Updated: Sep 7, 2021
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.
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:
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.
First Base Coach
Mitchel vom Scheidt
Top row left to right: Gaetano Cristiano, Derrick Cook, Brian Lainoff, Tommy Flaherty, Michael Flaherty, Mitch vom Scheidt, Matteo Sollecito, Zach Stroman, Jordan Edmonds, Sam Sproule, Rich Minford
Bottom row left to right: Brendan Power, Jon Cramman, Jamie Dix, Michael Banagale, Drake Yoshioka, Fred Mosier, Rory Chandler, Dylan Baxter, Callum Vinall, Pietro Sollecito, Ryan Turtill