Herts Falcons enjoy their first foray in European competition

The Hemel Hempstead-based Herts Falcons side during their Federations Cup trip to Bulgaria last week.
The Hemel Hempstead-based Herts Falcons side during their Federations Cup trip to Bulgaria last week.

There were trophies won, triumphs, blowouts and rain delays for a Hemel Hempstead baseball club last week during their first-ever experience of European competition.

The Herts Falcons, whose baseball diamond is at Grovehill Park in Hemel Hempstead, went on tour for an exciting European adventure last week in what represented a big step forward for the club.

They were taking part in a Federations Cup qualification tournament in Bulgaria, which the Falcons made thanks to their position as runners-up in last season’s National Baseball League of Great Britain.

It was a time of milestone achievements for the club’s record books.

Their first of five games in a five-day span was against Polish side Deby Osielsko.

Herts took an early lead, with Tetsuro Shinkawa driving in the club’s first-ever European runs.

Miguel Sarmiento later hit the club’s first European home run, as the Falcons rallied late on, before Osielsko eventually ran out 18-8 winners.

Last Tuesday the Falcons were overpowered by Athletic Sofia, from host country Bulgaria.

Two days’ later they were blown out by eventual tournament winners Solvesborg Firehawks, of Sweden.

In between was the most dramatic game of the tour, where Herts led Romanian outfit Atletico Alexandria 3-0 going into the fifth inning, behind the superb pitching of Gary Davison.

Alexandria fired back to take the lead on a couple of Herts’ errors, however, as the Falcons rebounded themselves, rain intervened.

A long rain delay became a halting of proceedings as Herts were left frustrated by a 6-3 scoreline when the game was called.

However, last Friday they finished the Euro jaunt on a high with Chris Gregory pitching a gem against Lithuanian side Utenos Titanai.

Jarrod Pretorius went three-for-four with the bat as the Falcons won big, 13-2, to claim the fourth-place trophy.

For more information about the club and their upcoming fixtures, visit the website http://hertsbaseball.com.