Softball juniors give sport a bright future

Ally Warr of Chichester Falcons
Ally Warr of Chichester Falcons

Chichester Falcons Softball Club’s juniors fast-pitch section have completed their ten-week summer programme as they prepare for their inaugural tournament day later in August.

Coached by David Morris, Nick Harris, Vicki Cathie and Clive Janes from the senior Falcoms team, a total of 26 kids aged 11 to 16 completed the roster.

The team were grateful for two visits from Robbie Robison, who brought his expertise and experience to focus on mechanics and fundamentals.

Two players from the team competed in the GB Fastpitch League at Farnham Park, while two Falcons girls made their first appearances at a GB academy softball session.

Falcons coach Morris said: “Having Robbie along was a massive boost for us. He knows how to get the best out of an athlete and his drills and workouts challenged the players in a way that brought out their character and ability.

“The players and coaches have learned from his visits and we look forward to working with Robbie again soon.”

Elsewhere, Falcons staff have been working with Aaron Hancock from Midhurst Rother College and Laurie Robertson from Chichester High School for Girls, both of whom organised softball sessions for pupils run by the Falcons.

This directly resulted in further additions to the juniors team as more and more kids find out about the game.

Morris continued: “Thanks to the enthusiasm and cooperation of Aaron and Laurie, 70-plus school kids have had a chance to play softball with us and find that this is no longer a niche sport.

“We hope to return next year, and hopefully welcome other Chichester secondary schools on board with us too.”

The juniors can now look forward to further softball clinics through the summer holidays, and the first co-ed Chichester Junior Fastpitch Tournament on Sunday, August 21.

The entry system is geared towards inclusion – any 13-16 year-old ball-player who wants to join in can play at the tournament, regardless of whether their regular team has enough players, or even if they don’t have a team.

Players enrol individually before being rostered into a tournament team for the day. Enrolment is via www.facebook.com/events/953382644783515

Chichester Falcons shot down Southampton Spitfires in a pacy encounter at Oaklands Park.

The Falcons were shaky fielding in the first, with two overthrows eluding first baseman Lucy Morris, but pitcher Jason Mercer settled things down with a strikeout and a tidy play to limit the Spitfires to a single run.

Mercer wasted no time responding at bat with a lead-off walk, while Milko Giuffrida singled to left field ready for David Morris to send him home with a two-out triple, putting the Falcons 2-1 ahead.

The Spitfires were shut out in the second thanks to a spectacular catch by Ally Warr deep in centre field, followed by pinpoint glove work from Vicki Cathie at second base.

The Falcons continued the offensive onslaught with Bartolo Garofalo reaching second base with his first bat for the Falcons.

Louise Rowe slogged her first double of the season out to right field, and Carrie Suhr knocked over the Spitfires’ shortstop’s head to bring them both in to score.

The Falcons were running away with the game by the fourth innings as Clive Janes continued to show consistency, hitting two for two on the day as Bronte Harvey continued to improve, drawing a walk ready for Stefan Panayotopoulos to drill his trademark line drive out to centre right.

The Falcons continued to bat right through the order in the fifth to end the game early with the score at 27-5. The final score was reverted to 20-5 on a mercy ruling.

Anyone who wants to try softball and join the Falcons can email chichesterfalcons@gmail.com or visit www.chichesterfalcons.com

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