Junior fastpitch tournament is a hit in Chichester

Sun 28 Aug 2016

The Chichester Falcons Softball Club hosted a fastpitch tournament for players aged 13-16 on Sunday 21 August, the first tournament of its kind in the city, at the Falcons’ home field in Oaklands Park.  Boys and girls came from around the UK to take part.

Visiting players mixed with a core from players from the Falcons’ youth fastpitch club to form three teams, which played each other in a round-robin format.  On hand to coach and umpire were BSUK Fastpitch Development Officer Johanna Malisani, Academy and High Performance Academy Head Coach Robbie Robison, GB Under-13 Girls’ Team Manager Julie Spittle, Lee and Sam Grafton from the GB Fastpitch League and the GB Men’s Team programme, Larry Rushin from Horsham Softball Club and Falcons’ Manager David Morris.

High level

After a group warm-up, play got under way and spectators were treated to a fine display of fastpitch softball from the budding ballplayers, who were guided and coached at every step through the game.  The pace was hot as the coaches encouraged frequent base stealing and aggressive infield play to challenge the players and keep up the competitive element. 

The players responded with great enthusiasm and their skills improved dramatically as the day progressed.

After a short break for lunch, Johanna Malisani led a clinic where the players improved their bunting and baserunning skills before the final game of the day began. 

Michelle Shaw and Rose Bhanji both pitched well through the day, while their battery partners, Bronte Harvey and Finley Macknay, worked hard behind the plate.  Oliver Howley and Bruce Candlish were also invited to pitch and both of them took up the opportunity with aplomb, notably Oliver Howley, who struck out two during his first inning on the rubber.

With the final standings established, all players were awarded a medal for their efforts, with Owen Randell and Bronte Harvey from Chichester picking up the male and female MVP trophies. 

Owen had a great day playing shortstop, executing numerous 6-3 plays and making catches with apparent ease, while Bronte earned her trophy for her strength and command as a catcher.

Strength to strength

The junior fastpitch programme at the Chichester Falcons is now in its third year, but has gained momentum this season with help from Robbie Robison, Johanna Malisani and other experienced coaches.  Some of the young Falcons’ players have played in the Great Britain Fastpitch League and attended Academy Softball sessions, and now this tournament has brought other members of the fastpitch community to Chichester.

A great deal of credit is due to David Morris and other Falcons who have nurtured this project and are now seeing their efforts bear fruit.

Photos by Jan Grafton

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Dana Mullen 21:18

It’s wonderful seeing the development of young fastpitch players in the U.K. Much credit goes to all of the organizations involved in that effort.
Dana Mullen
Rockledge, Fl.

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