Mets' Qualifier Victory Lifts British Baseball

Updated: Sep 7

The London Mets have achieved heights that have heretofore not been seen in Great Britain. With their recent victory in the 2021 Federation Cup Qualifier tournament hosted in Bulgaria, British baseball as a whole has been promoted to the Federation Cup.


Read about the group play and championship games at these links.


The hierarchy of European baseball, overseen by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) and the Confederation of European Baseball (CEB), has four levels of international tournament play. These are as follows, starting with the most prestigious:

  • Champions Cup

  • CEB Cup

  • Federation Cup

  • Federation Cup Qualifier


Each annual tournament has a promotion and relegation system which enables traveseral up and down the tournament hierarchy. Countries send teams who win their respective home league. As the Mets have won the 2021 season pennant, they will again represent British baseball in the 2022 tournament.


Each year since the qualifier began in 2016, the British Baseball Federation (BBF) has sent teams to the Federation Cup Qualifier. This is the first year with a British victory and promotion to the Federation Cup. Great Britain is now making their mark on the stage of international baseball.


The 2021 Federation Cup Qualifier consisted of three tournaments hosted by Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Ukraine. The London Mets were invited to the tournament hosted in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria.


Due to coronavirus travel restrictions, three countries dropped out of the tournament: Ireland, Sweden, and Switzerland. Three teams competed in the double-round robin-style pool. Athletico Sofia of Bulgaria, RusStar Baseball of Russia, and the Mets. While this made for fewer teams, it did not ease the path to victory as the Mets had lost to Bulgaria in both 2018 and 2019, and to Russia in 2019’s Fed Cup Qualifier.


The Mets brought their best to Blagoevgrad. Helmed by first-year manager Rich Minford, the Mets cruised to a 25-3 record in BBF play and looked to build on the success of their regular season campaign. While the roster had some new faces, including Drake Yoshioka and Mike Banagale, the team included many recognizable faces from the London Mets youth program. Zach Stroman, Sam Sproule, Jamie Dix, Jonathon Crammon, Michael Flaherty, Fred Mosier, and Matteo Sollectio all spent time at Finsbury Park training as boys and were proud to represent the Mets abroad as grown men.

PLAYER

POSITION

COACH

POSITION

Michael Banagale

OF

Richard Minford

Manager/Head Coach

Dylan Baxter

RF

Ryan Turtill

First Base Coach

Rory Chandler

OF

Derrick Cook

Bench Coach

​Derrick Cook

C

Gaetano Cristiano

Practice Coach

Jonathon Cramman

1B

Brendan Power

Defense Coach

James Dix

3B/UTL

Brian Lainoff

Pitching Coach

Jordan Edmonds

CF

Jonathon Cramman

Hitting Coach

Michael Flaherty

UTL

Thomas Flaherty

P

Brian Lainoff

P

Richard Minford

P

Fred Mosier

P

Brendan Power

INF

Matteo Sollecito

1B

Pietro Sollecito

P

Sam Sproule

INF