We’re so grateful to have received support from everyone in 2019, and in particular I’d like to thank some of our funders. 

Recently, we received a Magic Little Grant through the partnership between Localgiving and the Postcode Community Trust. The Postcode Community Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.
Localgiving is the UK’s leading membership and support network for local charities and community groups. RBI Wales received £500 to help with facilities hire. 

Indeed, we couldn’t have gotten to London without this assistance, so the PLAY BALL event we brought children to in 2019 would not have happened without this support. 

I encourage everyone to play the postcode lottery – it has made a significant impact to our year!

.Magic Little Grants

 

Wow!

We can’t believe that we’re in 2020 already! girlinsportday_pitched

Last year was so amazing that I can’t wait to see what this year brings! 

 

 

What did we do? 

We added several schools to the programme

We started the year with Ysgol Plasmawr, Bishop of Llandaff and St Cyres School. During the last terms of that school year, we added sessions at St Cenydd, Stanwell School, Howell’s School, Mary Immaculate School and Cantonian High School

We even had a match!

We re-branded

We started off the year as South Wales Youth Baseball & Softball, but in preparing for our MLB/RBI affiliation, we re-branded to RBI Wales! It’s a lot easier to say! It’s a lot easier to search for! It’s shinier!

We affiliated with MLB RBI

We are so pleased to be affiliated. This has really raised the profile of our organisation, and helped us to build a bigger network, not to mention other, information resources! We look forward to more collaborative events in 2020 – namely PLAY BALL!

We added community groups

Image

That’s right, we’re not just in schools any more! We now work with Grangetown Baptist Church Youth Group, and a Boys and Girls Club in Pyle! We hope to add more Boys and Girls clubs to the mix this year.

We delivered more sessions

In June, we ran a station at Howell’s School’s sports day, which was followed by their addition into the after school programme!

In July, we visited Woodlands High School and participated in their sport day. It was such fun!

In December, we had a stall at a Community Well-being event.

Also in December, we were extremely pleased to be involved in the Girls Together event run by Sport Cardiff.

We sent two girls to MLB Cadet Camp

In May, we sent two of our Under 18 players from Plasmawr school to a Cadet Camp 

2019 MLB Cadet Camp Highlights

MLB Cadet Camp is taking place at Farnham Park – Baseball and Softball venue this week – Here are some of the highlights so far!

Gepostet von BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK) am Donnerstag, 30. Mai 2019

We went to PLAY BALL

This was an amazing, adventurous day.

We made new sport friends

In July, we participated in a cross-sport event. It was fun to experience Welsh Baseball, and we hope they enjoyed our version of the game, too!

We ran three nights of sessions weekly during the summer

During the summer, we ran sessions for different age divisions – the start of the way forward!

OKAY 2020, BEAT THAT!

 

We have been training for several months. The kids, if I had to guess, are wondering

When are we going to get to play another team??

Well, we want the same thing! The issue is with the availability of other teams to play. This is a sport that is growing, and one of the growing pains is lack of easily-accessible competition.

So, when one of our players’ mums found a baseball game across town, I was delighted.

It would be a chance to network. It would be a chance to play. So we got ourselves together (those of us who weren’t on holiday) and over to St Albans rugby club for a day of ball on Saturday.

We were told to be there at 12 noon, and I didn’t get there until a quarter past because the park is not really that easy to find first time by car. When I got there, I thought the other players were very transparent – or at least not there yet.

We finally met some of the players – who were very friendly – and eventually went to the far end of the rugby club where Welsh baseball diamonds were marked out. I was hoping that, after playing their game, they’d play against us in our game.

Now, despite the beginners’ complaints about how uncomfortable the glove is, they now don’t like playing without one. I KNOW, ME TOO! The St Albans players were very welcoming and allowed the kids to play with their gloves. We decided to make a mash-up amongst the group, as quite a lot of our players were taller than their kids.

It took me a few minutes to not want to rip all my hair out at some of the rules, for example…

You can run without hitting the ball…?!?!?!?!

You can hit the ball in any direction…?!?!?!?!

I did manage to chill out, and kind of learned to keep score. It was interesting AND frustrating. There was a lot of hitting and running, so that’s a good day out. (?)

It was funny to shout to our kids to run when they’d swung and missed, when that is something I’ve been trying to get new players to *STOP* doing!

After everyone was all out, it was on to the adult game, so we went off to the side and decided to have our version of baseball with all the kids. We split up and tried to get the St Albans kids informed quickly, but with so many kids, sometimes it’s a case of learning while you play.

There was one little boy who did NOT like walking – he wanted to hit!,I found this to be a funny contrast to the swing-and-miss-but-still-run aspect of Welsh baseball.

There was also a bit of short-attention-span going on, as, after the first inning, there was severe attrition, with kids going off to see what else was going on. We were losing them! What to do?

Get out the batting machine!

Everyone loves the batting machine! It did seem to go down well, and we also gave out some Play Ball bat and ball sets, so hopefully the kids enjoyed it.

The thing I gained from this day is an understanding of why some of the new players to our sport do some of the things they do – like running when they haven’t hit the ball, or running when they’ve hit it foul, or running completely around bases without touching them.

It would be good to have more days like this, to build bridges across the sports. We can truly benefit from each other – and grow the sports.

And next time – I want to try to hit a Welsh baseball pitch!

In the last post, we identified the differences between the British/Welsh version and the North American version of baseball.

 

“But holls!!” you say. “What about rounders?!”

Okay, okay! I’m getting there! Sheesh. Below, for your convenience, is a list of differences between Rounders and North American baseball/softball. Again, colour coded for your convenience. NOTE IT!!! If you want.

Delivery of the ball – The ball is thrown underarm, similar to softball. As in cricket the delivery is known as bowling. In North American baseball it is delivered overhand, sidearm, or underarm (softball) and is called pitching.

Field dimensions / layout – In Rounders, the last base is not where the batter originally started, but nearby. In North American baseball / softball, the last base (“home plate”) is where the batter starts.

Rounders field Baseball / softball diamond

Ball size – for rounders, circumference between 7.1 in and 7.9 in.  Under the current rules, a major league baseball weighs between 5 and 5 14 ounces, and is 9 to 9 14inches in circumference. A softball is 11 or 12 inches in circumference depending on gender and league.

Number of players – both allow 9 players on the field; in coed (both men and women on a team) 10 players may be on the field.

Number of innings – (Note that British/Welsh baseball uses the cricket terminology of “innings” as both singular and plural, while baseball uses “inning” for the singular.) In British/Welsh baseball, each team has two innings. An innings ends when all 9 players are either dismissed or stranded on base. A regulation game of North American baseball consists of nine innings, and each team’s half of an inning ends when three outs (dismissals) are recorded.

Number of pitches – In the Rounders England version of the game, misses or strikes are not called, so there are no walks or strike-outs; each batter receives only one good ball and must run whether they hit it or not. In North American baseball and softball, the pitcher must throw three “strikes” (a good pitch that is either not swung at or swung at and missed) to get the batter out. If four “balls” (a bad pitch that is not swung at) are thrown, the batter gets to go to first base, called a “walk”.

Posts/Bases – Where North American baseball has bases, Roundsers uses posts for marking the bases, which should be wooden, and are preferably encased in plastic sheaths.

Bat – the rounders bat is much shorter (18″ in length and 6.7″ in diameter) max 13 oz and is usually swung one-handed. North American baseball/softball varies greatly in weight and length, but is normally heavier and longer.

Gloves – rounders does not allow gloves and North American baseball / softball requires them.

Scoring system – If the batter hits the ball or is bowled a no ball and then reaches the fourth post, a rounder is scored. If the batter fails to hit the ball and reaches the fourth post, a half-rounder is scored. In North American baseball, a player scores a run only on a successful circuit of all four bases, whether on his own or another player’s hit, or by other means such as a walk or stolen base. 

Field of play – As in cricket, a ball can be legally hit in any direction, where in North American baseball it has to be hit in the zone bounded by the lines to first base and third base.

So there we have it. It seems like Rounders might be a closer match to North American baseball & softball, but the small bat size would be frustrating for those of us used to swinging a very large barrell.

After our day at St Albans, I found myself needing to be completely savvy with all the differences between what they play and what we play. I think I’m shamelessly past the point where I am allowed to say “Good question, I’ll look that up.”

And so! I now give you a quick guide to the differences between the British Welsh version and the North American version of the game. Note the handy colour-coding of the sports, which correspond with the differences below. NOTE THEM!!! If you like.

Delivery of the ball – The ball is thrown underarm, similar to softball. As in cricket the delivery is known as bowling. In North American baseball it is delivered overhand (baseball), sidearm (baseball), or underarm (softball) and is called pitching. There is no run-up during the the bowl like there is in the British/Welsh version.

Field dimensions / layout – the last base in British/Welsh baseball is not where the batter originally started, but nearby. In North American baseball / softball, the last base (“home plate”) is where the batter starts.

British / Welsh Baseball field North American Baseball field

Ball size – for British/Welsh, circumference between 8.5 in and 9 in, weight between 4.5 and 5 oz.  Under the current rules, a major league baseball weighs between 5 and 5 14 ounces, and is 9 to 9 14inches in circumference. A softball is 11 or 12 inches in circumference depending on gender and league.

Number of players – There are 11 players in a British/Welsh team with no substitutions allowed. North American baseball uses 9 players on a team (not counting a “designated hitter“); while substitutions are allowed, a player who leaves the game may not re-enter it. In coed (men and women) games, there are 10 players.

Number of innings – (Note that British/Welsh baseball uses the cricket terminology of “innings” as both singular and plural, while baseball uses “inning” for the singular.) In British/Welsh baseball, each team has two innings. An innings ends when all 11 players are either dismissed or stranded on base. A regulation game of North American baseball consists of nine innings, and each team’s half of an inning ends when three outs (dismissals) are recorded.

Number of pitches – According to the Welsh Baseball Union, two “good balls” not swung at is an out and on the swing, the batter must run whether they hit it or not. In North American baseball and softball, the pitcher must throw three “strikes” (a good pitch that is either not swung at or swung at and missed) to get the batter out. If four “balls” (a bad pitch that is not swung at) are thrown, the batter gets to go to first base, called a “walk”.

Posts/Bases – Where North American baseball has bases the British/Welsh version has ‘posts’ (sometimes referred to as bases). These are designated by poles rather than bags.

Bat – the British/Welsh baseball bat has a flat striking surface, where in North American baseball/softball it is entirely round.

Gloves – British/Welsh baseball does not allow gloves and North American baseball / softball requires them.

Scoring system – In British/Welsh baseball a player scores a run for every base he/she reaches after hitting the ball. He or she will not subsequently score when moving around the bases on another player’s hit. The equivalent of a home run scores four runs. As in cricket a bonus run can be awarded for excessively-wide deliveries. In North American baseball, a player scores a run only on a successful circuit of all four bases, whether on his own or another player’s hit, or by other means such as a walk or stolen base.

Field of play – The British/Welsh game has no foul area, a ball can be legally hit (and scored off of) in any direction, where in North American baseball it has to be hit in the zone bounded by the lines to first base and third base.

AND NOW WE KNOW!

Additionally, something I found a little frustrating in the British/Welsh version is that the batter has to have their front foot (the one closest to the bowler) near a peg. That seems to me to be a recipe for injury.

It’s one of the differences between baseball and softball…and it’s a big one.

Unlike in baseball, where the basic pitch is a bigger version of an overhand throw, the fastpitch pitch is unique.

For a starting point, I’ve come across three fairly good references.

First – a great video on how to get started…

This video is also quite informative…

And now, one from one of the best pitchers the sport has seen…

And now, if you want to have a session which just focuses on the above, let me know.

Coach holls

 

 

 

The day finally came for the trip from Cardiff to London for the PLAY BALL event. Coach holly had slept the night before as well as any kid waiting for Christmas does.

The players gathered in the parking lot in anticipation of the bus’ arrival at 7:30. At 7:35, Coach holly started to worry about the lack of bus arrival. At 7:45, Plan B was put in motion. Finally, just after 8am, Ferris Holidays said they could send a coach for 9:20. By 9:40, the trip was underway, and Coach holly had exactly one nerve left. 

After a pickup in Newport, there were 22 kids on the way to London, with 5 volunteers making sure no one was left behind.

The bus arrived at London Stadium at 1:35, and the kids were quickly swept into the PLAY BALL park, and sent to different stations set up for various skill sets. The kids rotated through hitting stations, agility stations, throwing stations, and a game station. The hitting station was by far the most popular, and an immediate contest of “how many balls can we hit on the roof of the bleachers?” kicked off.

Finally, after they’d been around all the stations, the kids were gathered for a photo. After the trouble in getting to London, the PLAY BALL organisers graciously allowed the kids to stay for more. Well, 22 kids is enough for a game, so…

the Wales kids played a game on London Stadium grounds the week of the first London series!

After a full set of hitting by both teams, the bus came back, and the players made their way to the bus, each with a new shirt and a bracelet. But there was more – boxes of bats and balls were waiting for them on the way to the bus!

The journey home was much more on schedule than the morning’s trip.

The new goal, proposed by the kids, is that next year we enter a team on the tournament day. That’s a pretty good aspiration.

Coach holly’s goal is that next year’s bus shows up on time.

UPDATE: you can read what MLB.com wrote here. Yes! We’ve been mentioned on MLB.com!

We are really pleased about the growth of the program this year. We started last year with three kids in a park! In the fall, we had three schools with clubs:

  • Bishop of Llandaff Church in Wales High School
  • Ysgol Plasmawr
  • St Cyres School

This term, we’ve added clubs to the following schools:

  • Ysgol Stanwell School
  • St Cenydd Community School
  • Howell’s School
  • Mary Immaculate High School
  • Cantonian High School

That’s not too shabby for a program that aspires to have a budget! If anyone out there is a secret philanthropist, please do get in touch about helping us grow the program much MUCH BIGGER!

It’s official, we are off to the Play Ball event in London on Monday! We still have a few spaces left on the coach if there are children whose parents are able to return a signed MLB waiver by email before Monday. Additionally, a generic letter regarding the child’s absence is here.

Thanks to all who have responded – this should be an exciting day for the kids!

So far, we’ve achieved a lot on relatively little, athough we’re very thankful to our grant awarders Sport Wales! 

We are now going to kick it up to the next level, with some local fundraising! Localgiving has given us a platform to reach out for more everyday people sponsors.

We hope everyone out there likes what we’re doing enough to give a few quid…for the kids!

We have a general fundraising page:

and an

appeal,

for the upcoming trip to London:

We are really grateful for all the donations! Keep checking the site for updates as to how we’re doing!