This is the fifth year of the Herts Spring League (HSL). Every year this competition keeps setting new records. Last year 20 teams entered the HSL - a new record. The geographic spread of participating teams seems to be expanding as well, with teams as far away as Leicester and Southampton being involved. This year’s competition is set to be even bigger and teams have been keeping the Herts front office busy with enquiries over the last few months. Spring is the time when managers put together their teams and aim to turn them into winning machines ahead of Opening Day. Similar to the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues in MLB, the HSL provides a competitive edge to spring training.
Teams will be placed in two or more divisions (e.g. HSL Majors and HSL Minors) based on the teams’ ranking going into the new season. The exact format will depend on the number of teams entering the HSL and the availability of venues, therefore full details will be published when the league line-up is confirmed. Over the years the HSL has featured teams from the National Baseball League (NBL), AAA, AA and A-Leagues, as well as international teams such as the GB Under-19 National Team and the ASL Eagles, who won the very first edition of the HSL Majors in 2008. The number of team entries has been going up every year. 2008 – 10 teams, 2009 – 13 teams, 2010 – 17 teams, 2011 – 20 teams. Can the HSL set another new record in 2012? There has also been interest from Under-17 (Pony) League teams who want to enter so this year the HSL expects to have U17 teams involved as well. The high standard of most of the BBF U17 League teams will certainly enable them to compete comfortably at the level of adult teams form the AAA and AA League teams.
The BBF announced that the NBL season will commence on 1 April 2012 which is much earlier than previous seasons due to the GB Team’s involvement in the European Championships. The HSL schedule will be adjusted to ensure that NBL teams can complete their HSL games by Sunday, 25 March 2012.
The HSL Majors involving the NBL teams will be played over two weekends (not three). HSL Majors (Week 1 of 2)
HSL Majors (Week 2 of 2)
The other HSL Division(s) involving AAA, AA, A-League and Under-17 League teams will be played over three weekends, as in previous years: HSL Minors (Week 1 of 3)
HSL Minors (Week 2 of 3)
HSL Minors (Week 3 of 3)
Most games will be played at Grovehill Ballparkin Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, but there will also be games at other venues around London to fit the ever increasing number of HSL games. You can follow all the latest HSL news on the official Herts Baseball website.