Four Herts players called up for Team GB

Will Zucker

Will Zucker - Credit: Archant

Four Herts Baseball player have been included in the Great Britain U19 squad for the summer’s European Championships.

Pitchers Will Zucker, Carlos Casal jr and Zack Longboy have been selected alongside catcher Conner Brown.

The week-long 10-team tournament will take place from July 13-19 in Ostrava, Czech Republic, where Team GB have been drawn in a pool with reigning champions Italy, Spain, France and Germany.

This will be the first time in 10 years that Great Britain has competed in the European Championships, having booked their place with a silver medal finish at last summer’s qualifier in Croatia.

The 2015 team has to be one of the most well-prepared national teams that GB has sent to a summer competition. The past winter included both Academy and National Team practices, and the second year of the High Performance Academy (HPA). The HPA programme, which is funded by Sport England and supported by Major League Baseball, enabled eligible athletes in England to receive greater levels of support during the off-season. A second HPA venue was added, with practices taking place in Worthing and Wembley, and with players who lived farther afield were supported through a distance learning programme.

Efforts by the GB programme and by BSUK, which runs the HPA and Academy, to develop talent have been noticed by others, as two GB players were selected to play on the European All-Star team in the MLB Academies Tournament earlier this year: Jacob Dean, an outfielder and pitcher from Horsham and Johnny Fretheim, a catcher and outfielder from the London Mets.

In more good news for the club, infielder Michael Johnson has been selected for the GB U15 side for the upcoming European Championship qualifier.