GB Slowpitch Softball held its annual open trials on weekends in January and February at the Royal Masonic School in Rickmansworth, and nine successful triallists have now been added to the national team pool.
The successful triallists will join the GB Slowpitch programme for 2022, which makes them eligible for selection to represent Great Britain in any domestic or international competitions held this year in which GB Slowpitch teams take part.
Male players in the GB Slowpitch pool will be able to compete for selection for the GB Men’s Slowpitch Team that will play at the European Men’s Slowpitch Championship from 14-18 June in Italy, and all players in the pool will be able to compete for selection to the GB Co-ed Slowpitch Team that will play in the European Co-ed Slowpitch Championship from 11-16 July in Slovenia and the GB Futures Team that will play in the Softball World Series at Farnham Park in September.
The goal at the European Co-ed Slowpitch Championship will not only be to bring home the gold medal for the 12th time in 13 attempts, but to ensure that GB qualifies for the first-ever WBSC Slowpitch World Cup for national teams, which is expected to be held in 2023. How many teams from Europe will qualify for the World Cup is still to be announced by the WBSC.
An important element in the selection process for all three events will be the annual GB Challenge Tournament on Saturday 9 April at Farnham Park, where all players in the GB Slowpitch pool will be divided into three teams and will play in a four-team tournament with an invited guest team while the coaches see how they perform in game situations.
The new players selected to the pool will also be on hand to support GB Slowpitch's annual fundraising tournament, the GB Open, which will take place on Sunday 10 April, also at Farnham Park. Information on how teams can enter the GB Open will be available shortly.
The Assessor Panel that oversaw the trials in January and February consisted of GB Slowpitch coaches and management staff as well as a number of current GB players who helped to facilitate drills and activities. Independent representatives from the softball community on the Panel were Luis Arrevillagas from BSUK and former GB Coach Stan Doney.
Following trials, the successful participants were notified of their inclusion in the GB Slowpitch pool. The successful triallists were:
A number of existing GB players that were also required to trial have been retained in the player pool.
GB Slowpitch Head Coach Stephen Patterson said, “New players entering the GB Slowpitch programme is key to the team’s success. Players may join the programme at different levels of ability, but GB coaching sessions are designed to tap into those abilities and maximise a players' potential. The opportunity for players to develop is crucial to ensuring that Team GB’s performances remain high in both the immediate and longer-term future.”
GB Slowpitch Team Operations Manager Kellie Whitaker said, “Once again, we would like to congratulate all the successful triallists. Along with the rest of the softball community, the GB Slowpitch programme is ready to take to the diamond and get back to international and domestic competition.”