The biggest pre-season baseball competition in Britain returns to Hemel Hempstead next week as the Herts Spring League roars back into action at Grovehill Ballpark.
The competition will see 20 teams compete over the three weeks of action as the event organised by Herts Baseball Club signals that the start of the new season is just around the corner.
The 20 teams will be entered into three HSL tiers; the top teams in the country from the National Baseball League and Triple-A Leagues will play in the HSL Majors.
The HSL-AA is the second tier of the Herts Spring League and it will feature predominantly British Double-A League teams, while the third tier is the HSL-A consisting mainly of Single-A teams.
The organisers considered the possibility of a tournament format, but ultimately adopted a league format in the same way as the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues in MLB.
“The objective of the HSL is to enable the teams to prepare for the new season and we have noticed that teams are increasingly starting to approach the HSL in the same way as MLB teams approach the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues,” said HSL commissioner, Aspi Dimitrov.
The objective of the HSL is to enable the teams to prepare for the new seasonHerts Spring League commissioner Aspi Dimitrov
He added: “We have taken this into account when formulating the schedule putting greater emphasis on the preferences and requirements of the teams over the format of the competition.”
The action will take place at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead and Town Mead Ballpark in Waltham Abbey, the home of the Essex Arrows and Essex Archers.
A total of 32 games are scheduled to be played on the three diamonds – the competition begins on March 21 with a clash between the Herts Raptors and the Kent Mariners in the HSL-A bracket.
The HSL-AA and HSL Majors divisions commence 24 hours later when the 2014 Triple-A National Champions, Cambridge Royals, face the Double-A National Champions, London Mammoths.