BSF Executive Meeting Report: 19 September 2019

Tue 24 Sep 2019

The BSF Executive held its latest conference call meeting on the evening of Thursday 19 September.  Below is a journalistic report on the main discussions and decisions.


Present:  Jenny Fromer (President), Liz Graham (Competitions Officer), Bob Fromer (Administrator), Mike Jennings (General Officer), Chris Moon (BASU Representative).

Apologies:  Laura Burkhardt (Treasurer), Alexis Markham-Hill (National Teams Officer), Steve Getraer (General Officer).

National Softball League

Various suggestions have been put forward over the past few months for changes to NSL play in 2020.  The main ones are:

  1. When over-the-fence home runs are hit, the batter will only run to and touch first base, then return to the dugout; any baserunners will simply return to the dugout.
  2. All at-bats should start with a 1:1 count, and there should also be a “pitch to waste”, meaning that a foul ball on the third strike will not be an out (a subsequent foul ball would be).
  3. There should be a home run limit in NSL play.  The suggestion put forward is that the limit should be five over-the-fence home runs per game and apply to NSL 1 only.

Although the first suggestion above seems uncontroversial as a way to speed up games, the other two have generated a good deal of discussion, so the BSF will shortly write to all NSL1 and NSL2 teams inviting thoughts on all three suggestions, plus ideas for any other elements of NSL play that the BSF might consider.

This will not be a poll, simply a request for opinions, and the BSF would like NSL captains to consult their players before replying so that the opinions expressed represent a consensus.  The BSF will reserve the right to make a final decision on these and any other suggestions put forward and will not simply enact the will of the majority -- but decisions will of course be informed by the responses received.

With regard to speeding up play, the BSF collected statistics on the number of innings completed in each timed game at the NSL1 and NSL2 Nationals on 31 August-1 September and will take this information into account when deciding on any changes to NSL league and Nationals play.

Meanwhile, the BSF has decided that NSL3 in 2020 will again consist of a National Championship tournament to be played on the same date as the NSL1 and NSL2 Nationals, with places available for the two teams demoted from NSL2 by virtue of league results, leaving six places for other teams.

Although the BSF would like to move eventually to NSL3 league play, it will wait for demand from enough teams prepared to commit to a three-tournament league schedule.

Website redevelopment

The project to re-develop the look and some of the functionality of the BSF website has moved slowly during 2019, but is still progressing, mainly through BaseballSoftballUK’s Head of Operations Tim Stride, who is developing options for the BSF to consider.

The aim is to have changes in place for the start of the 2020 season.

The BSF plans to keep the league management functionality current available on the website, but to make it more user-friendly and then to encourage more leagues to use it, at least for registration purposes.

Leagues that currently use the system on the BSF website for their league results and standings are the Cardiff Softball League, East Midlands Softball League, Greater London Softball Mixed League, London Indoor Softball League, Publishers Softball League and the Solent Softball League.

BSF grants

The Executive approved grants of £250 each to GB Women’s Team Head Coach Rachael Watkeys and Assistant Coach Liz Knight to help them attend the third annual European Softball Coaches Association (ESCA) Camp in October in the Netherlands as “Shadow Coaches”.

These are not BSF Development Grants; instead, the money is coming from a budget line that the BSF has set aside for upskilling fastpitch and slowpitch national team coaches.

The BSF will consider requests for help from other coaches who wish to attend the ESCA Camp via; players who wish to attend the ESCA camp but can’t afford to meet the full cost can apply for help to the GB Management Committee (

BSF tournaments

The consensus seems to be that the NSL Nationals went very well this year, as did the web-streaming of four games including the NSL1 and NSL2 finals.

The major improvement in web-streaming at the NSL Nationals compared to the League Nationals was that all three cameras were manned, two of them by volunteers, which meant that more meaningful shots were available to select from, whereas two of the cameras at the League Nationals had been static.  The BSF will want to ensure that this approach and standard is maintained in live-stream broadcasts next year.

International issues

At the behest of the World BaseballSoftball Confederation (WBSC), the European Softball Federation has abolished Page Playoffs in its tournaments, replacing them in most cases with the final four teams in a competition simply playing bronze medal and gold medal games.

The BSF has twice submitted motions to the ESF Congress calling for a return to the Page Playoff system (used here in the NSL1 Nationals) for at least some tournaments, but this has been opposed by the ESF Board and thus voted down.

Regret at the loss of the Page Playoff system was expressed by a number of teams at the European Slowpitch Championship this past summer, and the BSF is thinking of canvassing leading slowpitch countries to see if they would support a motion to the ESF Congress to restore Page Playoffs for slowpitch competitions only.

Meanwhile, Mike Jennings reported to the meeting that the WBSC still expects to stage the first-ever Slowpitch World Cup for national teams late next year, almost certainly in Clearwater, Florida, but that no concrete action to make this happen has yet taken place.  Mike will see key WBSC personnel at an upcoming meeting in Shanghai and should be able to gain more information.

It’s clear, however, that all of the costs (travel, accommodation, food, internal transport) will need to be borne by the teams, and the hope is that this will not discourage countries such as Australia and New Zealand, which have expressed interest in the tournament, from attending.


BASU Representative Chris Moon told the meeting that the World Baseball Softball Confederation has just issued a very useful re-formatted Slowpitch Casebook with a very wide range of situations, plays and decisions.

The Casebook can be found here:

Next meeting

The next BSF Executive conference call will be held on the evening of Thursday 17 October, and the Executive’s annual weekend face-to-face meeting will be held on 2-3 November.

Anyone with items to raise at either of these meetings should send them to:

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