READ: Southern Belles become first all-women’s baseball team to join Development Charter

12
Jan
2021

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The Southern Belles Baseball Team were formed in 2020, and have become the first all-women's team to sign up to BaseballSoftballUK's Development Charter! Read what Team Manager Jessica Vernon had to say about this historic news below.

We are proud to announce that the Southern Belles are the first all-women’s baseball team to register with BaseballSoftballUK’s Development Charter. The team is making moves in the UK and women’s baseball!

The Southern Belles Baseball Team was initially formed to fill out the 3rd/4th place final of the BUCS Baseball Bash tournament on 11 October 2020, as there were only 3 teams. After finding a couple of ladies on the reserves list for those teams, a new vision of playing as an all-ladies team took hold, and recruitment quickly began. The team started by contacting a few local players and then promptly had them reach out to other teammates.

With only two weeks to prepare, Zoom quickly became their best friend as they hosted a pre-game chat to get to know each other and discuss team tactics. When game day arrived, the girls turned up in plenty of time for an early morning practice, setting the tone for a high-spirited day.

After listening to the British Baseball Podcast with J-Rod [GB Baseball’s Jonathan Rodriguez] and Chris Ward [of Guildford Baseball], the team’s leadership took on the outlook of achieving so-called ‘little’ wins. They had no idea how they would communicate as a new team, so they focused on things in their control, such as winning the captains’ call to the plate, which set them up for a loud and enthusiastic game.

Post-game, the players seemed even more dedicated and stuck around for a COVID secure lunch after practice. Some had travelled from as far as Manchester, so they took advantage of the opportunity for their first in-person practice and set the tone for the team: working hard whilst having fun.

What the team did that day paid off. Since playing together, the Belles have built a community in the South of England with hard-working females committed to improving themselves and their game.

Between virtual practices, Zoom workouts and game analysis practices, it’s strange to think that the team has only actually met in-person once or twice; there are even some players who haven’t yet met face-to-face!

Jessica Vernon, the team’s first-ever manager, discussed the opportunity to join the BSUK development charter, “So why have we chartered? Simple: Two Sports, One Ambition, the same phrase that BSUK uses in it’s new Strategy. We believe that our sports are all just about playing ball, and everything is possible for women in sport. Our players cross over all 3 disciplines- slowpitch, fastpitch and baseball - so why not?”

“We plan on creating strong relationships with our players’ teams, developing through online practices that are open to everyone, other social media communications and, in the future, playing against those teams. We hope to use Farnham Park, the national training complex for baseball and softball, as our home venue, as this would give other women’s teams access to play there, through the new BBF women’s league.

“Our main aim is to introduce more players to the sport, offering females opportunities with a welcoming environment where they can feel comfortable and confident in trying new things. This will provide ideal circumstances to educate and develop new and existing female baseball players in the UK, with regular practices and support, building a strong, southern community of players and coaches.

“We have half a dozen players and coaches attending the online BSUK Coach Summit 2021 to develop our knowledge of the sports and build on our understanding of how we play. Our attendees will then be able to pass this knowledge onto their teammates and other local teams.”

“We have been proactive in seeking funding, and want to create more funding opportunities, as this will increase our capacity for welcoming new players and buying necessary equipment.”

The Southern Belles will be a force to be reckoned with and will take the world of women’s baseball by storm!

The Development Charter offers all of BaseballSoftballUK's development resources, including safeguarding, club administration, and a dedicated relationship manager, to any baseball or softball team in the United Kingdom. To sign up your club, team or league, click here.

For more about the Southern Belles, visit them on Facebook and Instagram, and support their online fundraising campaign here

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