Category: Youth Leagues

Spring Training schedule announced for the Herts adult and youth teams

Spring Training schedule announced for the Herts adult and youth teams

With the success of the Covid vaccination roll out, families around the country are looking forward to resuming outdoor activities in April. The government’s timetable currently indicates that organised outdoor sport can commence from Monday, 29 March. On the basis of this Herts Baseball Club has published the Spring Training schedule for its adult and youth teams.

The adult teams are set to return to the ballpark for the first time on Sunday, 4 April, while the youth teams start preparations on the following weekend, 10-11 April.

Youth players who are new to the sport will have the opportunity to come to one of the Open Days in April to try baseball and see if they will enjoy it before they register for the 2021 inaugural season of the Herts Youth Baseball League. These will be held at both of the club’s ballparks in Hemel Hempstead and in North West London. 

New adult players will have the opportunity to do the same during the Spring Training sessions in April.

Although the youth teams do not have a session on Easter weekend, the Great Britain National Team is inviting all players aged between 9 and 12 who are British passport holders, or soon to be passport holders, to attend the first GB Under-12 National Team workout which we understand will be used as a tryout in preparation for the U12 European Championships to be held in Germany this summer between 4 and 10 July 2021.

All Herts events will follow the Covid-secure protocol approved by the government which allows baseball activities for up to 30 players and coaches on a baseball diamond at any given time. In view of this, players will need to book their places for the sessions in advance by marking their availability in the online Clubhouse. Those who are not registered for the 2021 season yet but who are interested to come to one of these open sessions to try baseball, must contact the club in advance to book their place.  If we reach the limit of 30 players per event, the club will give priority to registered members and will put non-registered players on a waiting list so that they are given priority at the next event which has available places.

Before the players return for their first baseball sessions at Grovehill Ballpark, the club will have its annual Field Maintenance Day on Saturday, 3 April. Players and volunteers are invited to come and help to prepare the field for the upcoming season. The club will provide more details about this closer to the event.

Note: The schedules may be subject to change to comply with Covid restrictions.

Schedule – Adult teams based at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead

DAYDATETIME (START)TIME (END)EVENT NAMEVENUE
Sun04-Apr-2110:0012:00Spring TrainingGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Sun11-Apr-2110:0012:00Spring TrainingGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Sun18-Apr-2110:0012:00Spring TrainingGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Sat24-Apr-21TBCTBCHerts Spring LeagueGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Sun25-Apr-21TBCTBCHerts Spring LeagueGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Sun02-May-21TBCTBCBBF League Opening DayTBC

Schedule – Adult teams based at Basing Hill Ballpark, NW London

DAYDATETIME (START)TIME (END)EVENT NAMEVENUE
Sun04-Apr-2110:0012:00Spring TrainingGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Sun11-Apr-2112:3014:30Spring TrainingBasing Hill Ballpark, NW London
Sun18-Apr-2112:3014:30Spring TrainingBasing Hill Ballpark, NW London
Sat24-Apr-21TBCTBCHerts Spring LeagueGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Sun25-Apr-21TBCTBCHerts Spring LeagueGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Sun02-May-21TBCTBCBBF League Opening DayTBC

Schedule – Youth teams based at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead

DAYDATETIME (START)TIME (END)EVENT NAMEVENUE
Sat10-Apr-2110:0012:00Open Day – Spring TrainingGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Sat17-Apr-2110:0012:00Open Day – Spring TrainingGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Sun25-Apr-2110:0012:00Open Day – Spring TrainingGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Sat01-May-2110:0012:00Open Day – Spring TrainingGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Sat08-May-21TBCTBCHYBL Opening DayGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead

Schedule – Youth teams based at Basing Hill Ballpark, NW London

DAYDATETIME (START)TIME (END)EVENT NAMEVENUE
Sun11-Apr-2110:0012:00Open Day – Spring TrainingBasing Hill Ballpark, NW London
Sun18-Apr-2110:0012:00Open Day – Spring TrainingBasing Hill Ballpark, NW London
Sun25-Apr-2110:0012:00Open Day – Spring TrainingBasing Hill Ballpark, NW London
Sun02-May-2109:3011:30Open Day – Spring TrainingBasing Hill Ballpark, NW London
Sat08-May-21TBCTBCHYBL Opening DayGrovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Crowdfunding campaign continues for Basing Hill Ballpark despite setback

Crowdfunding campaign continues for Basing Hill Ballpark despite setback

It has been a hotly anticipated few weeks as Herts Baseball Club rallied support for the Basing Hill Ballpark crowdfunding campaign on Spacehive. Facing steep competition, the club hoped to be one of the projects to receive financial backing from the Mayor of London as part of the Make London Fund. Results were announced earlier this week and sadly Basing Hill Ballpark did not succeed in its pitch for mayoral funding. Despite the setback, perhaps there is some comfort in the fact that Herts Baseball Club only narrowly missed out.

The Make London Fund had two tiers: Tier 1 for projects up to £5,000 and Tier 2 for projects over £5,000. With a target of £55,804, Basing Hill Ballpark was placed in Tier 2. Of the 35 projects that were successful in their campaigns for the Mayor’s fund, around fifteen were in Tier 2. Shortly before the results were announced, Herts Baseball Club had 120 backers which ranked it 17th out of a total 98 projects.  Although the decision is not based entirely on the number of backers, it must have been very close.

And let us not forget the very worthy projects we were up against, from cookery schools supporting social integration, which received a pledge from the Duchess of Sussex, to projects tackling loneliness and homelessness. Club President, Aspi Dimitrov, congratulated all the other projects and said that, “although this is a setback, we are determined to build this baseball venue. Apart from the Mayor of London, we have pitched to several other organisations such as the London Borough of Barnet and are continuing to approach other potential backers as part of our crowdfunding campaign”.

There is no denying that missing out on the Make London Fund, with its potential to back up to 50% of the project, was a blow. But the club has not given up. Although holding considerably smaller funds, backing from the London Borough of Barnet is still a potential source of financial support, and with 53 days left to reach its crowdfunding target, Herts are doing everything they can to reach out to other organisations and potential backers.

To date, the campaign has received pledges amounting to £12,123 which is 21% of the £55,804 target. If the campaign fails to reach the target by the deadline all of the pledges will be cancelled and no payments will be taken. The club hopes it does not come to this and will continue to promote the unique and exciting project that Basing Hill Ballpark is. It is also becoming more necessary. One development which emphasises the importance of the project is this week’s launch of the club’s brand new youth baseball league. This will see boys and girls aged between 6 and 14 playing games in Basing Hill Park and at the club’s existing Grovehill Ballpark baseball complex in Hemel Hempstead.

Businesses, sponsors and other backers who may be interested to support the project can contact the club to discuss ways in which this could be a good fit and beneficial for them. They would have the additional assurance from the fact that the club passed the project viability verification process carried out by the independent organisation Locality, which was a prerequisite to pitch to the Mayor of London.

Our goal is to recreate that special baseball atmosphere in our ballparks

Behind the scenes of the newly launched Herts Youth Baseball League

Last month, Herts Baseball Club elected Will Zucker and Aspi Dimitrov as Co-Directors of Youth Baseball. We asked them about the launch of the brand new youth baseball league.

What can young players look forward to when the new league commences?

How many of the children and their parents watching MLB on their TVs have wondered what it would be like to wear those uniforms and play for a team on a beautiful baseball diamond? Or compete in playoffs surrounded by cheering fans enjoying the food and unique atmosphere of the ballpark? Even without MLB’s multi-billion dollar budget, we want to offer the players and families of our new league an experience as close to  MLB as possible.

Where will the league games be played?

Our club has two ballparks: one in Hemel Hempstead, another in North West London. They are conveniently located within a thirty minute drive from each other. Substantial investment has gone into Grovehill Ballpark, making it one of the best baseball venues in the UK.  Crowdfunding is underway to repeat that success story at Basing Hill Ballpark.

What will the league schedule and format be?

Though we have two ballparks, the league will minimise travel for families so that around 75% of the season will be played at the team’s nearest ballpark. The season will start in May and end in the middle of July. Each team will play around twelve games: four home single games, two home doubleheaders and two away doubleheaders. Similar to MLB, teams will be in a race to qualify for the postseason playoffs which will determine the league champions.

We are still considering whether the champions will win the privilege to represent Herts at the National Baseball Championships in September or whether the club will select an All-Star team from all of the Herts teams in the league.

What will game days look like?

Our goal is to recreate that special baseball atmosphere in our ballparks with food, music and a lot more. We want children and their families to enjoy game days, allowing developing players the incredible feeling of playing in front of fans – similar to the superstars of MLB.

The two home and two away doubleheaders will be large scale events, bringing all teams to the same venue. Grovehill Ballpark may even be able to stage games for teams from all age groups – eight or more in total.

We are mindful of the increasing pressures on families to balance work, school and other commitments. Game days will run no longer than two hours, though team managers have discretion to extend that time a little if the players would benefit from extra practice before or after games.

League games are to be played on Saturdays, but we are also considering youth team games in NW London on Sunday mornings before the adult league plays. In this way, Herts adult players can be spectators for the youth league and the younger leagues and their families would feel welcome to stay after their games to watch adult league action in the afternoon.

What age groups will the league cover?

Players aged  6 to 14 with an Under-11, Under-13 and Under-15 league. Initially, the Under-13 and Under-15 leagues will be combined until we accumulate a sufficient number of players for separate U13 and U15 leagues.  Players over the age of 14 move up to the Herts adult league teams and we hope to select Under-17 players to represent Herts at the BBF U17 national championships.

What level of coaching can the players expect?

The league already has five coaches in place all of whom have either played or coached in America, Japan, Britain’s National League or the Great Britain National Teams. The league is looking to recruit more coaches. Those interested in getting involved, or who would like more details should contact the club.

How much will it cost to play in the league?

We want baseball to be affordable for every family. We have set membership fees very low – £49 for the U11s and £59 for the U13s and U15s – probably the lowest in the UK.

The club provides all of the baseball equipment such as bats, balls, helmets, including fielding gloves for kids that don’t have their own. The uniform is not included in the membership fee, but to reduce that cost, youth players joining the club for the first time will be given a £6 voucher which they can use when buying a Herts New Era 9FORTY baseball cap.

How many teams will play in the league?

Our aim is to have four league teams in each age group – two based in Hemel Hempstead and two in NW London. We’re assessing the option to add interleague games with teams from neighbouring clubs, with a possibility of external teams joining the league. However, it’s essential that these teams are no more than around 30 minutes from either  ballpark. At the moment there are just one or two other clubs that meet that criteria as our two ballparks are the only ones in the region.

Have the team names been announced and what uniforms will they wear?

The teams have adopted the names of the Herts adult league teams. For example, Herts Falcons U11, Herts Londoners U15. This is an approach more common with Premier League football teams and we felt that the young players would enjoy playing under the same Herts team names and they can progress through the age groups and into the big leagues in the coming years. We will be announcing more details about the teams’ uniforms in the coming weeks.

How will coaches select the players for their respective teams?

This league welcomes everyone from complete beginners to advanced players.  Everyone plays and will have an important role in the team.  Children will be invited to the Open Days in Spring Training to prepare for the season, a great way to introduce newcomers to the game of baseball. 

The managers will select players for their teams adopting a system similar to the MLB Draft. This should ensure that all the teams are of equal strength, which should make it an exciting and a close race for the playoffs.

The number of youth players was very low last year. Will you be able to grow fast enough before the start of the season and do you have a backup plan if you don’t?

Despite a significant drop of youth players in the previous three years, we are already seeing a lot of interest from both former and new youth players and their families. We started our discussions with schools in Hemel Hempstead and in North West London; we are fortunate to have a newly appointed Head of U13/U11, Cory English who is an active member of his local school working as both parent governor and freelance teacher. Even if a particular age group does not have enough players for a 4-team league, we have alternative options such as a best-of-7 World Series format and interleague games similar to MLB.

Can Herts fans and the wider community help with the launch of the league?

It’s crucial that the league inspires support from the community to spread the word. We are asking Herts baseball families to share news of our league on social media and with their friends, colleagues and neighbours. If every club member recommends the league to two friends, we will reach our target. 

How does Covid affect the league’s plans?

The NHS and the government have done tremendously well with the vaccination roll out. It’s encouraging to see the statistics already proving it is effective in controlling Covid. Of course, the virus remains unpredictable and we will ensure government guidance is strictly followed.  The government already approved a Covid-secure protocol for baseball games last year so we are hopeful to welcome a full first season of Herts Youth Baseball League (HYBL).

Players are now registering for the 2021 season. More information about joining the league can be found here.

To come to try baseball at no cost at one of the upcoming Open Days, or if you require more information, contact the club.

New baseball league aims to give kids the MLB experience in Herts and NW London

New baseball league aims to give kids the MLB experience in Herts and NW London

With the success of the Covid vaccination roll out, families around England are looking forward to resuming outdoor activities in April. Today’s announcement by Herts Baseball Club gives them even more to look forward to this summer with the launch of a brand new youth baseball league in Herts and London.

The Herts Youth Baseball League (HYBL) aims to bring the MLB experience by incorporating as many of the features of Major League Baseball as possible.

Children and their parents watching MLB on their TVs must have wondered what it would be like to wear those uniforms and play for a team on a beautiful baseball diamond. Or compete in playoffs surrounded by cheering fans enjoying the food and unique atmosphere of the ballpark. Even without MLB’s multi-billion dollar budget, the HYBL aims to offer the players and families an experience as close to MLB as possible.

Boys and girls aged 6 to 14, from complete beginners to advanced players, are able to join the various teams which will play in the different age divisions.

Games will be played at the club’s two ballparks – Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead and Basing Hill Ballpark in North West London. They are conveniently located within a thirty minute drive from each other. Substantial investment has gone into Grovehill Ballpark, making it one of the best baseball venues in the UK.  Crowdfunding is underway to repeat that success story at Basing Hill Ballpark.

The regular season will comprise twelve games and around 75% of the season will be played at the team’s nearest ballpark to reduce travel for families. Similar to MLB, teams will be in a race to qualify for the postseason playoffs which will determine the league champions.

The 2021 game schedule for the Under-15 and Under-11 divisions of the league have been published. Visit the League website.

Last month, the Prime Minister unveiled a plan to come out of the Covid lockdown. As a sport which had a Covid-secure protocol approved by the government in July 2020, baseball clubs up and down the country are expected to restart activities from 29 March onwards.

Opening Day of the 2021 HYBL season has been scheduled for Saturday, 8 May. In the four weeks before that, children can come to the Open Days to try baseball and to help them decide if they would like to register for the season and play in the league. The Open Days will be held at both ballparks in Hemel Hempstead and in NW London.

The team managers will adopt an MLB-style Draft system to select the teams. This should ensure that all the teams are of equal strength, which should make it an exciting and a close race for the playoffs.

In an interview with the two joint Directors of Youth Baseball, Will Zucker and Aspi Dimitrov, they outlined their goal to “recreate that special baseball atmosphere in our ballparks with food, music and a lot more. We want children and their families to enjoy game days, allowing developing players the incredible feeling of playing in front of fans – similar to the superstars of MLB.”

HYBL is aiming to have four league teams in each age group – two based in Hemel Hempstead and two in NW London. This will not be an easy task as the nation is in the process of coming out a lockdown so there will be bumps along the way. But Zucker, Dimitrov and the rest of the youth baseball department are optimistic that, with support from club members and the wider community, the league has enormous potential to grow into something special, “it’s crucial the league inspires support from the community to spread the word. We are asking Herts baseball families to share news of our league on social media and with their friends, colleagues and neighbours. If every club member recommends the league to two friends, we will reach our target.”

Players are now registering for the 2021 season. More information about joining the league can be found here.

To come to try baseball at no cost at one of the upcoming Open Days, or if you require more information, contact the club.

Club members elect five new board members

Club elects five new board members

The results from the 2021 board elections of Herts Baseball Club have been published confirming that five new members have joined the board.

Ken Pike (pictured above) returns to the board as manager of one of the adult league teams based at Grovehill Ballpark.  The identity of his team and which league it will enter in 2021 will be confirmed in the coming days. The most likely scenario is that he will be managing the Single-A League Herts Raptors taking over from Mantas Poderys who did an outstanding job with the team last year and who the club hopes will be back in managerial capacity as soon as his personal circumstances allow him to. Ken has extensive experience in the British baseball league, having previously managed the Raptors.

Adam Collins (pictured above) and Jamie Lang-Richards played for the Herts Eagles over the last two seasons and in 2021 they will have the added responsibility of being co-managers of one of the Herts adult teams based at the club’s north west London branch. The identity of the team and the league which it will play in will be announced soon. Their induction into the role is expected to be very smooth as both have been an integral part of the Herts adult teams in NW London.

Jamie Lang-Richards has played at Double-A and Single-A league level but which league will he be player-manager in? (photo by Rob Jones)

Will Zucker has been elected co-Director of Youth Baseball alongside Aspi Dimitrov who served in that role between 2012 and 2014. Zucker is a product of the Herts youth baseball programme. He went on to become the co-founder of the very successful Durham University Baseball programme and his work was recognised when he received the BSUK Young Coach of the Year Award in 2017.

Will Zucker wearing the Great Britain U19 national team uniform in 2016

He currently plays in Britain’s top league with the Herts Falcons and has also been selected by the Great Britain Under-19 and Under-23 National Teams.

In the coming weeks, Dimitrov and Zucker will be providing more details of their plans for the new regional youth baseball league which will feature teams from both Herts branches – in Hemel Hempstead and in North West London.

(Photo by Bianca Quarte)

The club’s youth baseball department has been strengthened further with the election of Cory English (pictured above). He will be heading either the Under-13 or the Under-11 programme, or possibly both. He is a member of the Herts Londoners and played a key role last year in the very successful launch of the youth baseball programme at Basing Hill Ballpark. Originating from New York, he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge which is already starting to be reflected in the baseball product which is being offered to boys and girls playing at Herts.

In addition to these five new board members, Greg Bochan, Rob Jones and Aspi Dimitrov were re-elected in their board positions as IT Director, Communications Director and Facilities Manager for Basing Hill Ballpark, respectively.

Prime Minister unveils plan to come out of the Covid lockdown

Prime Minister unveils plan to come out of the Covid lockdown

On Monday, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, unveiled a new four-step plan to ease England’s lockdown which could see all legal limits on social contact lifted by 21 June, if strict conditions are met.

It was good to see that organised sport will be one of the first sectors which will be allowed to resume outdoor activities. As a sport which had a Covid-secure protocol approved by the government in July 2020, baseball clubs up and down the country are expected to restart activities from 29 March onwards. Of course, the dates may be adjusted depending on the Covid data which the government will be monitoring, but this announcement means that our club can begin to plan with that timetable in mind.

The club has already started the process of adjusting the 2021 event and game schedule and adult and youth teams will receive an udate on this in the coming days.

We are excited by the prospect that baseball could return from March 29th. We will work closely with the sport’s authorities, and put in whatever work is necessary, to get everyone back in action safely as soon as possible.

Players now registering for the 2021 baseball season

Players now registering for the 2021 baseball season

Player registration for the 2021 season has commenced.

2020 was a difficult year for everyone but yesterday’s announcement that the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been approved has given us a reason to look ahead to Spring with increasing optimism that we will be able to play a full baseball season in 2021.

Despite the pandemic, last year the club welcomed 59 new members which could see the club go into 2021 even stronger than the year before.

As members start to register for the 2021 season, they would want to know whether the club has measures in place in the event that Covid-19 disrupts the league schedule and how that would affect membership fees. In July 2020, the UK government approved a Covid-secure protocol to allow baseball games to be played. Despite this, some events in 2021 may be affected if the government imposes stricter Covid restrictions in which case the club will do its best to minimize its own costs and pass the savings back to club members in the form of reduced membership fees. For example, when the 2020 league season was scaled down, membership fees were reduced to £20 for adult league play. In view of the effect of Covid-19 on the economy and on the finances of many families, the club has already reduced its 2021 membership fees by around 12% by removing many peripheral costs and focusing spending on the core elements of the membership packages.

ADULT BASEBALL LEAGUES

How many teams will represent Herts in 2021? The next few weeks will be crucial as the number of players registering will determine how many teams will be entered before the league entry deadline; how many will play in Hemel Hempstead and how many will play in London; which leagues the teams will play in.

KEY DATES – ADULT TEAMS

(events and dates are subject to change depending on Covid-19 restrictions)

  • 7 February – players report for Spring Training
  • 27-28 March – Start of the 2021 Herts Spring League (subject to confirmation of the BBF League Opening Day)*
  • March-April – Great Britain National Team Tryouts (senior and youth teams)*
  • 11 April – BBF League Opening Day (subject to confirmation)*
  • May – Midweek Evening Baseball commences
  • August-September* – BBF Postseason Playoffs and National Championships
  • September-October – Hunlock Series

* – these are preliminary dates. The BBF will be making its official announcements in due course.

Click here for more details of the 2021 membership packages

YOUTH BASEBALL LEAGUES

As reported earlier today (click to view article), in the coming weeks, we are expecting announcements regarding developments in the club’s youth baseball department and, in particular, details about plans for a new regional youth baseball league which will feature teams from both Herts branches in Hemel Hempstead and in North West London with a regular season schedule of around 12 games for each team. The proposal covers the U15, U13 and U11 age groups, while the Under-17 players will play their regular season as part of the Herts teams in the adult leagues. Around 75% of the regular season games of this proposed new youth league will be at home, with only 2 or 3 away games within a 30-minute drive from the home ballpark.

KEY DATES – YOUTH TEAMS

(events and dates are subject to change depending on Covid-19 restrictions)

  • March – players report for Spring Training
  • March-April – Great Britain National Team Tryouts (senior and youth teams)*
  • May – Start of the new regional youth baseball league season
  • May-July – Midweek afternoon/evening baseball sessions
  • June – UK Little League Qualifiers
  • July – European Little League Qualifiers
  • mid-July – Playoffs and Finals of the new regional youth baseball league
  • September – BBF Postseason Playoffs and National Championships
  • September – Herts Futures Tournament

Click here for more details of the 2021 membership packages

WHICH BALLPARK WILL YOU PLAY YOUR HOME LEAGUE GAMES AT?

Now that the club has two ballparks, the online registration form will ask players to indicate whether they prefer to play their home league games in Hemel Hempstead or in NW London, or whether they would be happy with either. This will provide important information to club management when they configure the adult and youth team rosters for the new season.

HOW TO REGISTER FOR THE 2021 HERTS BASEBALL SEASON

Those who already have a Herts Online Clubhouse account will be prompted to register when they log on next time (click here to go to the Herts online Clubhouse and log on with your existing username and password). Those who are new to Herts Baseball Club and do not have an online account can register as members by completing this form. For more details about joining our teams in 2021 and the membership packages click here or contact us.

Changes expected in the Herts youth baseball department for 2021

Changes expected in the Herts youth baseball department for 2021

Herts Baseball Club is looking to unveil plans for the launch of a new regional youth baseball league for 2021.  The pandemic disrupted the youth baseball season last year and the club is determined not only to turn things around but to put in place a model which has good potential to develop and grow in the coming years.

Director of Youth Baseball, Lee Manning, has been heading the department since 2018 but, due to a change in his circumstances, the club is inviting candidates for the role ahead of the board elections at its annual general meeting on Sunday, 31 January 2021.

Two candidates have already expressed interest. Aspi Dimitrov and Will Zucker have indicated that they intend to put themselves forward as joint candidates for the role. The club would also welcome other candidates.

Dimitrov served in that role between 2012 and 2014 and has been a board member since 2004. Zucker was the co-founder of the very successful Durham University Baseball programme and his work was recognised when he received the BSUK Young Coach of the Year Award in 2017. He currently plays in Britain’s top league with the Herts Falcons and has also been selected by the Great Britain Under-19 and Under-23 National Teams. 

In the coming weeks, Dimitrov and Zucker will be providing more details of their plans for the new regional youth baseball league but we understand that the league aims to include teams from both Herts branches – in Hemel Hempstead and in North West London – with a regular season schedule of around 12 games for each team. It covers the U15, U13 and U11 age groups, while the Under-17 players will play their regular season as part of the Herts teams in the adult leagues. Around 75% of the regular season games of this proposed new youth league are expected to be at home, with only 2 or 3 away games within a 30-minute drive from the home ballpark.

The club has just launched its 2021 player registration and the youth membership package is based on this new model proposed by Dimitrov and Zucker. This gives club members the opportunity to vote on it and on proposals which other candidates may put forward ahead of the AGM.

There are several other board positions in the youth department which the club will be looking to fill, including heads of the different age groups at the Hemel Hempstead and the North West London branches. We understand that Cory English plans to put himself forward for the role of Head of Under-11 for the NW London branch. He is a member of the Herts Londoners and played a key role last year in the very successful launch of the youth baseball programme at Basing Hill Ballpark. We also understand that Cory English has been involved in the process of developing the new regional league model which Aspi Dimitrov and Will Zucker will be proposing.

Candidates interested in these and other board and non-board positions in Hemel Hempstead and in NW London can contact the club for more details.

Details of the 2021 membership packages for adult and youth members and how to register for the upcoming season can be found here.

Government approves Covid-secure return of baseball

Government approves Covid-secure return of baseball

The UK government has confirmed that they have approved the British Baseball Federation and BSUK guidance for the return of baseball games.

The guidance complies with the requirements outlined in the government advice for team sports and enables games for up to 30 participants to resume in England.

The number of participants in baseball training sessions can also increase from 6 to 30 while continuing to follow social distancing and the other Covid-19 measures.

Herts Baseball Club will shortly be announcing the format and schedule for the league and other games for the Herts adult teams which will be played in August and September.

Adult and youth baseball training sessions are continuing. Any adult or youth players who are interested to try baseball can contact us for details.

2020 Herts Youth Baseball: Registration is Open

Herts baseball club has planned a range of options for 2020 for one of our great strengths, and our most important investment in the future — our youth players. The aim is to give plenty of chances for both training and game time for kids from ages 6 to 18.

We don’t yet know if the coronavirus outbreak is going to have a long-term impact, and affect the summer baseball season. If it does, Herts will lower all its youth fees accordingly. No money will be taken until the situation is clearer. But at this early stage, we are going ahead with registration so that everything is ready when baseball can be resumed.

We appreciate everybody’s patience, and we hope that we can all get back where we want to be — on the diamond — very soon. Those of you already on our mailing list should receive details via e-mail of how to register. If you are new to the club and the sport, please contact us through our website link and we will tell you all you need to know.

Since the Herts youth operation began over a decade ago it has seen success at the National Baseball Championships in several age groups. And, even more importantly, it has seen a steady stream of local boys and girls getting involved in a new sport, and making new friends.

In 2020, the core Herts Youth membership package will be a training programme, running throughout the year. Players aged between 6 and 18 will be able to work on all the fundamental skills of baseball, under the guidance of our new Head Coach, Colin Barrett. He has vast experience, most recently as the South Africa Under-12 head coach.

There will be a total of 18 sessions, including Saturday work both indoors and outdoors. And that also includes 10 midweek training sessions. These are most likely to be on Wednesdays, but our staff are currently pinning down a final confirmation. Each of those sessions will be at least 2 hours long.

Coach Colin has already been enjoying getting involved with the kids on fielding drills, on learning to throw the ball correctly, and on how to play the game. Players have enjoyed the experience of Baseball 5, a fast-moving game which helps put knowledge into practice.

Herts will then offer two separate options for games, with players able to make a choice depending on their goals and their circumstances.

One option is to play for the East of England team, competing in the British Baseball Federation (BBF) All Star leagues. This is a great chance to maximise playing time, and take on other teams from around our region.

East of England at the UKLLQ in 2019

In this programme, for players aged 8 to 18, kids from Herts will play alongside team-mates from Leicester, Cambridge, Lakenheath, Northampton and Essex Redbacks — and together they will face teams from other southern clubs including Guildford and Brighton.

Games will take place on Saturdays, both at our home field of Grovehill in Hemel Hempstead and also travelling to away games.

Kids who sign up for this game package will be automatically included in the extended roster for the Youth National Baseball Championships at Farnham Park in September; and for the UK Little League Qualifiers — a competition which culminates in a tournament in Williamsport, USA.

The final teams for these tournaments will be only 13 players, chosen by the coaches. But all who sign up will get an equal chance to compete for a place, and our emphasis remains on enjoying the sport, and learning.

Herts manages the East of England (EoE) programme with other clubs. Our lead on it will be Youth Commissioner, Lee Manning.

The alternative game package is Play Ball membership, which is intended as a recreational programme for more casual players aged 6 to 12. This team will not travel, so is a great opportunity for any players unable to make the trips to away games.

There will be a minimum of 10 event days in the season, running from April to July. The entire schedule will be announced at the start of the season, to help families to plan.

The sessions are on Saturdays at Grovehill, starting at 11am and lasting between 90 minutes and 2 hours. Players will work on a specific baseball skill for a time, and will then play games.

The Play Ball programme will be headed up by John Kjorstad, a club veteran who has been involved with the youth teams for several years.

The idea is that all Herts youth players join the core training programme, and then choose one game package. We aim to provide at least one game jersey for players, or a voucher to be used for a Herts cap for the Play Ball section, but due to the lead time on orders, we will need to finalise this once we know when the 2020 season will start.

Players cannot sign up for both game packages, chiefly because they can’t be in two places at once on any given Saturday! However, those who sign up for the East of England will be able to participate in Play Ball at no extra charge, if they have a weekend off from EoE games.

Herts baseball club is excited to be able to offer this range of programmes to help make it easier to play baseball in 2020, whatever your availability and ability. Our aim is to spread the word about the sport and offer the boys and girls who join us an enjoyable and rewarding time.