University baseball and softball blossoms as the weather turns

Fri 17 Nov 2017

While the rest of the baseball and softball community either goes into hibernation or shifts indoors during the autumn, university baseball and softball has been getting its 2017-18 season underway.

Now with 32 clubs and close to 1000 students, the university playing community has exploded in recent years with a mix of talented beginners, veteran international students and experienced domestic players, meaning that the best university clubs easily keep pace with Triple-A baseball and B-grade softball teams.

Overseen by British University Baseball & Softball (BUBS) and in partnership with BSUK, university clubs have access to a variety of avenues for competition that run from October to April.
 

BSUK National University Championships (NUBC/NUSC)

Every October and March, BSUK hosts university teams at Farnham Park for the biannual National University Championships, which began in 2013.  These Championships serve as both the curtain raiser and climax of the university baseball and softball seasons.

You can read reports on the latest National University Baseball Championship here and the latest National University Softball Championship here.  Both were held during October.


Photo by Gabriel Fidler of www.Extra innings.co.uk.
 

British University Baseball League

Having now been rebranded, and entering its second season, the BUBS British University Baseball League (BUBL) has expanded from a 16-team, three-division league to a 21-team, four-division set-up this year.

With a large increase in participating teams, the competition now takes place in Northern, Midlands, South West and South East regional divisions.

Each team is scheduled to play every other team in its division twice in a league that runs from the middle of October to the end of March.

There is a strong developmental attitude in the league, and Durham, Loughborough, Nottingham and Queen Mary University have all entered their second teams in what remains a free-at-point-of-entry competition.

The reigning division champions are the Durham Tigers (North), Loughborough Ones (Midlands) and UCL Capitals (South).  Plans for the 2018-19 season are already being discussed, with Welsh and Scottish divisions among the proposals.

Results and league tables are hosted on BSUK’s Hit the Pitch website

British University Softball League

New for this year, and formed in partnership with BUBS and BSUK, the British University Softball League is now the umbrella entity for regional university softball leagues all over the UK, including the South East University Softball League, the Midlands University Softball League and the London University Softball League, which this year is being run in conjunction with BUCS’s London Universities Sports Leagues.

With other divisions on offer in Wales (WUSL) and the North, the aim of the BUSL is to provide clubs up and down the country with regular competitive games in the lead-up to BSUK National University Softball Championships.

As with the BUBL, results and league tables for each BUSL division are posted on the Hit the Pitch website.

Tournaments

Currently, there is only have one major baseball tournament on the university calendar, called the M1 Series Tournament (M1ST), which is managed by and held at Loughborough University every February.

On the softball side, the University of Nottingham runs its annual East Midlands Invitational Competition (EMIC) in late February as well as various one-day tournaments held across the UK on an informal basis.


All-Star Weekend

Every year in May, BUBS hosts an All-Star weekend at Farnham Park, which last year featured the third edition of the All-Star Baseball Game and an inaugural Women’s Baseball Game.

In 2018, this weekend will be even bigger as university slowpitch softball receives its own All-Star Game.  Open to all students, regardless of institution, this event aims to celebrate the growth of BUBS in universities and will provide a fitting encore to another great season.

 

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