It is not an exaggeration to say that 2023 was one of the busiest in British baseball and softball history. Between World Cups, the return of the MLB London Series, and more than 2,000 domestic games across the United Kingdom, the sports began to break through to the mainstream, all while the community continued to grow, and the level of play increased. With so many things happening in so many places, you’d be forgiven if you missed some of this year’s highlights – but BaseballSoftballUK, the British Baseball Federation, and the British Softball Federation have compiled our favourite moments together for your consideration.

Without further ado, let’s kick things off with…



The annual Coach Summit returned to an in-person format in 2023, with the keystone event held at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre for the first time. Coaches from across the United Kingdom spent two days at the 13th century Abbey, learning from a wide variety of baseball and softball’s premiere coaching voices, including Great Britain Baseball Head Coach Drew Spencer and newly-hired Great Britain Senior Women’s Fastpitch Head Coach Tara Henry. The event was capped off by a question-and-answer session with none other than Chase Utley, the former Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodger second baseman, who regaled the assembled coaches with stories from his career.

The British Baseball & Softball Coaching Awards were held on the Saturday night of the Summit, with a new award – for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion debuting in 2023 – as part of the banquet dinner. BaseballSoftballUK’s Head of Performance Gary Anderson delivered the after-dinner speech before the award ceremony, with Drew Spencer, Kellie Whitaker, Scott Bourgeois, Jodie Rushin, Matthew Moran, Abi Battisto, John Eaton, and Michael Harrold recognised for their coaching efforts.  All in all, the Summit was a welcome opportunity to bring the community together.

January also saw the latest (2022) class named to the British Baseball Hall of Fame, with Brian Holland, Richard Klijn, Frank Parker Jr., Stephan Rapaglia, Ryan Trask, and Doreen Megson receiving the call. Only 52 people have been enshrined in the British Baseball Hall of Fame since its inception in 2009, with the 2023 class announced in December this year (see below).

January ended with a major move for a Great Britain Baseball legend, as Liam Carroll, the longtime player and Head Coach of the Great Britain Baseball Senior National Team, was hired by the Boston Red Sox to manage their Single-A Salem franchise.

With the start of the year as jam-packed as it was, it’s no surprise that there was even more news in…


The Great Britain Senior Baseball Team and Great Britain Senior Women’s Fastpitch Team both received a boost from UK Sport in February. As part of the National Team Support Squad funding pathway, £90,000 in additional funds was made available to the two programmes – one of the few programmes to receive an uplift in funding. The additional funds would prove critical in the year’s major competitions.

The WBSC European Congress was held in Belgrade, Serbia, on 10-11 February, with a very strong British presence. BSUK CEO John Boyd, along with BSF President Ieuan Gale, BBF President Tom Thornhill, and BSUK Head of Performance Gary Anderson all attended, with Mike Jennings of the BSF also in attendance in his capacity as Softball Europe’s Competition Director. The Congress discussed the 2023 calendar, future competitions, and hosting regulations changes.

The British Baseball Federation announced their vision for the next 10-15 years of with the launch of the Our Future Development Plan, charting a course for the future of British baseball.

Unfortunately, February ended on a sad note, as former Great Britain softballer and longtime community member Emily Tomkins (nee Clifford) passed away. Emily left an indelible impact on the community, and especially slowpitch softball, and she was honoured during the year with the launch of the “Our Emily” programme at her former school, Ashford St Mary’s Primary.

As the days grew longer, the focus shifted west to Arizona as the calendar turned to…


One event would dominate the third month of 2023: The World Baseball Classic, with Great Britain making their debut following qualification in September 2022. Assigned to Pool C and Chase Field in Arizona, Great Britain held their camp at the Milwaukee Brewers spring training facilities, aptly playing the Kansas City Royals twice as a warm-up before the Classic.

Paul Stodart/Great Britain Baseball

With the United States, Canada, Colombia, and Mexico in Pool C, Great Britain had a tall task to advance, especially with their first game against the US. Despite the on-paper mismatch, GB would take the lead in their first-ever WBC game on a Trayce Thompson home run and kept the US close in a loss. Great Britain’s next game was at a UK-friendly hour, and five simultaneous watch parties ies were held in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Bristol, and Manchester to root for the team against their commonwealth rivals, Canada.

Down 0-2, Great Britain then faced Colombia in their penultimate game in pool play. In front of a raucous crowd at Chase Field, GB shocked the world (but not their fans) with a dominant 7-5 win over their South American opponents for the first WBC win in programme history. 

While GB would play another close game against Mexico, they were unable to knock off the world’s third-best side in their final game, but a major victory had already been achieved: with their win over Colombia, Great Britain secured an automatic berth in the 2026 edition of the Classic, the first time they will skip the qualifiers since the programme’s first attempt at qualification in 2012.

The World Baseball Classic was a milestone moment for both the Great Britain baseball programme and the sport in the United Kingdom, with mainstream coverage from the BBC, ITV, TalkSport and more. More than 200 fans made the trip to Arizona to root the team on in person, with GB Softball’s Tara Henry amongst them. The message from the World Baseball Classic was clear: Great Britain Baseball has arrived on the world stage, and they’ll be there for a long time.

While the World Baseball Classic understandably dominated March’s baseball and softball news, the domestic calendar roared to life with the second annual BUCS Softball and Baseball University Nationals. Softball saw two days of high-intensity action at the National Baseball & Softball Complex at Farnham Park, with Loughborough University retaining their crown after a fantastic final against newcomers the University of Central Lancashire. However, the BUCS Baseball nationals ran into rain following the first day of play, with the four finalists returning to Farnham Park in early May to crown a champion.

To cap off a fantastic March, the British Baseball Federation announced that three regional leagues would affiliate with the Federation – bringing more teams under the Federation’s umbrella and improving the overall health of the sport.

That brings us into…


Following a momentous March, the month of April had far fewer ‘major’ events but saw the commencement of the BBF and BSF seasons across the country. Without Covid-19 restrictions and following three years of limited play, the unrestricted start to the playing season was welcomed across the country.

The playing season started to pick up in…


The fifth month started with a final, as the BUCS Baseball Championship was completed on 3 May – the first BUCS Big Wednesday for baseball or softball. Despite another great game from UClan in the final, the result was the same as in softball, as Loughborough completed the double-double, sweeping both the BUCS baseball and softball titles for the second year in a row.

Jody Demay-Davies/BaseballSoftballUK

The popular BaseballSoftballUK May Cup returned, but this time with a twist. Renamed as the Coronation Cup, and held the same weekend as that momentous national event, the tournament took on a very regal air, with teams playing for suitably royal prizes.

May also saw the launch of the BSUK-TV Pilot Programme, the first-ever attempt to create a broadcast home for British baseball and softball. The programme ran through the 2023 season, and will launch to the entire baseball and softball community in 2024. More on that later, but for now…


The British Softball Federation kicked off the month of June with the formation of an Athletes Commission, a much sought-after feedback opportunity that both the fastpitch and slowpitch communities greeted with enthusiasm. The BaseballSoftballUK Jubilee Cup was held during the first weekend of the month, continuing the royal theme at the National Baseball & Softball Complex at Farnham Park, and the BSF’s Single-Sex Nationals were held in Manchester, with the Guzzlers, Royals, Chaos and Cardiff taking home the top honours.

However, the major story of June was the MLB World Tour: London Series, returning to the capital for the first time since 2019’s inaugural event. With the games acting as a catalyst, the MLB London Series Legacy Programme went into overdrive, with First Pitch Festivals held in Sheffield and Cardiff for participating schools, and a massive First Pitch Festival at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on the Thursday before the Series.

The day before the games, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs Charities, and former players Albert Pujols, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard visited Ranelagh Primary School in Newham to announce that the school would be gifted $35,000 for a brand-new baseball diamond, which opened in October – along with a new home side, the Ranelagh Rockets!

After a busy day of events, including a coaching clinic featuring MLB PAA members David Eckstein and Jake Arietta and the Workout Day at London Stadium, the Friday was capped off with the fantastic Home Run Derby X in Trafalgar Square – with Great Britain Baseball and Softball athletes Alex Crosby, Ural Forbes, and Alana Snow showing out in front of a home crowd!

Of course, the main event was the games themselves, with more than 110,000 fans packing the London Stadium for the two-game series, with the Cubs and Cardinals taking home a win apiece. With more than £53 million in economic impact on the capital, and more than 1,000 young people getting involved in the Legacy programme, the London Series again showed the positive impact that baseball can have in Britain.

Meanwhile, while the eyes of the baseball world were on East London, North London’s home side was making waves, with the London Mets and London Capitals playing in Federation Cup qualifiers. The Capitals came fifth in the Swedish pool, but the Mets were able to run the table with five victories to win their pool in Poland and earn a spot in the 2024 Federation Cup.

With so much done in the first half of the year, the calendar flipped to…


As the heat descended on Europe, players from the Great Britain Senior Women’s Softball Team converged at Bisham Abbey for a UK-based training camp to prepare for the Softball World Cup Group Stage Pool A in Ireland. With a World Cup competition looming, and with Tara Henry at the helm for the first time, the team made history before crossing the Irish sea, as the GB Women welcomed the Oklahoma City Spark to The National Baseball & Softball Complex at Farnham Park for the inaugural Royal Spark Challenge. The two-game exhibition marked the first time a professional softball team had ever played in the United Kingdom, with more than 800 people attending the two games and another 6,000 tuning in on BSUK-TV.

GB Softball then headed west to the World Cup in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, and turned the softball world on its head. Wins against Tokyo 2020 competitors Australia and then-world ranked number three Chinese Taipei put Great Britain in pole position after their first two contests, and a Georgina Corrick perfect game outing on just 60 pitches against Ireland clinched GBR a share of the top spot in pool play. Unfortunately, the Irish weather played havoc with the remainder of the tournament, and a long final day saw Australia and US advance to the World Cup Final in 2024. Despite the final result, GB’s performance sent a clear message to the rest of the softball world – Great Britain had arrived.

The Women’s side was not the only one in competition in July, as the GB Men’s Fastpitch Team headed to the continent for their European Championship. A week’s play in Denmark saw the squad finish eighth out of 12 participating nations.

Back at home, the inaugural BBF Summer Cup was a huge hit, with the London Mets defeating Essex Baseball Club in the Gold Final to take home the first-ever title. More than 350 players from 24 teams competed over the weekend, battling both each other and the British weather. Over on the slowpitch side, NSL league play came to a close at the end of the month, with the Legends, Mob, and Bracknell taking home the three division titles, and setting up NSL Nationals in September.

Both domestic play and international competitions came to a head in…


The GB Women’s Under-18 squad headed to Europe for their European Championship in Prague, marking an important milestone – the first competition for the Under-18s under the World Class Performance Programme system. A hard-fought Euros saw the GB team place 5th out of 20 teams. Attention then turned to European club competitions, where British teams represented the country very well. NSL1 teams H20 and the Traveling Dodgers made the trip to Bulgaria to compete in the European Slowpitch Super Cup. H20 would pull out the win, both against their British counterparts, and across the board, as they defeated the Textown Tigers from the Netherlands to win the tournament.

The Mix and Barbarians were next to cross the English Channel, with the teams competing in the European Women’s Cup and the European Women’s Cup Winners Cup B respectively. The Mix were able to improve on their silver medal the year before, winning the four-team competition to qualify for Europe’s top women’s club competition, the Premier Cup, in 2024. The final pair of club teams to play in Europe were on the men’s side, as the Stags and Meteors were off to the Netherlands for the European Men’s Super Cup. The Stags one-up’d their British rivals, defeating the Meteors to eliminate them from play before bowing out of the competition themselves.

Meanwhile, GB Baseball’s U23 team roared into action in Austria at the U23 European Championship. A hard-fought tournament saw the U23s take home their first-ever silver medal, only the third in GB Baseball programme history, and earn a spot at the 2024 U23 Baseball World Cup in China.  Nine of the U23 players also got a taste of European play that would come in handy at the end of September – but more on that later.

As the days grew shorter, the domestic seasons started to wrap for both baseball and slowpitch softball. The National Baseball & Softball Complex at Farnham Park hosted the BSF Co-Ed League Nationals, with four winners crowned across the four divisions: Mi6 (Platinum), Blue Sox (Gold), Sheriffs (Silver) and Wet Sox (Bronze).

The National Baseball League Championship was also contested at Farnham Park, with a return to the three-game series format, with the London Mets and London Capitals facing off for the fourth straight year. While the Mets were heavy favourites, the Capitals shocked their fellow Londoners, taking a 5-3 victory in Game 1 on Saturday. However, the reigning champs would storm back, outscoring the Capitals 19-0 on Sunday across the two games en route to their seventh consecutive National Championship title.

With the NBL decided, attention turned to the National Softball League for…


…as the NSL Nationals were held at The National Baseball & Softball Complex at Farnham Park. With an NSL3 champion to be decided at Nationals along with NSL1 and NSL2, and H20 looking to repeat, there was plenty of intrigue around the tournament, and two great days of play set up the three finals. H20 knocked off the Legends to defend their NSL1 title, while the Mob and Honey Badgers faced off for the third time in the tournament, with the Mob taking the NSL2 crown. The NSL3 championship was won by the Storm from Manchester in the weekend’s highest-scoring affair, as they defeated the Southern Stormers 29-17 to clinch the title.

The very next weekend, slowpitch returned to Farnham Park, this time with an international feel for the BSF Softball World Series. 16 teams representing countries or regions from across the globe battled it out, and in the end, the home side, England, won their first Softball World Series since 2009.

The BBF inaugurated two new tournaments in September as part of their National Championships, with new competitions for ages 16-23 and an Over-45s tournament providing more opportunities to play. National Champions were crowned across all divisions, with the Bournemouth Bears (AAA), Kent Hurricanes (AA), Cardiff Merlins (A), and Belles Baseball (Women’s Baseball League) winning their respective titles. There was news from the Great Britain Women’s Baseball programme as well, with Pietro Sollecito named as Manager.

As the month grew to a close, British baseball turned its attention to Czechia, the site of the 2023 European Baseball Championships. Great Britain, entering the tournament as the sixth-best team in Europe, was assigned to Trebic, and pulled no punches, defeating Sweden and Hungary in convincing fashion before knocking off perennial powerhouse Italy for the first time in programme history to clinch the top spot in Pool B. The Championships then moved to Brno, where GBR continued to roll, with wins over host Czechia (in front of a sold-out crowd) and Germany to earn a spot in the final. Despite a tough loss to Spain at the end, GBR clinched their third-ever silver medal in senior competition – their fourth in programme history – to cap off an amazing year of European and International play.

With Great Britain Baseball’s final game of the European Championships, we move into…


The Great Britain Fastpitch League concluded its playing season much the way it started, as The Mix and the Stags retained their top spots to win the league. With much of the outdoor season concluded, the focus then turned indoors, where a new venue – The 108, in Brent Cross – provided the backdrop for the relaunch of the Academy. With new instruction across all disciplines, and open to all ages, the new Academy will continue to run into 2024 and beyond.

There was also international news in October, and all of it good for Great Britain. First, the World Baseball Softball Confederation – the international governing body for baseball and softball – published a story naming Great Britain as the “next great baseball and softball powerhouse in Europe”, causing quite a buzz across the sporting community. While this was an incredible and unexpected endorsement from the International Governing Body, the next announcement was even bigger.

The 141st International Olympic Committee met in India in October, and the Executive recommended the return of baseball and women’s fastpitch softball to the Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028, a recommendation that was ratified by the Committee on 16 October. This huge news returned the sports (viewed by the IOC as one sport) to the Olympics in 2028 and will have major implications for the funding of the two Senior National Teams involved. For the first time since 2019, British baseball and softball players can dream of competing on the world’s greatest sporting stage. once again.

With the Olympic dream reborn, Great Britain Baseball and Softball had more work to do in…


…when the combined Great Britain Baseball and Women’s Fastpitch Senior Teams, supported by BaseballSoftballUK, were nominated for a prestigious UK Sport PLx Award for the very first time. Although the teams were bested by British Rowing, one of the UK’s most awarded sports, the recognition of the programme’s collaboration and teamwork from the high-performance community was another incredible honour in a year that saw plenty of milestone moments.

A relatively quiet November soon moved into…


…and the announcement of the annual Coach Summit, albeit with a brand new, all-practical programme. The Summit, which will take place on 27-28 January at The 108, will feature Miami Marlins coach and former MLB outfielder Jon Jay, and tickets are available here.

The British Baseball Hall of Fame also announced their class of 2023, with Craig Savage and Charlie Muirhead receiving British Baseball’s highest honour.

There was one more piece of news to close the year, as Great Britain Baseball manager Drew Spencer was hired by the New York Yankees to work in their player development department. Spencer will continue to manage the Great Britain Senior and U23 sides, with the U23 World Cup coming up in 2024. With the past two GB Senior managers hired by the Yankees and Red Sox in 2023 - ironically, the first two teams to play in the London Series in 2019 - the announcement capped off a remarkable year for the programme. 

As the year came to a close, all eyes turned to 2024 – and how to build on a massive, massive year!

By the Numbers

With such a busy year across all levels and all disciplines of baseball and softball, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the details – but here are some of the big numbers to know:

£53 Million: The economic impact of the 2023 MLB World Tour: London Series on the local London economy

330+ Schools, 14,000+ pupils: Number of primary school students involved in the MLB First Pitch programme across the UK this year – with numbers set to grow in 2024.

110,000: Fans in the London Stadium for the London Series 2023 across the two games.

20,000+: Viewers tuned in to BSUK-TV broadcasts, with the Royal Spark Challenge seeing more than 5,000 viewers.

23,438: Fans at the European Baseball Championships in Czechia, a record for Europe.

2026: The year of the next World Baseball Classic; Great Britain has already qualified.

2028: The year of the next Olympic Games to feature baseball and women’s fastpitch softball.

1,000+: Baseball games played under the BBF banner

120: average number of games played each weekend during softball tournaments at Farnham Park

18th: World Ranking for GBR Baseball following this year's competitions.

12th: World Ranking for GBR Softball following this year’s competition.

15: Batters faced by Georgina Corrick in her five-inning (mercy rule), 60-pitch perfect game performance against Ireland at the Softball World Cup.

On to 2024

With 2023 in the rear view, focus and attention turns to 2024. Here are just some of the things to look forward to:

  • Coach Summit 2024 at the end of January at The 108 in Brent Cross.
  • The BUCS National Softball (16-17 March) and Baseball (23-24 March) University Championships at Farnham Park.
  • The 275th anniversary of the first recorded game of baseball in Walton on Thames (details TBA).
  • The 2024 London Series between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies on 8-9 June – and the growth of the Legacy Programme along with the games!
  • By virtue of their qualification in 2023, The Mix will play in the 2024 Women’s Premier Cup, while the London Mets will play in the 2024 Federation Cup.
  • The Senior European Women’s Championships in Utrecht in September, where GBR Women’s Softball will look to improve on their silver medal from 2022.
  • The U23 Great Britain Baseball Squad will make their debut on the world stage in China in September at the U23 Baseball World Cup!

From all of us at the British Baseball Federation, British Softball Federation, the Great Britain Baseball and Softball Programmes, and BaseballSoftballUK – we wish you a happy new year full of baseball and softball!