All-Star Series shows university baseball and softball growth

Fri 27 Apr 2018

Seventeen different universities from across the UK sent representatives to the fourth annual British University Baseball & Softball All-Star Series held at Farnham Park on Saturday 21 April.

Building on the introduction of a women’s baseball game last year, the All-Star Series this year featured the debut of a slowpitch softball game as part of a three-game series that also included men’s and women’s baseball games, with each event being contested by Southern and Northern university All-Star teams.

Captains were chosen based on team performance at this season’s major university championships or outstanding overall contribution in the eyes of the organisers.

Accordingly, Alec Newton (Nottingham - North) and Phil Cunningham (Portsmouth - South) were chosen to captain the softball teams while Ben Casling (Nottingham – North) and James Garnham (Queen Mary – South) took charge of the men’s baseball teams.  Kate Winfield (Nottingham – North) and Matilda Brenham Williams (UEA – South) were chosen to lead the women’s baseball teams due to their outstanding contributions to university baseball and softball during their academic careers.

Over 100 nominations for the All-Star event were submitted by teams to the organising committee.  Those nominations were then passed to the captains to finalise their teams, with the only instruction being that every university that nominated a player must have at least one representative in that game.

Results

A record 67 players made their way to Farnham Park on 21 April, which began as a beautiful sunny spring day, and play began with a strong showing from the softballers representing the Northern universities, who romped to a convincing 20-8 win over their Southern counterparts.

That set the stage for a high-scoring but tight men’s baseball game that that ended with the South drawing level in the series thanks to a 18-16 win after eight innings.

This set the stage for the rubber event, the women’s baseball game.  Eager to nail down the win for the North, their team started brightly, amassing a commanding 12-5 lead after three innings as the bright sunshine of the morning gave way to leaden skies.  The Southern women weren’t to be deterred, though, as they began chipping away at the Northern lead.  The South drew level just before the final inning began, then walked off with not only the win but the Series.

Comment

All-Star Series founder and BaseballSoftballUK Marketing, Communications and Events Officer Luke Stott was thrilled with the event. 

“What began as little more than a pick-up game amongst friends has grown to cover all aspects of our sports at university,” Luke said.  “What I’m most proud of, though, is that it’s still between friends -- it’s just that the circle is a quite a bit bigger these days!”

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