Tag Archive | "Great Britain"

Should the MLB go to London

Last night I couldn’t sleep so as I was trolling through Twitter I cam across an account with a podcast (Bat Flips and Nerds), and I gave it a listen. Now while I was for the most part entertained with some of the talk, especially since it was about the MLB playing in London. So I wanted to address a few issues and give my 2 cents.

The No Way It Will Happen Anytime Soon

So the podcast mentioned how much they would love to see the MLB All-Star Game in London. Yeah that would be nice with so many stars going over there and showcasing their abilities. But I don’t think that will happen, at least in my lifetime. On the other hand, and exhibition series in London with many of the all-stars would be a nice start. That way some of the young stars could be showcased to the British people and perhaps lead to more fans. Let’s face it, baseball is not huge in Great Britain. While it might be growing, many people there do not understand the game since it is not played as widely as other places.

The I Would Be Shocked If It Was the First Series

Red Sox v. Yankees – Yes I know there has been talks between the owners of taking a series to London. I just don’t see it, at least not for the first series. Someone of the podcast mentioned how it would be great for the teams and fans to have the popularity of their team grow in another country. Yes, for the owners. Let me be clear that most Red Sox fans do not care if the Red Sox are popular in Great Britain. That means so little to them. Quite a lot less than missing out on a home series against the evil empire. And the same goes for Yankees fans, who might in fact care less.

Of course that does not go for all fans. I am one in particular that wants to see the sport grow everywhere in the world. But I am in the minority here in the USA.

Yeah But the NFL Sent Their Best Teams to London First

No they didn’t. They sent the New York Giants, coming off an 8-8 year in 2006, and the Miami Dolphins, who went 6-10. In fact, the Dolphins went 1-15 in 2007 the year they played in London. Sure New York won the Super Bowl in 2007 but nobody saw that coming. After all they went just 10-6 in the regular season.

Year two saw the New Orleans Saints the home team. The 2008 Saints that played in London went 8-8. The year prior they went 7-9. They did play the 2007 AFC West Champion San Diego Chargers (11-5 in 2007), but even the Chargers went 8-8 the year they played in London.

Year three, in 2009, was more of the same with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the home team. A year in which they went 3-13, coming off of a 9-7 campaign in 2008. Not exactly Super Bowl contenders. Their opponent, the New England Patriots, went 11-5 the year prior to London but didn’t make the playoffs.

Not a single year was the home team poised to make a deep run in the playoffs. Typically they are teams that struggle and could use a good payday with a “home” sellout even if it is in London. So the argument that the NFL is sending its best is a fallacy.

However, like the NFL Major League Baseball can send decent teams over to help grow the sport. The NFL would not continue adding games if they were not making money, and I think MLB will follow suit. I would love to see MLB at least send over a young superstar. I really liked the idea of the New York Mets going over with their young pitching staff, especially Noah Syndergaard. Throw in a division rival in say the Atlanta Braves, disclosure my favorite team, and you have a nice combination. A series with Syndergaard, deGroom, and Harvey pitching is quite the start. Throw in Granderson, who is notoriously great for growing the game, and you have some guys that will be a positive. On the Braves side seeing other top prospects like Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte, and star Freedie Freeman and you have the makings of a good start. No they are not the best teams with the most stars, but it would be a nice start.

Either that or making sure someone like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper make the trip would be nice too. No matter who goes at least one team really needs a superstar in my opinion, or the very least some young budding stars that the British can follow over the years.

It is about time MLB makes the move to play outside the USA/Canada again. It has been a few years since the Dodgers and Diamondbacks played in Australia.

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Great Britain: British Baseball Hall of Fame Announces Inductees

Press Release Project Cobb

On the customary second Tuesday in October, the sixth annual class of new inductees into the British Baseball Hall of Fame recognizes three more of the game’s greats: Alan Smith, Cody Cain, and Josh Chetwynd.

Alan Smith is the second most successful player in the British game’s history, as assessed by national titles, and he remains the holder of several modern top-tier pitching records. Off the field, he was a key administrator for the London Warriors , one of the country’s all-time best teams, and he provided instrumental support for Team GB’s silver medal at the 2007 European Championships.

Cody Cain was one of the truly great two-way players in modern British baseball history and featured consistently among the leaders of pitching and batting statistical categories throughout his time in the game. His 18-strike-out game in 2004 is still a modern record, and his 0.00 earned-run average in 1993 remains an unmatched top-tier feat.

Josh Chetwynd’s contribution to the sport in Britain has comprised a unique mix: prominent media roles; deep involvement in intitiatives to grow the game and chronicle its history; and consistent success as a player, both domestically and internationally. Across the first decade of wood-bat baseball in the modern era (2001-2010), Chetwynd not only had the highest batting average (.440) but was also the hardest player to strike out.

To see full biographies of the three 2014 inductees as well as the 22 other individuals enshrined in the British Baseball Hall of Fame, please visit: http://www.bbhof.org.uk/.

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Great Britain: A Look Back at the 2014 National Baseball League Season

A new champion was crowned in 2014 in the British National Baseball League. The Essex Arrows not only took the regular season crown, but they took home the NBL Championship trophy as well.

The Arrows took down the London Mets in the finals after the Mets advanced through the playoffs winning in the wild card round over Southern. The Arrows and Mets finished with the top two records during the regular season.

The Arrows swept the Mets in the best-of-three series winning 5-1 and 5-4. This was the first time Essex was in the finals.

Essex finished a disappointing 10-18 in 2013 before making the huge turnaround. Last year they were bounced out of the playoffs in the wildcard round by Southhampton who would go on to finish as the runner-ups.

In other league news, the yearly awards were also announced. Abelardo Salas of the Herts Falcons won the league MVP as a two-way player. Matt Tarrant of the London Mets won the Best Young Player Award in 2014.  This award is given to the most valuable player who is 18 or younger on the last day of the year. The fielding awards were also announced:

Callum Vinall (Bracknell Blazers)

First Base
Gary Davison (Southampton Mustangs)

Second Base
Trevor Allen (London Mets)

Ryan Hackel (Herts Falcons)

Third Base
Maikel Azcuy (Essex Arrows)

Gio Escalona (Essex Arrows)
Josh Rapaport (London Mets)
Jacob Dean (Bracknell Blazers)

Final British National Baseball League Standings:

1. Essex Arrows 15-7
2. London Mets 15-9
3. Southhampton 14-10
4. Bracknell 12-9
5. Southern 12-10
6. Herts Falcons 7-14
7. South London 3-19

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Baseball’s Rise Marked By New Stadiums Worldwide

Press Release IBAF.org

“Our sport has entered into a new era of globalisation.” WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — A fresh wave of planned or recently completed baseball and softball construction projects is set to boost the growing popularity and globalisation of the bat-and-ball sports, as well as local economies, World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) officials reported. The latest developments follow historic growth for baseball and softball across Africa, with first-ever national stadiums erected in Ghana and Uganda in early 2014.

Now, as baseball and softball’s global footprint deepens, new facilities are being rolled out in the Bahamas, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom, in addition to new-builds in mature markets like Mexico — and South Korea and Taiwan, where the first-ever domed baseball stadiums are currently taking shape.


In 2015, a new national baseball stadium in the Bahamas — Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium — will be completed and “heralds rapid expansion of the game of baseball in the Bahamas,” reads a statement posted in November on the official website of the Government of the Bahamas.

Prime Minister of the Bahamas Perry Christie told reporters at the groundbreaking ceremony:”This is a result of the extraordinary progress of baseball in the [Bahamas], without government support, sponsored by people who had an interest, who stimulated young people…to get involved in baseball. We are now talking a benefit to the economy of the Bahamas.”

Government officials in the Bahamas indicate the state-of-the-art facility “will support the nation’s current energies to fully develop its sports tourism.”


Europe’s first state-of-the-art baseball and softball complex just outside Amsterdam in Hoofddorp, Netherlands was inaugurated for the 2014 season and has already hosted its first international competition. As well as attracting major baseball and softball events to the region and providing a new and exciting athlete-/fan-experience, the venue’s strategic location makes it very attractive as a regional training centre to further strengthen the development of baseball and softball in the Netherlands and in Europe.

In 2013, the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association unveiled Europe’s first baseball and softball urban playground. The innovative “urban” concept was rolled out in Rotterdam and aims to take organised baseball and softball to the street, increasing the sports’ pathway and connection with young people in non-traditional settings.

New Zealand

Last month, the Auckland Council unveiled a new crown jewel baseball facility, cited by Auckland city officials as “the first of its kind in New Zealand.” Baseball New Zealand and McLeod Park Baseball Diamond have since been awarded the hosting rights of the U18 Baseball Oceania Championship, which serves as the qualifier for the 2015 U18 WBSC Baseball World Cup. Following McLeod Park’s opening ceremonies, officials in New Zealand have already been assessing the feasibility of building baseball’s first-ever national stadium in New Zealand.


The Instituto Barcelona Deportes (Barcelona Sports Institute) announced last week that it is set to begin construction on a new sports/community project, including the roll out of a new softball field next to baseball’s Estadio Carlos Perez de Rozas on Pierre de Coubertin Street in Barcelona.

“Sport is fundamental in Barcelona, so we are committed to providing the city with sports facilities necessary to ensure constant sport and of quality,” Deputy Mayor for Quality of Life, Equality and Sports, Ms. Maite Fandos, said in a statement.

South Africa

In a joint venture, the City of Cape Town and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport announced last month the unveiling of the rebuilt Bishop Lavis Softball field, which included laser-levelling of the pitch, installation of irrigation, construction of a backstop and fence, as well as installation of floodlights to hold training and competitions in the evenings.

“We are committed to providing facilities which will encourage communities to participate in sport and will nurture young talent. Sport encourages young people to live healthy and keeps them involved in wholesome activities and off the street,” the Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Alderman Belinda Walker, said in a statement.

United Kingdom

Following the first-ever dedicated baseball/softball stadium in the U.K. with Farnham Park Baseball and Softball Complex built last year in Slough, BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK) recently announced plans to build a new baseball and softball facility in Manchester to promote the sports and bolster participation numbers in the North of England. As growth has taken off in the U.K., including the newest facility inaugurated in Essex, John Boyd, BSUK Joint CEO, announced in November a project to expand the Farnham complex to include another international-standard baseball field.

WBSC on Baseball/Softball’s Continued Trend of Global Growth

WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari hailed the wave of initiatives as a major boost for the positioning of baseball and softball as one of the world’s leading global sports, particularly as WBSC and its partners continue working toward a return of baseball and softball in the Olympic Games.

“Our sport has entered into a new era of globalisation,” said the world governing body president. “More and more clubs, communities, cities and nations are investing in the development of baseball and softball because it is being recognised that baseball and softball are proven and popular sporting and fan activities that engage young people across both genders as well as sponsors and broadcasters, and can help to stimulate economies.

“WBSC, our National Federations, our professional league partners and the youth leagues are heavily invested in promoting our sport around the world to attract and reach — and remain relevant to — the next generation of athletes and sport fans, alike. This recognition and support from governmental institutions to help drive growth marks a significant breakthrough for our sport in terms of universality and evolving into a truly global sport.”

Based on data compiled, the WBSC estimates that over 65 million athletes practice the sport of baseball and softball in over 140 countries, with youth and females making up the majority of the participation-demographic.

Copyright © 1999-2014 IBAF . All rights reserved. Permission to cite from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to ibaf.org as the source.

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Great Britain: Harlow Nationals Win Historic Third Straight NBL Title

The Harlow Nationals completed a historic third consecutive National Baseball Championship title after defeating the Southampton Mustangs. It was the first time the Mustangs have made the championship.

Both teams had to win a wild-card game to advance. The Nationals then took down the regular season champion the Herts Falcons in the semi-finals before winning it all against Southampton.

For more information on the championship match, visit BritishBaseball.org.

National Baseball League Playoffs:

Sunday, September 1, 2013 – Wild Card Playoffs
Bracknell Blazers 4, Harlow Nationals 17
Essex Arrows 4, Southampton Mustangs 10

Saturday, September 14, 2013 – Semi-Finals
Harlow Nationals – Herts Falcons 8-7
London Mets – Southampton Mustangs 1-15

Sunday, September 15, 2013 – Finals
Southampton Mustangs 7, Harlow Nationals 12

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Baseball and Softball Continue Global Growth with First New Facility in Britain

Press Release World Baseball Softball Confederation

LONDON (UK) – The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) campaign to be included in the 2020 Olympic Games has received a major boost with official opening weekend activities at the first dedicated national baseball and softball venue in Britain.

The facility, which features a full size international standard baseball field and three softball/youth baseball fields, has been designed to encourage young people and women and girls into the sports from Britain’s vibrant multicultural communities.

The demand for the new facility also highlights the increasing popularity of the two sports amongst women and young people from a wide variety of backgrounds, in the United Kingdom and across Europe, which has seen rapid growth in softball and baseball over recent years in these important, non-traditional new territories and markets.

The opening ceremony for the venue on Saturday at Farnham Park, in Slough, near London, was the culmination of planning by BaseballSoftballUK, and funding from Sport England, the UK Government’s sports development body.

The state of the art facility was also jointly financed by the Baseball Tomorrow Fund of Major League Baseball (MLB) which, along with other professional leagues around the world, is providing important support and backing for the WBSC campaign for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games.

“The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is thrilled to award BaseballSoftballUK this grant that assisted in the creation of a new facility at Farnham Park Sports Ground,” said Cathy Bradley, Executive Director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. “It is exciting to have a new complex in the United Kingdom and our hope is that a facility such as this will continue to introduce kids to the pastime and grow the games of baseball and softball.”

The new facility will also support the creation of a new after-school program in the community and a girls fast-pitch softball league. The complex will be considered the “home” of British baseball and softball and will host local, regional and national tournaments and training for more than 1,000 youth, ages 8-16, year-round.

“This is the first facility of its kind here in the United Kingdom, and has been in part funded by Sport England and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, and is part of BaseballSoftballUK’s highly successful vision for the sports to be played in every park – a growth strategy that has seen the number of regularly playing baseball and softballers double over the past four years from 10,000 to 20,000,” said John Boyd, Joint CEO and Head of Development at BaseballSoftballUK.

“This is a momentous achievement that will further attract athletes to our sport in the UK and underpin baseball and softball’s continued rise in Europe and worldwide emergence,” said WBSC co-Presidents Riccardo Fraccari and Don Porter.

“We fully support the single baseball/softball venue concept, as WBSC is proposing a streamlined shared venue for the 2020 Olympic Games. The forward-thinking Farnham Park project highlights the significant benefits and realities of baseball and softball’s partnership and long-term sustainability,” the co-Presidents added.

A similar modern concept baseball and softball venue is set to be completed in March 2014 at “Park 21” in the Amsterdam metropolitan region, while in May 2012, the first international standard ballpark in France was inaugurated just south of Paris in Senart.

At the professional level, baseball and softball are a $20 billion business worldwide, and are among the leading professional sports, which helps stimulate new construction projects.

Baseball is broadcast into 200 countries and the sport and its audiences are continuing to globalise and grow in key regions of the world including India, Africa, Middle East, Caribbean, South America, and China as well as Europe and has 250 million fans worldwide.

The World Cup of Softball held last weekend in Oklahoma City was broadcast by ESPN into more than 140 countries.

If included, softball and baseball would be unlike any other sport at the 2020 Olympic Games, bringing new and unique sporting skills and qualities to Olympic fans and viewers as the only bat and ball sport at the Games, helping to balance and diversify the Olympic programme and Olympic Games experience.

With 65 million active players around the world at various levels, baseball and softball currently ranks as the largest sport not on the Olympic programme, and with the full support and resources of the sport’s professional partners, the potential for baseball and softball to become the next great global game is very real.

“The World Baseball Softball Confederation regards the Olympic Games as the highest honour and greatest goal for every athlete and sport, and we will place our full global resources and passion for the Games at the service of the Olympic Movement,” WBSC co-presidents Fraccari and Porter said.


About the World Baseball Softball Confederation:
Formed under the authority and merger of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation (ISF), the World Baseball Softball Confederation has been established to provide a unified voice and governance for all disciplines of Baseball and Softball. The WBSC has 133 National Federations.

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Great Britain Baseball Releases Roster for 2013 European Championship Qualifier

Press Release by Great Britain Baseball

Great Britain Baseball has released its preliminary roster for the upcoming European Championship Qualifier in Zurich, Switzerland from 22-28 July. The team will include a number of familiar faces mixed with some new recruits, and will have several domestic-based players.

Team GB is expecting to field a strong, competitive squad, as it looks to return to the European A Pool at the first attempt following a surprising relegation in 2012.  Over recent years, the team has won the European Championship Qualifier in Israel in 2011 and took the silver medal from the 2007 European Championships.


The final roster will be confirmed one week before the tournament, but a preliminary 20-man roster has been selected by Head Coach Sam Dempster.  Coach Dempster will be assisted by Pitching Coach and former GB player Brian Essery and former MLB player Philip Stockman, with details of the final coaching position to be confirmed shortly.

The squad has been drawn from the BBF’s National Baseball League as well as from Europe, North America and Australia.

You can read more about the Team GB staff here and details of the 2013 European Championship Qualifier here.



Azcuy, Maikel 3B
Cramman, Jonathon 1B
Davison, Gary P
Evans, Mitch C
Foley, Luke SS
Hendrix, Greg P
Heggen, Andy P
Kreisberg, Spencer P
Pearson, Ben P
Rees, David P
Renery, Mike P
Rosen, Brett C
Roxburgh, Matt OF
Sims, Chris 2B
Trask, Ryan OF
Waterman, Paul P
Wiley, Nate P
Wiley, Sam C
Wiley, Zack SS
Young, Ian OF


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Baseball Softball UK Receives Funding

Sport England has announced that baseball and softball are part of the 46 sports that will receive funds over the next four years. The £493 million investment includes £3 million for baseball and softball. The aid is intended to help develop the games and increase participation.

The award shows confidence in Baseball Softball Uk’s ability and recognition for its solid work. Included in the investment is £200,000 to help develop facilities and, for the first time, £100,000 for player development.

The overall investment represents a £54 million increase over the previous 4-year period. However, Sport England has let it be known that funding is dependent on results. Targets for participation will be reviewed every 12 months and funding can be increased or cut based on the reviews.

This is a big step in the right direction for the sport in the UK.

Great Britain participated in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Regensburg, Germany in November. The team finished 1-2 in the competition failing to advance to the WBC in March.

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Great Britain: National Baseball Championships Preview

After more than four months of regular season games, the pinnacle of British baseball arrives this weekend with a three-day display of the best on offer from all divisions. With at least 13 games being played at the NBC’s, baseball fans from across the country can get ready for fantastic weekend!

After the final playoff games last Sunday, 19 August, 58 teams had been whittled down to the 14 who will contest the National Baseball Championships at four separate levels – Single-A, AA, AAA and the National Baseball League.


The reigning national champions, the Harlow Nationals, booked their place in the NBC several weeks ago and they crowned it in style by finishing top of the NBL standings after splitting a doubleheader against the Herts Falcons on Sunday, August 19.  The Falcons finished in second place as a result and go into the NBC as the second seed.

The Southampton Mustangs also secured automatic entry by finishing third and they will go into the weekend with the wind in their sails after an impressive doubleheader sweep away at the champions two weeks ago.

The final NBC place was taken by the London Mets, who defeated the Lakenheath Diamondbacks in the NBL Wild Card game on August 19 at Finsbury Park.

NBL Schedule

Saturday, August 25
Game 1 (12.00):  Harlow Nationals v London Mets
Game 2 (15.00):  Herts Falcons v Southampton Mustangs

Sunday, August 26
Game 3 (10.00 am):  Winner Game 1 v Winner Game 2
Game 4 (13.30):  Loser Game 1 v Loser Game 2 (loser will be eliminated)
Game 5 (17.00):  Loser Game 3 v Winner Game 4 (loser will be eliminated)

Monday, August 27
Game 6 (11.00):  Winner Game 3 v Winner Game 5
Game 7 (14.30):  Same as above (will be played if Winner of Game 3 loses Game 6)


The National Baseball Championships are a unique opportunity for fans of baseball and for those who are new to the sport to get close to the action and witness the crowning of the 2012 British Baseball Champions.

Of course it would not be a true baseball celebration without good food and a variety of traditional baseball food and drinks will be on offer.


 Thanks to the great people at GameChanger you can now follow all the game action online throughout the weekend!

For all the NBL, click here.

For all the AAA, click here.

For all the AA, click here.

For all the A Final, click here.

If you do not have an account at GameChanger, you have to create one, but don’t worry as it’s free!

Courtesy BritishBaseball.org

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Following the resignation of BBF President Mark Salter the board have issued the following statement.

The British Baseball Federation Board has today accepted Mark Salter’s resignation from the role of President of the Federation.  The Board would like to express its gratitude to Mark for all his hard work during his Presidency and hopes to continue his effort to grow the sport and awareness of the sport across all ages in Britain.  Mark worked tirelessly to strengthen the BBF’s relationship with international organisations and leaves with those connections at an all-time high.

The Board wishes Mark all the best and hopes that he will continue, albeit in a different role, to further the sport in the future.

Courtesy BritishBaseball.org

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Great Britain: News and Notes from the National Baseball League

Courtesy: British Baseball Federation

The Harlow Nationals clung to their top spot in the National Baseball League standings after a convincing sweep of the Southampton Mustangs on Sunday. Meanwhile, Lakenheath swept the Essex Arrows with a pair of dramatic walk-off wins.

The Harlow Nationals regained the top spot in the National Baseball League on Sunday, 24 June with a sweep of the Southampton Mustangs. In the day’s only other matchup, Lakenheath edged both games by a single run in their double-header with the Essex Arrows. Herts-London and Bracknell-Croydon fell victim to the weather.


Game 1: Harlow 11, Southampton 5
Game 2: Harlow 7, Southampton 3

Having not lost back-to-back games all season, Southampton slumped to their fourth defeat in a row following their sweep by the Harlow Nationals. With the London Mets at Herts Falcons double-header being washed out, Harlow took full advantage to open up some breathing space at the top of the standings.

The Nationals came out swinging in Game 1 and were determined to stamp their authority on the game from the outset. Harlow opened the scoring on a RBI single from Will Lintern before an infield error from Southampton allowed Edwin Alcantara to score as the Nationals jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

Alcantara then turned provider in the top of the second scoring Maikel Azcuy and Brendan Cunliffe before another infield error plated Roberto Almanzar. Harlow put the game well and truly out of reach in the third scoring four more times thanks to Almanzar’s RBI double and a three-RBI double from Will Lintern to give the Nats a nine-run lead.

Lee Ralph came in to relieve Alberto Rodriguez in the fifth for Southampton and steadied the ship somewhat. The Mustangs added some respectability to the scoreline with a late rally as Marius Urbanavicius hit a two-RBI single in the sixth and Alberto Rodriguez added a two-run double in the seventh.

Roberto Almanzar closed out the complete-game win allowing five runs on seven hits with five strike-outs and is now 9-0 on the season.

Gary Davison took the start for Southampton in Game 2 and shut Harlow down for most of the game allowing just three hits through five scoreless innings. Alberto Rodriguez continued Game 2 how he finished Game 1 with a RBI single in the first. Victor Aizpura also scored on an error as the Mustangs jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Another error in the fourth saw Ben Davis score and, with Gary Davison dominating on the mound, Southampton looked in complete control.

All was to change in the sixth though as Harlow’s bats finally came alive and, mixed with some helpful fielding from their hosts, the Nationals turned the game on its head. Carlos Casal, Jose Sosa and Mikael Azcuy all had two-RBI singles and Luis Goncalves added one of his own as Harlow scored seven times in the frame.

Brendan Cunliffe kept Southampton off the board over the final three innings to record the second complete-game win of the day for Harlow as the Mustangs were left to rue that one inning.

Southampton manager, Ben Davis, said, “In Game 1 we were just outplayed, we started slow out of the gate and never recovered. We started Game 2 better but a couple of errors shifted momentum. They scored all their runs in the top of the sixth and we squandered too many chances early in the game, we should have had more runs on the board by then.” Of the Mustangs current slide he added, “Hopefully this is our low point for the season and we are getting all of our errors out of our system now. Historically we play sound ball. We have a week off to regroup and we are looking forward to the final nine games. The Final Four is in our sights and we will be there for the third straight year.”

Nationals manager, Marty Cullen, was in no doubt about the secret of Harlow’s success: “It all starts with good pitching and Robbie [Almanzar] gives us that every time he takes the mound. When you are as cool under pressure as he is teams never get a big inning off of him. In Game 2 Brendan was great, he does his job every time out getting groundouts and flyballs, he keeps the ball in the park and when he does that we feel like we’ll win. They get good run support as well, everyone in the lineup had a hit in Game 1, Will [Lintern] is hitting as well as anyone in the league right now and I’d love to see him add a batting title to all his Gold Gloves”.



Image: Ken Reber

Game 1: Lakenheath 11, Essex 10
Game 2: Lakenheath 13, Essex 12 (9 innings)

After a 45 minute delay for groundworks following a torrential downpour, Lakenheath and Essex played out two tense encounters with the D’backs taking a sweep by the narrowest of margins.

Lakenheath debuted Taylor Portman on the mound, which proved early on to be a baptism by fire as he allowed five runs in the opening frame. Portman would settle down later in the game but not before Matt Mulvaney crushed a three-run shot giving Essex a commanding lead. Lakenheath began to slowly claw their way back into the game before a big sixth inning saw them draw even at 10-10.

With the score still tied in the bottom of the last inning, Colton High hit a leadoff double for Lakenheath
and moved up 90-feet as Brad Simpson reached on an error. A double play set-up a grandstand finale but Ken Reber stepped up to the plate and stayed perfect in the game as he slapped a ball to left field for the walk-off win.

Game 2 was every bit as thrilling as the first with both sides’ bats catching fire. Following an impressive debut Jed Oliver was given his second start for the Arrows but it would be the hitters that would star as Lakenheath’s Leo Perez sent a three-run no-doubter out of the park and, in a reversal of Game 1, Lakenheath threatened to run away with the game as Ken Reber hit a two-run shot of his own.

Kevin Carr started for the D’backs and kept Essex to two runs through four innings before a fifth inning rally saw them score four times to reduce the deficit to 10-6. It would be the Arrows this time who set up the tense finish as Luke Foley hit a grandslam to tie the game at 10-10.

Rocked by the Arrow’s comeback, Lakenheath were not able to capitalise in the seventh as they had in Game 1 and the game went to extra innings. Both sides traded a run in the eighth and Essex took the lead again with a single run in the ninth. In the bottom of the frame Lakenheath’s Kevin Carr turned a sac-bunt in to a base hit before a blooper from Chase Richey loaded the bases. Another blooper from Brian Carter scored the tying run and a wild throw to third allowed Carter to turn the corner and reach home for the D’backs second walkoff win of the day.

Lakenheath head coach, Ken Reber, commented, “We had multiple chances to score more runs in Game 1 but we kept at it, kept hacking away and we were rewarded with the big inning we were looking for. I was really proud of how Taylor [Portman] finished out the game. I can’t say enough about both teams. Everyone played their heart out today and it was great to finally get our first sweep of the season.” And the reason for their change of fortunes – “We think it might have had something to do with the new black jerseys,” Reber jested.


This Saturday, June 30th, the Bracknell Baseball Club will celebrate its 20th birthday.

The Club would like to invite all British baseball teams, players and fans to join them at Westmoreland Park for a celebration that will include youth baseball and adult softball activities and an exhibition game against the GB Cadet National Team as part of their warm-up ahead of a tour in Ontario, Canada in July.

Food will be available all day and baseball apparel will be sold, too.

Come out to Bracknell to celebrate the club’s many successes and the great achievement of twenty years in the British Baseball Federation!

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London Baseball & Softball Week Planned for England in July 2013

By BaseballSoftballUK

New dedicated playing facilities for baseball and softball – the first of their kind in the UK – are expected to be ready for the 2013 season at Farnham Park near Slough and at two locations in Milton Keynes, funded by Sport England and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund.

To celebrate this achievement, BaseballSoftballUK, the Development Agency for the two sports, is planning to host a week of high-level international baseball and softball competitions at the new facilities from July 1-7, 2013, known as the London Baseball & Softball Week.

All three formats

New diamonds at Conniburrow and Woughton on the Green in Milton Keynes will host baseball tournaments at Under-18 and Senior levels, with the finals to be played at Farnham Park.

Meanwhile, a high-level adult women’s fastpitch tournament, an Under-19 men’s fastpitch tournament and a co-ed slowpitch tournament will be staged at Farnham Park.

The baseball tournaments are likely to run from Wednesday, July 3 through Saturday or Sunday, July 6 or 7.

The fastpitch softball tournaments will be held from July 1-4, since European competitions in these formats will begun on July 8.  The slowpitch tournament will be held over the weekend of July 5-7.

Other events during the week may include tours of the new facilities, simulcast transmissions of final games and closing ceremonies and a party for all participants. BaseballSoftballUK is working with the Confederation of European Baseball (CEB) and European Softball Federation (ESF) to structure and deliver umpiring and coaching courses that can run alongside the London Baseball & Softball Week competition.

Teams from Europe and further afield will be invited to take part in all competitions, and the tournaments are expected to be attended by officials from the European Baseball and Softball Federations.

Aims and objectives

The main objectives of the London Baseball & Softball Week are to showcase the significant investment made in new, high-level facilities in the UK and to provide an international event that reinforces the UK as a significant hub for all three formats of our sports.

Contact information

Any teams from outside the UK interested in entering one of the Baseball & Softball Week events,  or who want more information, should contact:

Bob Fromer
(+44) (0) 1886-884204

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Great Britain: Harlow Nationals Sweep Croydon Pirates

GREAT BRITAIN – The Harlow Nationals rebounded Sunday from a disappointing loss to the London Mets a week ago to claim a British National Baseball League twinbill sweep over the winless Croydon Pirates.

The reigning NBL champion, knotted in the top spot with the Southampton Mustangs, coasted to a 9-2 win in the opening game before bringing out the brooms in the finale with a 7-2 victory.

The Mustangs (7-2) notched a pair of forfeit wins over the Bracknell Blazers (0-6), while the matchups between the Essex Arrows (5-5) and the London Mets (5-2), as well as the contest between the Lakenheath Diamondbacks (2-5) and the Herts Falcons (6-2), ended in a doubleheader split.


Southampton Mustangs (7-2)
Harlow Nationals (7-2)
Herts Falcons (6-2)
London Mets (5-2)
Essex Arrows (5-5)
Lakenheath Diamondbacks (2-5)
Bracknell Blazers (0-6)
Croydon Pirates (0-8)

Marvin Moore is a freelance writer and former int’l baseball coach. He currently teaches baseball to underpriviliged Filipino boys at the Future Stars Baseball School in Bohol, Philippines.

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Great Britain: Harlow Nationals Sweep Essex Arrows

GREAT BRITAIN – The Harlow Nationals used a pair of pitching gems last weekend to sweep the Essex Arrows in a British National Baseball League doubleheader at Northbrooks Baseball Field in Harlow.

Harlow (5-1) took the first game, 5-2, as Jamie Ratcliff (2-0) followed his one-hitter a week earlier with a two-hit complete game.

The reigning British champion finished off the two-game set with a 7-0 shutout victory. Roberto Almanzar (2-0), who tossed a three-hitter a week ago, went the distance allowing the Arrows just two hits.

The Herts Falcons and Southampton Mustangs split a twinbill. Alberto Rodriguez (2-0) notched the win as the Mustangs survived a late rally by the Falcons to claim a 7-5 decision. However, Mike Osborn (3-0) scattered two runs and eight hits in a complete game effort to lead Herts to a 7-3 victory.

The London Mets coasted to a pair of lopsided victories over the Croydon Pirates. Pietro Sollecito pitched a five-inning complete game and Alex Pike popped a two-run walk-off home run in a 13-2 win in the first game. The Mets used a five-run second highlighted by home runs by Pike, Grant del Zoppo and Erick Henson en route to a 16-6 drubbing in the second contest.


Herts Falcons (5-1)
Harlow Nationals (5-1)
London Mets (3-1)
Southampton Mustangs (2-2)
Lakenheath Diamondbacks (1-1)
Essex Arrows (2-4)
Croydon Pirates (0-4)
Bracknell Blazers (0-4)

Marvin Moore is a freelance writer and former int’l baseball coach. He currently teaches baseball to underpriviliged Filipino boys at the Future Stars Baseball School in Bohol, Philippines.

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Great Britain: Team GB Shakes up its Staffing Structure

GB Baseball has announced changes to its structure ahead of the team’s European Championship and World Baseball Classic Qualifier appearances in September, including a new General Manager.

The Great Britain Baseball staff has announced changes to its structure ahead of the team’s European Championship and World Baseball Classic Qualifier appearances in September. New volunteer roles have been added to the GB Operations team while other jobs are being reshaped to better cope with the 2012 workload and make best use of staff skills.



The biggest change will see the current GB Cadet Coach, Brendan Cunliffe, also assume the responsibilities of Senior Team General Manager, replacing Jason Greenberg.

Greenberg served as Senior GM for the past two years as well as Great Britain Baseball’s Director of Operations. Going forward, Cunliffe will assume charge of the programme’s top team and Greenberg will focus more broadly on the operational structure and logistical processes of all four GB squads.

“This is the most challenging summer of Great Britain Baseball to date,” said Greenberg. “We have four teams heading in separate directions around the globe, more rostered players than ever before in the history of our national teams, and of course, with our appearance in the World Baseball Classic qualifier, the eyes of the world will be upon us. We felt it was imperative to get more volunteers involved and shake up our management system from the top down to ensure we’re fully equipped for the work ahead.”

Brendan Cunliffe
Brendan Cunliffe is the new Team GB General Manager

Brendan Cunliffe, who comes from Ontario, Canada and is currently living and working in London as a Senior Development Manager at BaseballSoftballUK, will take over as Senior General Manager with immediate effect. Brendan was part of the Team GB pitching staff the last two seasons for European tournaments in Stuttgart, Germany and Tel Aviv, Israel. He played baseball for four years at Montreat College in North Carolina and won national championships in Britain with the Bracknell Blazers (2009) and Southern Nationals (2011). He is the current Head Coach of the GB Cadet National Team and will continue to fulfil that role this July when he leads the Cadets to a challenging series of games across eastern Canada.

“Brendan [Cunliffe] will be a terrific General Manager,” Jason Greenberg said. “He is stepping up in a big way, giving even more time and energy to the programme and assuming a critical role in a relentless summer of GB competition.”


Supporting Brendan Cunliffe as Assistant General Manager and new Media Director for the GB Senior Team will be Trevor Clissold.

Clissold was born and raised in London and studied in Edinburgh and Nottingham before attending the University of Exeter, where he focused on Politics and International Relations. He began his career working at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before moving into the area of Human Resources, specialising in Employee Relations, and he now works full time for BaseballSoftballUK.

Clissold was a part of the youth programme for the world’s oldest rugby club, Blackheath RFC, and from 2008-2010 was the club secretary for one of the South East’s longest-running Sunday football clubs. He is now a member of the Kent Mariners Baseball Club.

BBF National Teams Programme Director Marty Cullen said: “It is high time we carved up our growing responsibilities as a national teams programme and got more hands on deck. As with any volunteer organisation, we need a lot of good people working hard to get the job done and I believe all of these revised roles and new faces will help us move forward in 2012 and beyond.”

The GB programme is still looking for additional volunteers, including a Treasurer and Finance Director, an Equipment and Merchandising Coordinator, individual facilitators for GB Baseball fundraisers, and further Assistant General Managers to oversee finite areas of operational work. Some staff will have the opportunity to join the national teams on trips abroad, including at the European Championships and at the World Baseball Classic qualifier.

Interested volunteers should contact GB Baseball Director of Operations Jason Greenberg.

Courtesy BritishBaseball.org

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Great Britain: Herts Falcons Stay Unbeaten

GREAT BRITAIN – The Herts Falcons stayed perfect in the British National Baseball League Easter Sunday with a doubleheader sweep over the previously unbeaten Essex Arrows.

Jake Michels and Dave Tretheway paced the offensive onslaught as the Falcons rolled to a 15-7 victory in the first game. Michaels collected a double, two triples and five RBIS, while Tretheway drove in six scores with a pair of doubles and a three-bagger.

Jordan Farkas (2-0) picked up the decision while former Herts pitcher Darrin Ward (1-1) took the loss.

Essex (2-2) raced out to a four-run lead in the second contest before Herts (4-0) countered with seven unanswered runs to earn a 7-4 win.

The Harlow Nationals captured a pair of narrow wins against the Bracknell Blazers. Jamie Ratcliff carried a no-hitter into the seventh and finished with a one-hitter in a tension-packed 1-0 victory. The Nationals finished off the sweep with a 4-2 win in the second meeting as Reiniel Martinez doubled and homered.


Herts Falcons (4-0)
Harlow Nationals (3-1)
Essex Arrows (2-2)
Lakenheath Diamondbacks (1-1)
London Mets (1-1)
Southampton Mustangs (1-1)
Croydon Pirates (0-2)
Bracknell Blazers (0-4)

Marvin Moore is a freelance writer and former int’l baseball coach. He currently teaches baseball to underpriviliged Filipino boys at the Future Stars Baseball School in Bohol, Philippines.

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Great Britain Senior National Team to Hold Tryouts

GREAT BRITAIN – The staff of the Great Britain Baseball Senior National Team have announced they will hold tryouts for their European Championship and World Baseball Classic Qualifier rosters in London and Toronto on Saturday, June 2.

The evaluation events will be staged on opposite ends of the Atlantic Ocean on the same day. Trying out in Toronto or London is the best opportunity that prospective players have to get a look-in from the Team GB coaches and management team.

Only players who are currently eligible, or will be eligible by June 30, 2012, will be allowed to attend the London and Toronto tryouts.

For more information about the tryouts, visit www.britishbaseball.org

Press Release: BritishBaseball.org

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Great Britain: Essex Arrows and Herts Falcons Open Season with Sweeps

GREAT BRITAIN – The Harlow (previously Southern) Nationals and the London Mets split a British National Baseball League doubleheader last Sunday at Finsbury Park.

The reigning NBL champions stopped the Mets 8-1 in the first game of the new season behind a superb outing by southpaw Brendan Cunliffe (1-0). Jarrod Pretorious paced the offense with four RBIs.

London regrouped to salvage a split with a 10-2 victory in the second contest. Pietro Sollecito (1-0) picked up the win while Harlow starter Jamie Ratcliff (0-1) was tagged with the loss.

The revamped Herts Falcons opened the new NBL season with a sweep over the Bracknell Blazers. The Falcons took the first game, 4-2, as American pitcher Jordan Farkas fanned Phil Matthews with the bases loaded in the seventh to seal the win. Herts completed the doubleheader whitewash with a narrow 8-7 triumph in the second encounter as Michael Osborne (1-0) notched the win.

The Essex Arrows started the new season in grand fashion with two wins over the Croydon Pirates. Darrin Ward (1-0) tossed a gem to lead the Arrows to a 7-0 victory in the season opener. Matt Gilbert (1-0) was credited with the win as Essex finished off the twinbill sweep with a 10-6 decision.

The Lakenheath Diamondbacks and the Southampton Mustangs had to settle for a twinbill split. The Diamondbacks began the 2012 campaign with a hard-fought 10-8 win. However, the Mustangs captured a 7-4 victory in the second game to end the day on a winning note.


Essex Arrows (2-0)
Herts Falcons (2-0)
Harlow Nationals (1-1)
Lakenheath Diamondbacks (1-1)
London Mets (1-1)
Southampton Mustangs (1-1)
Bracknell Blazers (0-2)
Croydon Pirates (0-2)

Marvin Moore is a freelance writer and former int’l baseball coach. He currently teaches baseball to underpriviliged Filipino boys at the Future Stars Baseball School in Bohol, Philippines.

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Great Britain: Two Time NBL MVP Ryan Bird Joins the Herts Falcons

GREAT BRITAIN – Ryan Bird is one of the biggest stars of the National Baseball League and he will be wearing the Herts jersey this season. In the last four years the 29-year-old has been one of the most dominant baseball players in Great Britain. His name appears prominently across the majority of the defensive and offensive stats of the NBL.

Two time NBL Most Valuable Player joins Herts Falcons. He received immediate recognition, voted as the NBL’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2008. This was his first season in the League and this achievement is even more significant given that this was a time of total league domination by the amazing London Mets. In the following year Bird was once again voted as the League’s MVP, making him the first player to receive two MVP awards since the days of Simon Pole during the London Warriors era. In 2009 he was also the league’s home run champion with 5 dingers.

He has performed consistently throughout and he is the NBL leader in career batting average (.477), career on-base average (.560) and career slugging average (.804). His primary position is catcher, but he has also had a real impact as a pitcher. His career ERA is 3.49 with a record of 10 wins and 4 losses and, very notably, one of the highest strikeouts per nine innings ratios (16.29).

In his four seasons with the Flames, Bird has reached the postseason on each occasion lifting the National Championship trophy in 2010 and finishing as Runner-up twice (2008, 2009). His is now making the move to a team which has struggled in the last two years, but he feels that 2012 could be a turning point for Herts. “I am excited ahead of the new season and look forward to being a part of the team. I believe the Falcons will be more competitive this year as a result of the winter recruitment, dedicated team and solid framework already in place.” he said.

Bird feels that “A playoff place is well within our reach this year” adding that “From there anything can happen”.

The addition of Ryan Bird is the latest in a list of some very significant player acquisitions for Herts. The news of these has travelled fast not only in and around Hertfordshire and North West London, but also nationally and has even featured in European publications.

Press Release: Herts Falcons

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Great Britain: Southern Nationals Crowned NBL Champs

By Joe GrayStaff Writer for baseballgb.co.uk
With contributions from Michael JonesAAA Special Correspondent

On the final weekend of Britain’s 2011 adult baseball season (September 10-11), twelve travelling troupes convened at Grovehill Ballpark, Herts Baseball Club’s excellent Hemel Hempstead facility, to play out the National Baseball Championships (NBCs).

National titles were decided at all four senior levels.

The newly formed Southern Nationals emerged victorious in the National Baseball League (NBL) final; the Liverpool Trojans, the country’s oldest club, claimed the AAA crown; the Bolton Robots of Doom were champions at AA level; and the recently re-formed Cambridge Royals took the Single-A title.

The event was run by Team GB to raise funds ahead of the crucial 2012 season, in which the Seniors will compete in the World Baseball Classic qualifier as well as the European Championship A-Pool, having regained a place among Europe’s elite with the qualifier win over Israel this summer.

As a fundraiser, the NBC was very successful (a sum of close to £2000 was raised). And a straw poll of spectators yielded favourable comments on the running of the event.

The inclement weather predicted in Friday’s forecasts did not materialise for the most part, with many of the games being played in dry and at times bright conditions, though a heavy rain shower led to a short break during the NBL Final and gusts on the far diamond momentarily became strong enough to up-end a gazebo.

Here is how the games went over the weekend.


NBL Semi-Final 1

Southampton Mustangs 11 Lakenheath Diamondbacks 12

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Southampton Mustangs 0 0 5 0 0 0 1 0 5 11 7 4
Lakenheath Diamondbacks 1 1 0 1 0 3 0 3 3 12 11 1

After three hours and nine minutes of increasingly dramatic back-and-forth baseball, it was a skilfully stroked single from Diamondbacks Player/Coach Ken Reber in the bottom of the ninth inning that decided the game.

Elation broke out among the Lakenheath camp as Reber charged down the first base line, fists pumping, while the realisation of defeat slowly emerged on the Mustangs’ faces. For the military squad, the goal of winning a national title in their first season was one step closer. For the Southampton team, there must have been at least some satisfaction that they had acquitted themselves at this highest level of competition far better than in 2010, when they were on the receiving end of a Reid Wilson no-hitter in their first of two losses.

Lakenheath’s big bats struck two early blows off Southampton starter Gary Davison, but with no runners on base, the home runs hit by Adrian Ryals in the bottom of the first and by Ryan Riniker in the bottom of the second did not faze the Mustangs. A chain of infield hits and walks brought up five on the scoreboard for Southampton in the top of the third, assisted by wildness from Diamondbacks starter Colton High.

But a new arm for the Diamondbacks, Peter Soares, kept the Mustangs quiet during the game’s middle three innings, a period during which Lakenheath plated four runs to edge into a 6–5 lead.

A single run in the seventh inning for Southampton restored parity, but a three-run rally in the eighth by Lakenheath appeared to have broken the spirit of the fighting Mustangs, given that they had loaded the bases in the top of the inning but had failed to score.

So, going into the ninth, the Mustangs trailed by three runs. Against the odds, though, the visitors appeared to have done enough to pull off a remarkable victory, with a five-run rally powered by a Marius Urbanavicius home run and a two-out Ben Davis double.

Now it was the Diamondbacks who looked down, but not quite out. Southampton relief pitcher Alberto Rodriguez was himself relieved by Lee Ralph during the ninth as the Diamondbacks loaded the bases and plated a run. Ralph gave himself a chance of navigating around the approaching iceberg, picking up two key outs including a force at the plate. But he was doomed to fail in the desperately difficult save attempt when Ken Reber stroked his walk-off hit.

Marius Urbanavicius was the pick of the Mustang hitters, with an earlier single to go with his last-inning homer. He had the Mustangs’ only multi-hit game. The Diamondbacks’ offence was paced by walk-off hero Reber, with three hits including a double, while Adrian Ryals, Adrian Mendoza and Josh Miller each had two hits.

NBL Semi-Final 2

Southern Nationals 18, Richmond Flames 6

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Southern Nationals 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 11 5 18 19 4
Richmond Flames 2 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 6 8 1

In a game exuding intensity for much of its course, the grains of sand were running out for the trailing Nationals as their right-fielder Leo Perez drew a lead-off walk in the top of the seventh inning. Based on the tightly-fought nature of the contest up to that point, it appeared that the NBL newcomers would need to capitalise on every opportunity if they were to stand a chance of overturning a 5–2 deficit.

But a successfully executed pick-off from the ever-dangerous arm of Richmond catcher Ryan Bird removed Perez and had one spectator commenting that “It’s just not going to be the Nationals’ day.” This was underscored when hits by the Lintern brothers (a double for Will and single for George), sandwiched around a hit by pitch for Jason Roberts, loaded the bases for the Nationals, only for an infield pop-up and a fly-out to centre by Jason Holowaty to end the threat with no runs scored. The inning might have been different without the pick-off.

But redemption was reasonably swift for Leo Perez. He scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as part of a developing rally by the Harlow-based squad, and then sealed what turned into an 11-run onslaught with a three-run homer later in the inning. That incredible sequence of scoring had started with a lead-off home run by the 2011 NBL long-ball champion Edwin Alcantara. Richmond were aggrieved by the nature of the slugger’s celebration, and they lost their control of the game soon after.

Another five runs for the visitors in the ninth inning made the final score 18–6. The Nationals’ attack had been driven by a 4-for-6 performance by Maikel Azcuy (including a two-run homer), and three-hit performances by Leo Perez and Brendan Cunliffe. Young infielder Luis Goncalves also impressed, going 2-for-2 from the ninth spot before being substituted.

Starting pitcher Jason Roberts entered the batting line-up at that point, with Jason Holowaty moving from designated hitter to second base. Shortly after, Holowaty took one of the most remarkable catches in any recent Championship, a full-stretch dive to his left that snagged a hard-hit liner off the bat of Cody Cain.

“Of all the gloves I had to hit it to…!” Cain remarked as he retreated to the bench.

Jason Roberts went the distance in the game, throwing 150 pitches in his nine-inning effort, striking out seven and walking four while scattering eight hits. Robbie Unsell, who was the NBL’s best pitcher during the regular season, had been a worthy adversary for six innings.

The 2010 champion Flames, to their credit, had played very well for seven innings, despite being short of at least one key pitcher through injury and fielding several players who were battling with cramp and other ailments. The lead they had built in the early innings was aided by round-trippers hit by Ryan Bird and Marty Visser and a three-bagger for long-time servant Michael Osborn.

But it was the Southern Nationals who advanced to join the Lakenheath Diamondbacks in the Final, ensuring that the 2011 National Championship was going to go a newly-formed team.


Southern Nationals 13, Lakenheath Diamondbacks 3

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Southern Nationals 0 1 4 1 5 2 0 13 12 0
Lakenheath Diamondbacks 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 3 5 5

Nationals’ Manager Jason Greenberg and Coach Marty Cullen handed the ball to graduating GB Junior Jamie Ratcliff for the Final. It had been 24 years, according to available records, since an Under-18 pitcher had won a National Final (the last being Tony Kuramitsu, who pitched a three-hit shutout for the Cobham Yankees in 1987).

What made the move braver still was the fact that Ratcliff had at times during the season struggled to direct his often-lethal missiles through the plane of the strike zone. At his best, Ratcliff had shut out the Croydon Pirates on the penultimate weekend of the season, but when he was not on his game he had walked batters in bunches and been pulled early on occasion.

But in this game, Ratcliff just had to focus on pitching, with the designated hitter spot filled by first Brandon Deal and then Carlos Casal, who delivered a pinch-hit double late in the game.

Ratcliff’s opponent on the mound was Ken Reber, the Lakenheath ace during the regular season.

The first run of the game came in the top of the second inning, the Diamondbacks scoring on a base on balls after Jamie Ratcliff had walked the bases full. Following some steadying words from his battery-mate and GB Junior Coach Will Lintern, Ratcliff pulled himself together and induced a ground ball that dependable third baseman George Lintern snared and then narrowly won a foot race to the bag against the incoming runner.

In the bottom of the second, Maikel Azcuy reached on a single for the Nationals, advanced to third on an errant throw and then dashed home on a wild pitch — an early sign of the control problems that Reber would suffer.

Jamie Ratcliff issued a one-out walk in the third and, following a strike-out, yielded a single to the dangerous Cameron Banks. Hitting behind Banks was Ryan Riniker, one of Lakenheath’s main power hitters, but Ratcliff bore down to retire him on a called third strike.

The Nationals then gave the battling Ratcliff runs to work with by punishing a series of Lakenheath infield errors in the bottom of the third. The four runs scored gave the Nationals a platform for victory.

From that point on, the Diamondbacks looked increasingly like they had no answer to the young Nationals hurler, as Ratcliff grew in confidence and seemingly found even more movement on his off-speed pitches. Only when the 105-pitch count approached (this being a strict limit for Under-18 pitchers) did the Nationals move to bring in Jason Roberts as a closer.

Roberts entered in the top of the seventh with a 13–2 lead, knowing that the Diamondbacks would need to score at least two runs to avoid a mercy-rule ending. Lakenheath did manage to score once, and had the second run heading for home when triple-crown winner Edwin Alcantara, stationed in centre field, became a fitting recipient of the last out.

Jamie Ratcliff’s winning performance in the final (six innings, two runs, three hits, five walks and three strike-outs) earned him MVP honours, while Maikel Azcuy was named Player of the Tournament after going 7-for-10 across the two games. Leo Perez also excelled over the two days, finishing 5-for-6 in the tournament.

Beyond Ratcliff, the Nationals’ roster featured other talented youngsters in Luis Goncalves, Aaron Webster and Dan Parker. The last of these players completed a three-generation Championship run, with father Frank Jr and grandfather Frank Sr both having claimed titles in their respective eras.

Frank Jr was one of the most jubilant Nationals’ followers, which was understandable given that the first team inscribed on the trophy now lifted by his son’s team was one that he himself had played on.

Visit BaseballGB.co.uk

BaseballGB is a site dedicated to writing about baseball from a British perspective. Read more from Joe Gray, Matt Smith and the team who brings you the top writing about our great game in the United Kingdom.

Photo Courtesy David Ratcliff/BBF.org

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By British Baseball Federation

The British Baseball Federation has confirmed the teams who will compete in the 2011 National Baseball Championships (NBC) on 10-11 September in Hemel Hempstead.

The British Baseball Federation has confirmed the dates and venue of the 2011 National Baseball Championships (NBC), where the National League, AAA, AA and Single-A season titles will be awarded.

The NBC will be held on the weekend of 10-11 September at Grovehill Playing Fields in Hemel Hempstead, home to the Herts Baseball Club. However, it will be the Great Britain Baseball programme that is hosting the event in a bid to raise funds for the national teams. Herts has generously donated the use of their two purpose-built baseball diamonds, which makes a significant contribution to Team GB’s fundraising efforts over the NBC weekend. Grovehill Playing Fields was the site of the 2010 Championships.

Also supporting the British Baseball Federation with preparations for the NBC is BaseballSoftballUK, the national development agency for both sports.


On Saturday 10 September, the National Baseball League (NBL) and AAA will stage 9-inning semifinal games in a single-elimination format to determine which two teams shall advance to the final.

The next day — Sunday 11 September — they will be joined by the top two teams from the AA and Single-A divisions, and all four leagues will play their championship showdowns.

The NBL final will take place at 15:00 GMT on Diamond One. The Single-A final will begin earlier in the day on the adjacent field at 09:30, followed by the AAA final at 12:30 and the AA final at 15:30.


National Baseball League (NBL)

Sat 10 Sept 11:00 Diamond 1 Game 1 Southampton Mustangs @ Lakenheath Diamondbacks 9 innings
Sat 10 Sept 15:00 Diamond 1 Game 2 Southern Nationals @ Richmond Flames 9 innings
Sun 11 Sept 15:00 Diamond 1 Final Game 1 Winner @ Game 2 Winner 9 innings



Sat 10 Sept 11:00 Diamond 2 Game 1 Essex Redbacks @ Liverpool Trojans 9 innings
Sat 10 Sept 15:00 Diamond 2 Game 2 Halton Jaguars* @ Bristol Badgers 9 innings
Sun 11 Sept 12:30 Diamond 2 Final Game 1 Winner @ Game 2 Winner 9 innings


 * Halton Jaguars have withdrawn from the NBC, and the BBF will announce the final AAA competitor in the coming days.



Sun 11 Sept 15:30 Diamond 2 Final Bolton Robots of Doom @ Latin Boys 9 innings



Sun 11 Sept 09:30 Diamond 2 Final Birmingham Maple Leafs @ Cambridge Royals 9 innings


Spectators from all across Britain are expected to attend the National Baseball Championships, and there is no charge for admission to any of the games.

Professional caterers will be barbecuing burgers, hot dogs and more on both days with all proceeds going directly to Great Britain Baseball. There will be a mobile bar on site with cold draught beer on tap, and Team GB will sell ice-cold sports drinks courtesy of their official drinks sponsor, Gatorade.

Also attending is GB Baseball travel partner Virgin Atlantic, who are in discussions with the BBF to offer a special airfare scheme to the British public in support of the national baseball team.


Team GB will be selling a selection of merchandise and equipment to help raise money for next year’s international competitions, such as the European Championships and the World Baseball Classic qualifiers.

On sale will be a range of brand-new maple bats from official team sponsors X Bat and Mattingly, as well as XProTeX and Cutters batting gloves, EvoShield protective wear for batters, Phiten titanium bracelets and necklaces, Mattingly equipment bags, Big League Chew bubble gum and official Great Britain Baseball team wear such as t-shirts and baseball caps.

Supporters will be able to purchase equipment and apparel by cash, cheque or credit and debit card payments.

In addition to merchandise, the national teams programme will also conduct a raffle with exciting prizes. Team GB would be grateful for additional contributions to the raffle from the British baseball community; please contact General Manager Jason Greenberg if you have raffle prizes to donate.

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Great Britain: D-Backs Rips Blazers

GREAT BRITAIN – The final weekend of the British National Baseball League (NBL) regular season this past Sunday saw a host of teams jostling for pool positions and final playoff spots.

The Diamondbacks ensured a finish at the top of Pool B with a brace of wins at Bracknell, leaving the Blazers to sweat over their own playoff ambitions.

The opening game was a tight affair, with Ryan Riniker’s home run proving decisive as Lakenheath emerged 4-1 winners.

The second contest was much easier for the visitors, with the Diamondbacks going on a tear in a 16-7 win, with Ken Reber taking the honours on the mound.

The Arrows and Pirates played a doubleheader to make up postponed games, and both sides claimed a win.

Essex were the victors in Game 1, with Matt Gilbert out-pitching Jose Sosa as the Arrows won 11-7 .

But Croydon bounced back in Game 2. Sosa clubbed a home run as the Pirates gave themselves the sniff of an unlikely playoff spot with a 9-7 win.

Tim Ssali was the winning pitcher, while Richard Chesterton was saddled with the loss.

The Nationals prepared for the playoffs with a sweep of the ailing Falcons.

Jason Roberts pitched a shutout and Edwin Alcantara smashed his sixth home run of the season as the Nationals rolled to a 7-0 triumph in the opening game.

Things were even easier in Game 2. Jamie Ratcliff dominated on the mound as the Nationals crushed Herts to the tune of 16-1.

There was also added good news for Edwin Alcantara, who claimed the prestigious NBL triple crown, having led the league in home runs, batting average and RBIs – the first time this has been done since 2005.

1. Richmond Flames (19-5)
2. Southampton Mustangs (17-7)
3. Bracknell Blazers (9-15)
4. Croydon Pirates (8-15)
5. Essex Arrows (7-16)

1. Lakenheath Diamondbacks (19-5)
2. London Mets (16-6)
3. Southern Nationals (14-10)
4. Mildenhall Bulldogs (4-14)
5. Herts Falcons (2-20)

Simon Fitzjohn is a writer at the British Baseball Federation website

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Great Britain: Richmond Sweeps Bracknell

GREAT BRITAIN – The Richmond Flames flexed their muscles and built their season record to 19-5 by comfortably disposing of the ailing Bracknell Blazers.

Richmond crushed four home runs across the two games as they rolled to 14-2 and 20-9 triumphs.

William Schmitt clubbed two (including a grand slam) long balls, along with further homers for Robbie Unsell (another grand slam just one inning later) and Guy Lidbetter.

Pitching honours went to Unsell and Matt Spaulding.

The Nationals and Pirates split their doubleheader, albeit in wildly contrasting match-ups.

Jose Sosa pitched Croydon to a 6-2 win in game one, out-dueling the league’s 2010 Best Pitcher, Jason Roberts.

But the Nationals came back big-time in the second encounter, crushing the Pirates 21-0, backing a dominant pitching performance by Jamie Ratcliff in which the 17-year old delivered a six-inning complete game shutout with just three hits allowed.

The London Mets boosted their season record to 16-6 with a sweep (5-3 and 7-2) of the Essex Arrows, tightening their grip on second spot in Pool B in the process.

Essex is left clinging to fourth spot in Pool A with just one weekend of regular season play remaining, but three games left unplayed.

1. Richmond Flames (19-5)
2. Southampton Mustangs (17-7)
3. Bracknell Blazers (9-13)
4. Croydon Pirates (7-14)
5. Essex Arrows (6-15)

1. Lakenheath Diamondbacks (17-5)
2. London Mets (16-6)
3. Southern Nationals (12-10)
4. Mildenhall Bulldogs (4-14)
5. Herts Falcons (2-18)

Simon Fitzjohn is a writer at the British Baseball Federation website

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Great Britain Wins 2011 ECQ-Israel

July 29

ISRAEL – Michael Johnson connected for a late two-run blast and Great Britain turned back Israel 5-2 Friday to secure a spot at the 2012 European Championshup.

Johnson also tallied the final out of the game on the mound to notch the save. Alexander Smith (2-0) worked eight-plus innings of two-run ball to pick up his second win of the week-long qualifying tournament.

Most Valuable Player – Aeden McQueary-Ennis, Great Britain
Batted .462 (6-for-13) with a double, home run, four runs and seven RBIs.

Best Pitcher – Shiomo Lipetz, Israel
Gave up a run on three hits with nine strikeouts in a 11-1 win over Georgia.

Best Batter – Aaron Hornostaj, Great Britain
Hit .643 (9-for-14) with eight runs scored, three extra-base hits, and five RBIs.


1. Great Britain (4-1)
2. Israel (3-2)
3. Lithuania (1-2)
4. Georgia (0-3)

Photo: British Baseball Federation

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  • Dominican Republic (13%, 11 Votes)
  • USA (13%, 11 Votes)
  • Mexico (11%, 10 Votes)
  • Other (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Cuba (8%, 7 Votes)
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