Category: Youth Leagues

Herts youth teams preparing for 2023 BBF National Championships. Will Zucker to manage the U18 team. New players can still join.

Herts youth teams preparing for 2023 BBF National Championships. Will Zucker to manage the U18 team. New players can still join.

The BBF U18, U15, U13 and U11 national baseball championships will be played on Saturday, 16 September, at Farnham Park.

U18 team

Will Zucker with the GB U18 national team in 2014

In addition to its U15, U13 and U11 teams, Herts will also be entering a team to compete in the U18 national championship. The club has confirmed that the Herts Falcons U18 team will be managed by Will Zucker.  In February 2021 he was elected as the club’s co-Director of Youth Baseball. Zucker is a product of the Herts youth baseball programme and went on to play for the club’s first team, the Herts Falcons, in the National Baseball League (NBL) and has also been selected by the Great Britain U18 and U23 national teams. He co-founded the Durham University Baseball programme and his work was recognised when he received the BSUK Young Coach of the Year Award in 2017.

The club’s best finish in the U18 national championships was as runner-up in 2013 when they beat the London Mets 6-4 in the semi-final and lost 6-9 in the final to the Cobham Cougars. Zucker was 16 years old and was the starting pitcher for the Herts Harriers in the final so this year he will have another shot at the U18 national title, this time as team manager.

Mike Cresswell in NBL action for the Herts Falcons (photo by Will Zucker)

His coaching staff will include Herts Falcons outfielder, Mike Cresswell, who will be familiar with many of the Herts U18 players, having coached them over the years and playing alongside a large number of U18 players this season with the Falcons in the National Baseball League.

Players who are aged 17 or under on 31 August 2023 who are interested to play for the Herts Falcons U18 team can contact the club for more details.

U15 and U13 teams

Herts U13 manager Stephen Wong on the mound for Herts Cardinals (photo by Tony Small)

The Herts U15 team will be managed by Nick Sanders who brings a wealth of experience from his time as a player and coach in Canada.

The U13 team will be managed by Stephen Wong who is also a pitcher with the Herts Cardinals and has experience of playing and coaching in Hong Kong and Japan.

The Herts youth coaching staff also includes Cory English, Daniel Rose, Joe Brown, John Kjorstad, Jordon Fox, Larry Peters, Martin Saluzzo, Mike Long, Philip Meyers and Aspi Dimitrov.

Starting this week, coach Stephen Wong will run a series of extra baseball sessions for the U15 and U13 teams as follows:

  • 15:00-18:00 – Wed, 26 July, Grovehill Ballpark
  • 10:00-13:00 – Sat, 29 July, Grovehill Ballpark
  • 15:00-18:00 – Wed, 2 August, Grovehill Ballpark
  • 10:00-13:00 – Sat, 5 August, Grovehill Ballpark
  • 15:00-18:00 – Wed, 9 August, Grovehill Ballpark
  • 10:00-13:00 – Sat, 12 August, Grovehill Ballpark
  • 15:00-18:00 – Wed, 16 August, Grovehill Ballpark
  • 10:00-13:00 – Sat, 19 August, Grovehill Ballpark
  • 10:00-13:00 – Sat, 26 August, Grovehill Ballpark
  • 15:00-18:00 – Wed, 30 August, Grovehill Ballpark

U11 team

The manager of the Herts U11 team will be confirmed in due course.

The Herts U11 players will take a few weeks break during the school summer holidays but they will back in training on Wednesday, 30 August (London branch) and Saturday, 2 September, (Hemel Hempstead branch).

HYBL Playoffs and Herts Futures Tournament

Herts youth players can also look forward to the Herts Youth Baseball League (HYBL) Playoffs  on 9 and/or 23 September and the Herts Futures Tournament on 30 September, as the 2023 youth baseball season reaches its climax.

New players can still join the Herts teams

The youth teams welcomes boys and girls aged 6 to 17, from complete beginners to advanced players, with ballparks in Hemel Hempstead and in London. Contact us for more information.

Adult and Youth League Roundup: Ducks and Raptors pick up wins. Falcons gain ground without swinging a bat.

Adult and Youth League Roundup: Ducks and Raptors pick up wins. Falcons gain ground without swinging a bat.

Triple-A League

Herts Cardinals almost pulled off The Great Escape in Game Two of their doubleheader away at the Croydon Pirates but came just short with a final score of 12-13. Croydon also won the first game 3-8. The Cardinals drop two places in the standings and are now third, two games back on leaders Bournemouth Bears.

Double-A League

The Herts Ducks  shocked the Double-A League leaders, East London Latin Boys, with an 11-7  away win. This was their first win of the season. 15-year-old Prime  Mencias was the winning pitcher. Read full report by Kumail Jaffer.

Single-A League

There was an All Herts match-up at Basing Hill Ballpark.  The Herts Raptors came out on top sweeping the Herts Eagles 10-7 and 14-6. The winning pitchers were Lee Dunn and Rufus Lloyd. The Raptors are now 4-2 which moves them into second place in the standings, leapfrogging the Herts Ravens who were resting this weekend.

National Baseball League

(photo by Will Baxter)

The Falcons were resting at the weekend but there was drama around the National Baseball League. The Sheffield Bruins were 1 out away from winning at the high-flying Essex Arrows, but the Arrows came back to win it in extra innings. London Capitals caused an upset splitting their series with the league leading London Mets. All this means that the Falcons have gained ground on fourth-placed Sheffield Bruins and are just two games back on them now.  Third-placed Capitals stay ahead of the Falcons by 4 games. The top four teams at the end of the regular season will qualify for the NBL postseason playoffs in August.

The Herts Falcons are away at the Mets next. Game starts 2PM, Saturday, 10 June, Finsbury Park.

Herts Youth Baseball League

(photo by Rob Jones)

There was just one youth league game on Saturday in the Under-11 division.  The Herts Cardinals U11 came from behind to win 6-5 and close the gap on first-placed Herts Londoners U11.

Link to league standings of the various adult and youth leagues

BBF Youth Super League starts this Saturday, 6 May

BBF Youth Super League starts this Saturday, 6 May

The BBF Youth Super League starts this Saturday, 6 May. It’s a new competition launched by the British Baseball Federation (BBF) this year covering the Under-15 and Under-11 age groups. It will feature teams from Herts, London Mets and LYBL.

The Youth Super League standings will determine the seeding for the National Youth Baseball Championships later in the year.

Each of the participating clubs is expected to host a game day which will adopt a round-robin game format.

BBF Youth Super League - Order of Play (Sat, 6 May)

DateHomeTime/ResultsAwayLeagueField

Herts Baseball Club will host the first round of games at Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead, this Saturday, 6 May.

Food and drinks will be on sale during the event including hot dogs, burgers, nachos and other ballpark favorites.

Players who haven’t registered to play with the Herts youth league teams this season, can still register in time to be added to the teams for the next round of Youth Super League games.

For more information, contact us.

Herts Baseball Club looking for volunteers and paid coaches to host MLB First Pitch school baseball event in Hemel Hempstead

Herts Baseball Club looking for volunteers and paid coaches to host MLB First Pitch school baseball event in Hemel Hempstead

As part of Major League Baseball’s investment in the UK and the London Series, a pilot programme in association with the Youth Sport Trust was introduced where a hub of around 15 schools is created in a number of regions to run the MLB First Pitch programme. One of these hubs is in Hemel Hempstead and the surrounding area. 

The programme culminates with an end-of-school-year baseball event bringing all the schools from the hub together.  Herts Baseball Club was approached to host the end of year baseball festival scheduled for the summer of 2021, however that event could not take place due to Covid restrictions in schools.

Grovehill Ballpark has previously hosted baseball and softball events as part of the Herts School Games

Steps are being taken now to stage this event this summer on Tuesday, July 4, at Grovehill Ballpark, the home of Herts Baseball Club in Hemel Hempstead. The event is likely to feature a skills session from 9:30 to 12:00 and games from 12:30 to 14:45. It is expected to cover students aged 9 to 11 – school years 5 and 6.

The club is inviting Herts club members or players and coaches from other clubs who would be interested and available to act as event staff volunteers and as paid coaches on that day. The fee for the coaches will range between £12.50 and £23.75, depending on the role and the level of the coach.  For more details and to express interest contact us.

Britain’s Liam Carroll appointed as Boston Red Sox MiLB team manager

Britain’s Liam Carroll appointed as Boston Red Sox MiLB team manager

Yesterday, members of Herts Baseball Club were delighted to see the breaking news that former GB Baseball National Team Head Coach, Liam Carroll, has been appointed by the Boston Red Sox as an MiLB team manager.

Over the last 16 years Liam has supported Herts not only as a coach but in various other capacities on and off the field including the launch of the Herts youth baseball programme in 2007 (pcitured above, top row, first from right to left, wearing red) and the combined GB and Herts youth baseball exhibition event at Grovehill Ballpark in 2008, pictured below.

Herts members and fans have been posting their best wishes to Liam in this exciting next chapter in his amazing career.

We look forward to following Liam’s Red Sox MiLB team when the 2023 season commences in April.

Herts publishes Spring Training schedules for its adult and youth league teams

Herts publishes Spring Training schedules for its adult and youth league teams

The BBF has indicated that the Opening Weekend of the NBL season is expected to be 15-16 April 2023. For the other leagues the Opening Weekend is expected to be 22-23 April 2023, although some lower league teams may play their opening games on 15-16 April 2023. More will be known when the BBF league schedules are published.

This is later than in previous years and the Spring Training schedule of the Herts teams has been adjusted accordingly to reflect this.

The Herts youth league is expected to start slightly earlier than last year. 

Here are the key 2023 Spring Training dates for the Herts adult and youth league teams. Events are subject to change due to weather or other reasons.

National Baseball League

Players will report for Spring Training on Sunday, 26 February 2023. This includes players who have expressed interest in trying out for the NBL. The schedule will include four weeks of training and three weeks of Spring Training games.

Triple-A, Double-A and Single-A League

Players will report for Spring Training on Sunday, 5 February 2023. Double-A and Single-A players based in Hemel Hempstead will start with several training sessions indoors. The schedule will include eight weeks of training and three weeks of Spring Training games.

Herts Spring League

The Herts Spring League is scheduled to start on the weekend of 1-2 April by which point the team managers are expected to have announced their preliminary rosters. The HSL will run for three weeks for Triple-A, Double-A and Single-A teams and for two weeks for the NBL teams as their BBF league season starts a week earlier.

Teams are expected to announce their Opening Day rosters shortly after their final HSL games.

Herts U15, U13, U11 youth league teams

Herts youth players will report for Spring Training on Saturday, 25 February 2023. The first four weeks will take place indoors alternating between indoor venues in Hemel Hempstead and in NW London. This will be followed by five weeks of Spring Training at Grovehill Ballpark and Basing Hill Ballpark. The Opening Day of the various age groups of the Herts Youth Baseball League is expected to be on Saturday, 29 April, subject to confirmation.

Full schedule

Registered players can view the full list of 2023 Spring Training dates, times and venues by logging into the Clubhouse.

Herts Baseball Club adds more board members ahead of the 2023 season

Herts Baseball Club adds more board members ahead of the 2023 season

The club has confirmed that the number of executive board members has increased to fifteen after the results of last month’s elections were announced along with the appointment of several additional board members who have been co-opted.

As part of the announcement of the partnership between Herts and Legends last month, it was already confirmed that the Herts Legends NBL team will be managed by Great Britain U18 national team manager and president of Legends Baseball Club, Jonathan Rodriguez. Today’s announcement confirms that he has now been appointed as a member of the club board. 

In addition to his role as Herts Legends manager, he has also been appointed as co-General Manager alongside the two other co-GMs, Arnold Longboy (pictured right) and Aspi Dimitrov, who have also been co-opted having served in that role over the previous twelve months. Rodriguez will cover the on-field aspects of the GM role, while Longboy and Dimitrov will focus on operations off the field.

Ken Pike and Sean Bennett have been re-elected as board member as Herts Hawks manager and Herts Cardinals representative, respectively.

Matt Bell has also been re-elected as co-manager of the Herts Londoners and he will be working alongside Andrew Slater who returns to the board having previously co-managed the Herts Hawks in 2016 when the team became Single-A League national champion winning every regular season and postseason game they played that year.

Ken Pike and Andrew Slater have already had the sweet taste of becoming national champions in 2016. Can they do it again in 2023 as managers of the Herts Hawks and co-manager of the Herts Londoners, respectively?

Mike Cunningham has been elected to the board as the new Herts Raptors manager. The team finished far from the playoff places in 2022 but has a wealth of young talented players who are progressing rapidly and are expected to start imposing themselves on the league in the next few years.

The club’s hopes of adding a Double-A League team at its Basing Hill branch was a hot topic at the annual general meeting and the club has made a statement of intent by co-opting Miguel Gibson as manager of that proposed Double-A team. In 2022 he was a member of the Croydon Pirates who became Double-A national champions. The race is now on to see if the club will be able to put together a roster to add that missing piece at Basing Hill. 

Players have started registering for the 2023 season and Herts team managers will shortly be assessing what the rosters might look like in 2023 in order to decide how many teams to enter this year and in which BBF leagues. The deadline for league entries is 31 January.

The Herts youth baseball programme has also been strengthened with the election of Stephen Wong as head of the Hemel Hempstead under-13 department. He gave the programme an huge boost when he joined the youth coaching staff last year.

Aspi Dimitrov has also been re-elected as president and facilities manager for Grovehill Ballpark.

Link to the full list of 2023 board members.  More members are expected to be added between now and Opening Day.

As part of the vote, club members approved the amendment of article 9.4 of the constitution related to the deadline for board nominations.

Adult and youth league players now registering for the 2023 baseball season

Adult and youth league players now registering for the 2023 baseball season

Player registration for the 2023 season has started.

In 2022 Herts Baseball Club grew by 7% and saw performance levels go up with teams climbing up the league standings. In 2023 the club will aim to raise performance levels further and enter teams in all four league tiers.

ADULT BASEBALL LEAGUES

How many teams will represent Herts in 2023? 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 on 31 January, how many will play in Hemel Hempstead and how many will play in London.

KEY DATES – ADULT TEAMS

(events and dates are subject to change)

  • February – players report for Spring Training
  • 25-26 March – Start of the 2023 Herts Spring League (subject to confirmation of the BBF league opening day)*
  • March-May – Great Britain National Team Tryouts (senior and youth teams)*
  • 9 or 16 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 membership packages

YOUTH BASEBALL LEAGUES

2022 saw the second season of the Herts Youth Baseball League. The number of registered youth players grew again. In 2023 the club will aim to enhance and develop the programme and the league further to make Herts one of the leading clubs for youth baseball.

KEY DATES – YOUTH TEAMS

(events and dates are subject to changes)

  • February – players report for Spring Training
  • March-May – Great Britain National Team Tryouts (senior and youth teams)*
  • April – Opening Day of the Herts Youth Baseball League season
  • May-July – Midweek evening baseball sessions
  • June – UK Little League Qualifiers
  • July – BBF National Championships
  • July – European Little League Qualifiers
  • September – Herts Youth League Playoffs
  • September/October – Herts Futures Tournament

Click here for more details of the membership packages

WHICH BALLPARK WILL YOU PLAY YOUR HOME LEAGUE GAMES AT?

Herts 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 2023 BASEBALL SEASON

Those who already have an account with the club 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 2023 and the membership packages click here or contact us.

Another record year for Herts Baseball Club after a 7% growth and improved performance on the field

Another record year for Herts Baseball Club after a 7% growth and improved performance on the field

Herts Baseball Club’s 26th Annual General Meeting was held on Sunday, 27 November, and it provided an analysis of the 2022 season, the club’s current position on and off the field and plans for 2023 and beyond.

Growth

It was confirmed that the club grew by 7% this year and currently has 214 adult and youth members.  This is a new high in the club’s history which means the club has now recorded new highs in three of the last four years.

Competitiveness

At the previous AGM, competitiveness on the field of play was identified as an area which the club needed to improve after its five adult league teams had a combined record of 31 wins and 105 losses (W-L% .228).  There was a marked improvement this year with a combined regular season record of 56 wins and 72 losses (W-L% .438). The Hawks and the Londoners had a W-L% well above the .500 mark and both teams qualified for the postseason playoffs.

The AGM saw a lively discussion on the subject of how best to allocate Herts teams across the different league tiers of the BBF.

Finances

Off the field the club continues to be in a healthy financial position with a record level of net assets. It was noted that the club is preparing to operate in difficult economic conditions in 2023 as the Cost of Living Crisis will affect everyone and the challenge will be to keep baseball affordable while continuing the prudent management of the club’s finances.

Ballparks

Generous donations from club members and the wider community combined with grants from Sport England and Barnet Council enabled the club to implement most of the second phase of the Basing Hill Ballpark project comprising the installation of the backstop, infield cutout areas and pitcher’s mound. Although the crowdfunding campaign reached its target successfully, by the time that campaign was completed, the prices quoted by contractors for the installation of the backstop and infield perimeter fencing had gone up by around 30% as a result of the inflation affecting the entire world at the moment. The club went ahead with the installation of the backstop but the infield perimeter fence was put on hold while the club explores ways to fund the resulting shortfall of around £2,500.

Herts was also awarded £2,851 match-funding from the BSUK Facilities Fund to be invested in procedures to improve the Grovehill Ballpark playing surface.  The first stage of the work has already been completed with the installation of mound clay blocks for both pitching mounds at Grovehill. The remaining funding raised for investment into Grovehill Ballpark and Basing Hill Ballpark will be put into action in 2023.

Events

The three high-profile Herts events – the HSL, the HFT and the Hunlock Series – were back in full swing after being disrupted by Covid in the previous two years. 

BBF news

Club members were updated about news coming out of the BBF AGM which took place a week earlier. The outstanding achievements of the GB U12, U15, U18, Women’s and the Senior teams were highlighted and for the first time we will see GB in the World Baseball Classic. They have been drawn in a pool with the USA and Canada who will feature some of the biggest MLB stars. Games will be played at the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix. Qualification means that GB has already earned a very large sum in prize money and that amount goes up the further they progress in the competition. A large portion of these funds are expected to be invested into British baseball.

The BBF also informed clubs of changes expected in 2023 such as the mandatory scoring of league games at all four league levels, stricter disciplinary procedures to tackle the abuse of umpires, adding the BBF Summer Cup to the calendar and exploring the option to move NBL and Triple-A games to Saturdays as there aren’t enough diamonds in the UK to fit all league games on Sundays.

A positive development has been the return of BSUK to the BBF AGM and the hope is that the BBF and BSUK will expand the level of collaboration which should give a boost to the growth of baseball in the UK.

For the first time ever, the BBF AGM was attended by representatives of MLB and they presented details of the work done so far and their future plans and strategy for the growth of the game in Europe and in the UK in particular as we prepare for the return of the MLB London Series in 2023.  This time it will be the St Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.

Pilot Project

The AGM also considered a proposal for the club to run a pilot project to explore the viability of taking the club to the next level. Club members shared their views on the proposal and agreed to hand the decision to the executive board.

Board elections

With the AGM being held on Zoom, members will receive an email with details how to cast their votes over the next two weeks by email as it is not possible for members to vote anonymously via Zoom. A number of Board positions are up for election either as part of the annual retirement of a third of the Board positions or because they are vacant.

Herts publishes AGM details

Herts publishes AGM details

AGM NOTICE

In accordance with the Club’s Constitution, this is a notice of the upcoming 26th Annual General Meeting of Herts Baseball Club.  The AGM will take place as follows:
 
DATE
Sunday, 27 November 2022

TIME
10:30am (AGM expected to end at around 12:30pm-1:00pm)

VENUE
This year’s AGM will be held online via Zoom. Club members will receive an email with details how to join the Zoom call.

JUNIOR MEMBERS
Under the Club’s Constitution, members under the age of 14 on 31 December 2022 are classified as Junior Members and do not have voting rights at General Meetings. Regardless of this, if you are under the age of 14, you and your parents are very much invited to attend the AGM, especially as so many of the parents of our youth members are involved as players, coaches, volunteers and members of staff.
 
POTENTIAL NEW MEMBERS
Although only 2022 club members have the right to vote at this AGM, the meeting is very much open to potential new members who are considering joining the club in 2023.  This is a good opportunity for new players, volunteers and members of staff to learn more about the club and meet its members.  If you fall into this category and wish to attend the AGM, please contact the club.
 
OBSERVERS
The meeting is also open to observers who are not members of the Club. If you fall into this category and wish to attend the AGM please contact the club.
 
AGM PACK
Ahead of the meeting, the AGM Information Pack will be sent out to 2022 members. It will include information such as the AGM agenda, 2022 annual report, election details and more. 
 
ELECTION OF 2023 BOARD MEMBERS
In accordance with the Constitution, a number of Board positions will be up for election at the upcoming AGM either as part of the annual retirement of a third of the Board positions or because they are vacant.
 
The club is now inviting nominations for the following board positions:  
BOARD POSITIONS (appointment term in brackets)

  • President (term ends 31.10.2025)
  • Secretary (term ends 31.10.2025)
  • Facilities Manager – Grovehill (term ends 31.10.2025)
  • Manager (NBL)2 Falcons (term ends 31.10.2025)
  • Manager (Triple-A)2 Cardinals (term ends 31.10.2024)
  • Manager (Single-A)2 Hawks (term ends 31.10.2025)
  • Manager (Single-A)2 Raptors (term ends 31.10.2023)
  • Manager (Single-A)2 Londoners (term ends 31.10.2024)
  • Manager (Single-A)2 Eagles (term ends 31.10.2025)
  • Head of U15-Hemel (term ends 31.10.2024)
  • Head of U13-Hemel (term ends 31.10.2023)
  • Head of U11-Hemel (term ends 31.10.2025)
  • Head of U15-London (term ends 31.10.2024)
  • Head of U13-London (term ends 31.10.2024)
  • Head of Softball (term ends 31.10.2023)

Notes:

2 The leagues which Herts teams will enter in 2023 will not be known until after the AGM. The Club may also decide to add or remove teams from the BBF leagues depending on the number of players registering for 2023. If the club enters fewer teams than expected, one or more of these board positions may be removed after the AGM.
 
Current Board members are eligible to stand for re-election. All members are invited to consider any of the Board positions and put their names forward for one or several of them. 
 
Being a board Member is an excellent opportunity to be involved in shaping the future of Herts Baseball Club. If you are considering applying for any of the positions, but are unsure about it, you can get in touch with current or past board members who can give you more information about what the role involves and what to expect, if elected. If you require more information about any of the above board positions please contact the club.
 
HOW TO CONFIRM YOUR CANDIDACY
If you decide to run for any of these board positions please confirm your candidacy by posting a message in the Herts Baseball Online Forum. If you have difficulties accessing the forum with your username and password please contact the club.
 
NOMINATION PROCESS
Nominations require two votes – nomination and second.  Nominations of Board members can be received at any time, including during the AGM. Nominations can only be accepted from persons eligible to vote at the AGM. To nominate or to second a candidate, post in the Herts Baseball online Forum.
 
BOARD AND STAFF MEMBER REBATE
Ahead of the Board elections, a reminder that, in consideration of the time and effort which Board members give in performing their Board roles and which effectively means that they are unable to enjoy the full benefit of their membership, they will be entitled to a membership fee rebate. The Board reviews the rebate system from time to time. Here is an example of how it is likely to be applied during the upcoming season:

  •  members of the Board are expected to be entitled to a rebate of around 50% or more of the respective membership fee payable by them during the year. 
  • if one Board role is held by two or more individuals, such individuals can share the rebate between them as the burden of performing the role is shared between them.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
In accordance with article 14.3 of the Club’s Constitution “Additions to, or alterations of the constitution shall be submitted to the Secretary not less than 10 (ten) days before the date of the meeting. No resolution involving an amendment to the constitution may be proposed or amended from the floor of a meeting.” If any members wish to propose a constitutional amendment please send it by contacting the club by 23:59 on 17 November 2022, at the latest. You can find a copy of the Constitution on the club’s website (click to view).