Development projects for baseball and softball take off in Manchester

Thu 18 May 2017


BaseballSoftballUK development staff in the North West have had a busy time lately, delivering on projects planned during the winter months, welcoming new players, working with existing players, and meanwhile continuing to plan for the next off-season.

In addition, staff have been facing the challenge of finding new opportunities for funding.

The following projects are currently being delivered or are in the pipeline.


Schools work

Sessions are being delivered to engage younger groups and signpost them to local baseball/softball community activities as well as to existing baseball clubs.

BSUK is now working independently with Flixton Junior School, Heyes Lane Primary and St Cuthberts CofE Primary to introduce children to baseball.

At the same time, in partnership with Stockport Council through their Girls Active and Boys Active Days, BSUK coaches are working with Lum Head Primary, Hazel Grove High School, Moss Hey Primary and All Saints Marple Primary.

BSUK North West Coach Linni Mitchell said: “It’s always really fun going into new schools to introduce children to baseball.  Most have seen it in cartoons or on American TV shows, so they are excited to finally get a glove on and swing a bat.”


Junior Baseball/Softball Clubs

Three junior baseball/softball clubs are now being operated by local teams.  Coach-pitch is being used to introduce the children in these clubs, aged 7-11, to baseball and softball, and there are weekend training sessions and competitions once each term.

The clubs and their locations are: Urmston Ripper Nippers (Trafford), Didsbury Donuts (Didsbury) and Altrincham Juniors (Altrincham).

School Games

The Greater Manchester Sainsburys School Games softball tournament will take place on Wednesday 5 July, delivered by BSUK in partnership with Greater Sport.

Working with universities

BSUK staff in the North West are continuing to work with a range of universities in the area:

  • Softball sessions are being run for University of Manchester staff, and a staff team played over the winter in the Manchester Indoor League.
     
  • The University of Manchester student team, Maelstrom, played in the Manchester Indoor League and in some outdoor tournaments.
     
  • The University of Salford Swifts also played in the Manchester Indoor League and has gone on to play in outdoor tournaments as well.
     
  • The Eagles from Manchester Metropolitan University Cheshire (Crewe) have played in both indoor and outdoor tournaments.
     
  • At the University of Bolton, sessions are being delivered weekly in term time.


Softball rookie sessions

These sessions are designed to Introduce slowpitch softball to beginners, with a view to forming new teams or recruiting for existing ones.

Rookie sessions are being run for the Manchester Softball League and additional sessions will be run in Trafford in June.

Linni Mitchell said, “Introducing softball to adults trying it for the first time at our rookie sessions and beginners’ tournaments is good fun, and it’s great to see softball continuing to grow and thrive in the North West."


Tournaments

BSUK staff are delivering various slowpitch softball tournaments to complement the traditional softball calendar, catering mainly for beginners but also for players up to National Softball League level.

  • The North West Series has brought two new tournaments to the calendar, providing new teams with one-day opportunities to play in May and July.
     
  • The LGBT Charity Tournament, now in its third year, is expecting a record number of teams on 20 May.
     
  • The Insurance Institute Tournament, a closed tournament for the local insurance industry, will be run on 4 August.
     
  • St James’s Place, an open, fun and fundraising tournament organised in partnership with St James’s Place Wealth Management, will take place on 19 August.
     

Planning

BSUK North West Development Manager Luis Arrevillagas said, “While delivering our off-season projects we were busy planning for the spring and summer.  It is really exciting to see so much happening in the area, and we are lucky that we have a growing workforce to sustain it.  I am looking forward to expanding this type of work to Merseyside and West Yorkshire, though workforce will be the key.  The existing leagues in those areas do a great job and we need to continue to support their growth.

“On top all of the projects mentioned above,” Luis continued, “we also keep planning others.  We want to support the Sefton Softball League and the Leeds Softball Association as well as meeting with local baseball clubs to see how we can support them.  Halton Baseball Club is a good example of the work we do that's not public-facing, as we have had meetings with the Council and Highways England to try to help the club through challenging times with their staff and facility.

“Meanwhile,” Luis added, “Manchester Baseball Club is really busy with their two teams and the school sessions they deliver.  It’s all good fun – though keeping all this going can sometimes be stressful!”

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