Expanding Herts Baseball Club has entered a fifth team in the British senior baseball leagues for the first time in its history.
As recently as 2004 the club fielded just a single senior league team – the Herts Falcons – but has now grown into one of the biggest clubs in the UK with four youth teams and now five adult teams.
Just ten minutes before the deadline for the 2013 season, Herts submitted the entry of its fifth team, which will play in the AAA league – the second tier of the British Baseball League system.
The AAA was the only league tier in which Herts was not represented last season, and Herts Falcons manager Lee Manning feels that this is a very significant step forward.
“We have had a gap at AAA level over the last two seasons, which has made it more difficult for us to progress players through the leagues,” he said.
“For players who are on the fringe of the NBL roster it is difficult to get them NBL-ready by dropping them down two levels to the AA League.
“Now that the gap at AAA is filled we are in a much better position to retain these players and develop them.”
Herts U17 boss Cris Hiche also believes it’s a good move, and provide a real boost for the club’s the youth programme.
He said: “We are fortunate to have very good players coming through the Herts youth teams. Many of them are challenging for a place in the Great Britain national teams and we know that the GB coaching staff put great emphasis on involving these young players at the highest possible level.
“The AAA team gives our young players the stepping stone on their way to the NBL.”
He added: “The youth programme is the future for Herts and we need to put the right structure in place for our players to fulfil their potential and the addition of a AAA team is a necessary component of that structure.”