Stadium finally ready for first pitch
Bermuda Amateur Softball Association (BASA) president Phillip Ray is anxious for new slow pitch league to start after maintenance repairs and the relaying of the infield took longer than expected.
The winter season was due to get underway on February 1 but because of the delays the first pitch will be thrown at the Mike Preece Stadium next week.
Ray said: “The winter season was supposed to start on February 1 but the pitch wasn't ready for use at the time. The Mike Preece Stadium was closed by the Department of Youth and Sport from December to February for maintenance.
“This year that maintenance took longer than was originally planned, as the infield was completely rebuilt.”
The Commercial League (CLS), whose winter session runs from February through to June, will include 15 teams while the Summer Softball League (SSL), which runs from July to October, will see a full complement of teams. Both leagues are slow pitch.
Ray added: “The Commercial Softball League has 15 co-ed teams that are split into two divisions. Many of those 15 teams will also play in the Summer Softball League.
“There is also a three team men's division and a three team ladies division in the 2011 CSL.
“Slow-pitch softball is a means to an end. It allows people who love the sport an opportunity and a facility to play.
“It also is the only avenue for baseball players who have graduated from the Little Leagues (YAO and BYSP) to continue to play the game in a basic form.
“Co-ed/corporate softball has been the saviour for softball in Bermuda.
“Without it I fear that we would have little demand for a stadium, and as such would lose a sport that means so much to the history of our island.”
“The level of competitiveness is high at the higher levels, and is built for fun at the lower levels. There is room for all.”
In the near future Ray hopes that fast pitch will be introduced to the masses, but for now is pleased that the younger generation is getting a chance to show their potential in the faster version of the game. He also wants to introduce the fast pitch game into local schools.
“Fast pitch softball is currently only played in a tournament format at the end of May by local high schools,” Ray said.
“It's the primary goal of BASA to have fast pitch softball played at all levels in Bermuda.
“It's something that we have been missing for far too long.
“Ultimately it's the hope of many that Bermuda recognises the importance of both baseball and softball to our community.
“It's also the hope of BASA to one day have a full school season for fast pitch softball for girls and hopefully baseball for boys.
“If the kids understand that scholarship opportunities exist for our youth in both sports, it will provide yet another chance for positive youth development in Bermuda.”