting to regain momentum with the number of teams increasing from eight in 2022 to twelve this year.

The season would not be complete without the Hunlock Series. It also gave us an opportunity for all our adult teams to remember club member Dan Gipple who passed away this year.

British Baseball

Momentum is continuing to gather for baseball in the UK. The Great Britain National Team overcame the odds at the World Baseball Classic and secured a place in the next edition in 2026 without having to go through the qualifying stage.  

British coach Liam Carroll was appointed as the manager of the Boston Red Sox’s Single-A affiliate.

The MLB London Series was back. In 2024 we will welcome the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies.

2024

I expect to have a number of personal commitments coming up as we go into 2024. Although I will still be able to perform office-based roles such as Treasurer and Secretary, this will affect my ability to cover some of my other roles such as events and facilities manager.  I am also mindful of the fact that I have been a board member of the club since 2004 and it may be appropriate for club members and the board to have the opportunity, periodically, to consider whether they wish to appoint different persons in the roles which I am covering at present. The last time I stepped down from my roles was in 2015 and perhaps now is a good time to do that again.

If no candidates are appointed at the upcoming AGM and if the board decides not to co-opt others to these roles, I would be very happy to be co-opted again to roles which I am able to perform in 2024, if the board decides that this is in the club’s best interest. Whatever the decision of club members and the board, I will of course be very keen to ensure the best possible transition and hand-over of roles which are assigned to others in 2024.

We have grown from having one adult team with 19 members playing on one diamond in 2004 to an organisation with around 250 adult and youth players today and three diamonds – two in Hemel Hempstead and one in NW London.

These are exciting times for our club and its members and there is enormous potential and opportunities to continue growing and developing the club as we strive to get to the next level. 

Aspi Dimitrov

President

Dennis Grogan (1971-2023)

Dennis Grogan (1971-2023)

Our club is very sad to hear the news that former Herts Falcons player, Dennis Grogan, has passed away.

He spent only one season with Herts but it didn’t take him long to become an integral member of the club and he had the respect of everyone. He contributed on and off the field but what we will miss most is his friendship and company.

The thoughts of everyone at Herts Baseball Club are with his family.