Category: U14

Adult and youth league players now registering for the 2022 baseball season

Adult and youth league players now registering for the 2022 baseball season

Player registration for the 2022 season has commenced.

In 2021 Herts Baseball Club grew by 44% introducing many newcomers to the game of baseball. The goal for 2022 is to bring performance levels of all Herts adult and youth league teams up and to move up the league standings.

ADULT BASEBALL LEAGUES

How many teams will represent Herts in 2022? 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)

  • 30 January – players report for Spring Training
  • 19-20 March – Start of the 2022 Herts Spring League (subject to confirmation of the BBF League Opening Day)*
  • March-April – Great Britain National Team Tryouts (senior and youth teams)*
  • 3 or 10 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

Last year saw the first season of the Herts Youth Baseball League. The number of registered youth players rose from 21 in 2020 to 75 in 2021 which is the highest in the club’s history. 2021 was just the starting point. In 2022 and subsequent years the club will aim to enhance and develop the programme further to make Herts one of the leading clubs for youth players.

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 – Opening Day of the Herts Youth Baseball League season
  • May-July – Midweek evening baseball sessions
  • June – UK Little League Qualifiers
  • July – European Little League Qualifiers
  • mid-July – Playoffs and Finals of the Herts Youth Baseball League
  • September – BBF Playoffs and National Championships
  • September – 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 2022 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 2022 and the membership packages click here or contact us.

2021 MVP vote results are in

2021 MVP vote results are in

The Most Valuable Players (MVP) of the ten Herts adult and youth teams have been announced.  The players of each team voted to determine their team’s MVP so the results reflect who the players consider to have been the most influential members  this year.

The Falcons voted for Will Zucker who led the team not only as a player but also stepped in as interim co-manager alongside Mike Cresswell in what was a very challenging year for the team. Jack O’Brien has made big strides over the last few years and this has been recognised as he was voted the Hawks MVP. 14-year-old Harry McMenamin was the Raptors MVP in what was his debut year in the BBF senior leagues. There could be no question about the Eagles MVP where Mike Wakelam led not just the team but the entire league with 9 home runs.  He also led the team with a .667 batting average and 1.444 slugging average. Cory English was the Londoners MVP. He made his BBF league debut with Herts this year and in just a few months has become one of the most popular players around the league, not to mention his spectacular fielding which produced multiple nominations for Play of the Year.

The Herts U18 team voted Josh Badenhorst as the MVP after his outstanding pitching performance in the Semi-Final of the U18 National Championships. That game was suspended halfway through and is expected to resume in the Spring so he has some unfinished business. Harry McMenamin was the U15 MVP while Lucas Hao was the U13 MVP after a dominant display which almost gave Herts a win over LS.  The Herts U11 league home run leader Connor O’Neill-Thompson was voted Herts Falcons U11 MVP and Cosmo English of the Herts Londoners U11 became the second member of his family to be voted MVP this year.

Dale Hardwick’s canon throw from centerfield was voted Play of the Year in a close race with Connor O’Neill-Thompson and Rory Graham and Cosmo English and Simon Painvin who turned a triple play in the U11 national championships group stages.

The winner of the not-so-coveted Nob-Out Award was Mike Cresswell who managed to fall on his face while being filmed by a high-tech 2-man camera crew and a microphone attached to him for a promotional video. The club is trying to obtain the video from the tv crew.

The club doesn’t have a personality of the year award but, if it did, it surely would have gone to 6-year-old Mason Barnaby. He was already recognised during the trophy presentation at the end of the Herts Youth Baseball League season for an outstanding act of sportsmanship. During one of the championships-deciding games he asked the umpire for time in order to run to the team bench area to encourage his teammate Owen Ridgway to rejoin the game after he had picked up a knock earlier in the day. He is one of the youngest members from the new generation of players who joined the Herts youth baseball programme this year and after the end of the season he has been involved in raising awareness of diabetes. He was on BBC radio to talk about diabetes and playing baseball. (Click to listen on BBC Sounds)

No silverware but Herts youth teams put on strong performances in the national championships. U18s still in the hunt.

No silverware but Herts youth teams put on strong performances in the national championships. U18s still in the hunt.

Herts Baseball Club entered five teams into the BBF U18, U15, U13 and U11 National Baseball Championships. As expected, they came up against more experienced teams so the odds were stacked firmly against them, but that didn’t seem to faze the Herts boys and girls.

U11 Division

Two Herts teams competed in the U11 division – Herts Falcons U11 made up of players from its Hemel Hempstead branch and Herts Londoners U11 representing its NW London branch. Both had closely-fought encounters with LYBL U11 and London Mets U11 but those two teams made it to the final which the Mets won 8-7. It would have been interesting to see what the outcome would have been if Herts had entered an all-star team selecting the top players from the Falcons and Londoners.

U11 Division

DateHomeTime/ResultsAwayField
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark

U13 Division

LYBL U13 proved too strong for all teams that came up against them. They overcame the Mets U13 by 19-1 in the Final.  The Herts Falcons U13 was a combined squad with players from the club’s Hemel Hempstead and NW London branches.  Although they couldn’t cope with LYBL, they were in control against London Sports U13 in the first half of the game but four runs in the last inning cost them.

BBF (U13) Pool A

DateHomeTime/ResultsAwayField
Grovehill Ballpark
Combined B U13Combined A U13
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark

BBF (U13) Pool B

DateHomeTime/ResultsAwayLeagueField
BBF (U13), Pool B
Grovehill Ballpark
BBF (U13), Pool B
Grovehill Ballpark
BBF (U13), Pool B
Grovehill Ballpark

U15 Division

The Herts U15 team were expected to struggle as they were missing key players, but they came very close against both the Mets and London Sports, losing 8-13 and 7-10, respectively.  Once again LYBL dominated and they went on to lift the trophy.

DateHomeTime/ResultsAwayField
Williams Field
Williams Field
Williams Field
Williams Field
Williams Field
Williams Field
Williams Field
Williams Field

U18 Division

Heavy downpour in Surrey halted the U18 contest with the semi-final between Herts Falcons U18 and LYBL U18 finely poised at 0-0. The game was suspended in the bottom of the third inning with one out and it will resume on a date and at a venue which will be confirmed by the BBF in the coming days. There are signs that the Herts team, led by co-managers Colin Barrett and Duane Badenhorst, could cause an upset and progress to the Final.

DateHomeTime/ResultsAwayField
ACS Cobham
ACS Cobham
Game 1 LoserGame 2 Loser
ACS Cobham
Game 1 WinnerGame 2 Winner
ACS Cobham

Herts launched its own Herts Youth Baseball League this year which saw an influx of new youth players join the club, the majority of whom are playing baseball for the first time in their lives this year.  The weekend’s action showed that there is enormous talent in the Herts youth teams and it is now for the club, the coaches and the players to realise that potential in the coming years.

Five Herts teams go into the national youth baseball championships this weekend

Five Herts teams go into the national youth baseball championships this weekend

Five Herts teams go into the 2021 British Baseball Federation (BBF) National Youth Baseball Championships this weekend.

The club launched its own Herts Youth Baseball League this year which saw a new generation of boys and girls join the club. The club currently has over 80 registered youth players with the majority playing baseball for the first time in their lives this season.

The five Herts teams go into the weekend as the underdogs but it will be interesting to see if they can put on a good performance and maybe even cause an upset.

The BBF selected Herts to host the U13 and U11 divisions at its Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead, while the U15 bracket will be hosted by the Kent Buccaneers and the U18s by ACS Cobham.

The U11 Division will play a double-elimination format where teams are eliminated if they lose two games until only two teams remain and those two teams will play in the final to determine the national champion.

U11 Division

DateHomeTime/ResultsAwayField
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark

The U13 Division has been divided into two pools.  The winners of each pool meet in the final.

BBF (U13) Pool A

DateHomeTime/ResultsAwayField
Grovehill Ballpark
Combined B U13Combined A U13
Grovehill Ballpark
Grovehill Ballpark

BBF (U13) Pool B

DateHomeTime/ResultsAwayLeagueField
BBF (U13), Pool B
Grovehill Ballpark
BBF (U13), Pool B
Grovehill Ballpark
BBF (U13), Pool B
Grovehill Ballpark

The U15 Division is also base don double-elimination.

DateHomeTime/ResultsAwayField
Williams Field
Williams Field
Williams Field
Williams Field
Williams Field
Williams Field
Williams Field
Williams Field

The U18 Division will see four teams play semi-finals with the winners meeting in the final.

DateHomeTime/ResultsAwayField
ACS Cobham
ACS Cobham
Game 1 LoserGame 2 Loser
ACS Cobham
Game 1 WinnerGame 2 Winner
ACS Cobham
Herts youth baseball teams about to commence preparations for the 2021 National Championships. New players can still join.

Herts youth baseball teams about to commence preparations for the 2021 National Championships. New players can still join.

As the end of the school summer holidays nears, the Herts youth baseball teams will be returning to training on Saturday, 4 September, in preparation for the 2021 National Youth Baseball Championships (NBCs) which is scheduled for 18 and 19 September. 

Herts Baseball Club submitted a bid to host some or all of the age divisions  at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead and is awaiting the decision of the British Baseball Federation (BBF).

The club is planning to enter teams in all four age divisions, and the coaching staff of the five teams has been confirmed.

U18 Herts All Stars

Co-Manager – Colin Barrett

Co-Manager – Duane Badenhorst

U15 Herts All Stars

Manager – Will Zucker

Coach – Bryan Mencias

Coach – Aspi Dimitrov

U13 Herts All Stars

Co-Manager – John Kjorstad

Co-Manager – Donnie Parsons

Coach – Aspi Dimitrov

U11 Herts Falcons

Co-Manager, Jordon Fox

Co-Manager, Nick Barnaby

Coach – David Sanok

Coach – Joe Brown

Coach – Aspi Dimitrov

U11 Herts Londoners

Manager – Cory English

Deputy Manager – Marshall Stark

Coach – Marko Petromarkov

Coach – Mo Milosavljevic

Coach – Aspi Dimitrov

Preparatory Training Sessions

The training schedule ahead of the NBCs has also been confirmed as follows (note venues alternaing for some of the teams):

U18 Herts All Stars

DAYDATETIME (START)TIME (END)VENUE
Sat11-Sep-2109:4512:00Grovehill Ballpark

U15 Herts All Stars

DAYDATETIME (START)TIME (END)VENUE
Sat04-Sep-2109:4512:00Grovehill Ballpark
Sat11-Sep-2114:3016:30Basing Hill Ballpark

U13 Herts All Stars

DAYDATETIME (START)TIME (END)VENUE
Sat04-Sep-2109:4512:00Grovehill Ballpark
Sat11-Sep-2114:3016:30Basing Hill Ballpark

U11 Herts Falcons

DAYDATETIME (START)TIME (END)VENUE
Sat04-Sep-2109:4512:00Grovehill Ballpark
Sat11-Sep-2109:4512:00Grovehill Ballpark

U11 Herts Londoners

DAYDATETIME (START)TIME (END)VENUE
Sat04-Sep-2114:3016:30Basing Hill Ballpark
Sat11-Sep-2114:3016:30Basing Hill Ballpark
Tue14-Sep-2117:0019:00Basing Hill Ballpark

Team Rosters

The five teams currently have a total of 75 registered players with three additional players on standby. Click here to view the full roster.

There are a few available places in some of the teams so new players can still register in time to play in the National Championships.  They can also come to try baseball at the upcoming training sessions to help them decide before they register.  Those interested to register or to try baseball before registering should contact the club.

Herts to battle on all fronts in the national youth baseball championships. Badenhorst and Barrett to manage the U18s.

Herts to battle on all fronts in the national youth baseball championships. Badenhorst and Barrett to manage the U18s.

The Herts adult league teams may be struggling to qualify for the playoffs, so the club’s youth teams may have to carry the flag in the national baseball championships (NBCs) this season.

Herts is preparing to enter teams in all age divisions, U18/U17, U15, U13 and U11.  The club has submitted a bid to host the Youth NBCs at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead.  The event is expected to take place on 18 and 19 September.

The Herts youth baseball programme was restructured this season and has seen significant growth from 21 registered players last year to over 70 this season and that number is continuing to grow as new players are still registering to play in the NBCs.

The majority of these players are playing baseball for the first time in their lives so they will have the difficult task of competing against the more experienced teams from around the country, but it will be interesting to see how they will respond to the challenge.

The club has also confirmed that Duane Badenhorst and Colin Barrett (pictured above) will be the joint managers of the Herts U18/U17 team. Both bring a wealth of baseball experience having played and coached in South Africa and Great Britain, including at international level with the South Africa U12 National Team, South Africa Men’s Softball Team and, currently, the Great Britain Men’s Softball Team.

Duane Badenhorst (centre) with the Herts U17 team in the Youth NBC

Six members of the Badenhorst and Barrett families have worn the Herts jersey over the years and fans of the club will be delighted to see them back.

For more details about joining the Herts youth baseball teams for the upcoming national youth baseball championships contact us.

The kids put on a show in dramatic season finale

The kids put on a show in dramatic season finale

The Herts Londoners clinched the Under-11 division of the Herts Youth Baseball League after a dramatic race with the Herts Raptors and the Herts Falcons which went right down to the wire.

At the start of the day the Londoners and Eagles were in third and fourth place, two games back on the Falcons and Raptors. 

The Eagles struck first with a 3-2 win over the Hawks helped by Sterling de Vita’s first home run of the season. On the other diamond the Londoners also won in their clash with the Falcons. This win proved to be crucial later in the day.

The Hawks may have been eliminated from the race but they were determined to leave their mark and they did so by causing a major upset beating the league leading Raptors and then the Falcons to derail their title push.

The gap at the top was beginning to close. The Londoners and Eagles were now just one game back but they were to face each other next, knowing that the losing team would no longer have a chance to win the title. The Londoners came out on top, 6-2. The Eagles were now out of the race.

It came down to the final games of the day. The Falcons, Raptors and Londoners were tied in first place. The Londoners faced the Raptors. The Falcons were up against the Eagles.  Both games started at the same time on adjacent diamonds which enabled the fans to witness the drama on both diamonds as it unfolded.

During most of the season the Falcons relied on the home run power of Connor O’Neill-Thompson.  He continued his bombardment adding to his tally to finish the season as the league’s leading home run hitter with five home runs. Rory Graham, who comes from the same school as O’Neill-Thompson, joined the Falcons partway through the season but he proved to be another power hitter for the team.  It was his home run that clinched the 2-1 walk off win for the Falcons. On the other diamond, the Raptors and the Londoners were tied 3-3 and the game had to go into extra innings.  On the hottest day of the year so far, to avoid heat exhaustion, the league had decided in advance that tied games would be determined in a hitting contest where the teams would nominate one of their players and the team whose representative hits the ball furthest would be awarded the win.  A high flying shot by Cosmo English won it for the Londoners.

HYBL U11 Division – Final Standings

PosTeamWLPctGB
1950.6430
21060.6250
3970.5631
4680.4293
54120.2506

This meant that the Falcons and Londoners were still tied in first place.  The league rules state that “the head-to-head results between the tied teams should be used to establish placings”.  The players and fans had to go through an anxious wait while the league commissioner and team officials were going through the season’s scores between the two teams. The confirmation came over the public announce system that the Londoners are the 2021 Under-11 Herts Youth Baseball league Champions having won two of their three games against the Falcons over the course of the season.

In the Under-15 Division, the championship was decided in the final game between the Hawks and the Londoners who found themselves tied in first place.  The age superiority of the Londoners was a big factor on the day as they won the game to become the U15 champions.

HYBL U15 Division – Final Standings

PosTeamWLPctGB
1720.7780
2630.6671
3450.4443
4130.2503.5
5270.2225

An outstanding act of sportsmanship by one of the youngest players in the league was recognised during the trophy presentation. 5-year-old Mason Barnaby from the Herts Raptors U11 asked for time during one of the games in order to run to the team bench area to encourage his teammate Owen Ridgway to rejoin the game after he had picked up a knock earlier in the day.

A considerable number of players missed out on these dramatic last few weeks of the season as they were required by their schools to self-isolate in compliance with Covid guidance, but the baseball season is not over.  The national championships are coming up in September and it will be interesting to see how the new generation of Herts youth players will do on the national stage against teams from around the United Kingdom.

Players are still able to register in order to represent Herts in the national championships. For more details contact us.

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
Five Herts teams go into the national youth baseball championships this weekend

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.