GB Slowpitch Select Team heads to Europe

Fri 5 Apr 2019

By Mike MacDowell

Friday 5 April -- With the new season almost here and the annual GB Challenge Tournament just over a week away, a GB Slowpitch Select Team is heading for Wielsbeke near Gent in Belgium this weekend to play a series of exhibition games against the Belgian and Dutch National Teams.

The Spring Slowpitch Classic ’19 is being staged to give match practice to European teams before the Co-Ed Slowpitch European Championship in Budapest in July.  This year will mark the first time since 2010 that the Belgians have entered the Championship and the Dutch will be making their debut, so exposure for their players to high-level international slowpitch will be welcome at this early stage of the season.

GB has a strong pedigree in European slowpitch, having won the European Championship ten of the 11 times the tournament has been played -- but the team could only manage a silver medal at the last Co-Ed Slowpitch European Championship in 2017.  So players in the squad are champing at the bit for a chance to represent their country at this year’s competition and try to bring home the gold medal.

Although this weekend’s games are purely for practice, play will be intense once the players hit the diamond, with everyone looking hard at each other in what will be a precursor to the full tournament later this summer.


Competitive practice

The GB Select Team competing this weekend is a mixture of experienced players and others new to the GB Slowpitch squad.

GB Assistant Coach David Lee, who will travel with the team as a pitcher, emphasised the importance of putting the winter’s practice into effect.

“It’s been a good set of indoor sessions over the winter,” David said, “and this is a great opportunity to get outside and execute the skills we’ve been honing.  With six games ahead, this weekend will give the players involved a chance for some highly competitive practice before the GB Challenge next weekend.”

GB is scheduled to play six co-ed games across the two days, and will join with the Belgians to play a men’s game against the Dutch on Saturday evening.
 

The players

The GB Select Team that will play in Belgium this weekend will consist of the following players:

Joe Grantham
Steve Hazard
David Lee
Mike MacDowell
Dan Patterson
Keegan Rhodes
Aaron Thomas

Jennifer Ball
Megan Beard
Katherine Golik
Kimberley Hendry
Claudine Snape
Crista Reed-Thomas

A report on each day’s action will be posted on the BSF website.

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