WHEN EP baseball chairman Mike Moore placed an advert to invite juniors to attend playing sessions at Londt Park, he was overwhelmed with the response.
The attendance, in excess of 100 children, was so good the EP Baseball Union are planning to send teams to the inter-regional tournament in Cape Town later this month and in April for the first time in more than 20 years.
“We have adopted EP rugby’s slogan except we say ‘EP baseball on the rise’,” said Moore, “because that is what has been happening.”
Although they catered for 100 children at the initial session, Moore said they had been expecting far fewer, but the enthusiasm of the participants has seen them hold sessions every Saturday morning at Londt Park.
This has allowed EP to plan to send under-12 and u-14 teams to the inter-regional event, as well as a side to the senior tournament.
The union’s most recent initiative was to arrange for former SA pitcher Darryn Smith, now a talent scout with American team Philadelphia Phillies, to attend a four-day clinic held last week. Smith gave instruction to juniors and seniors during the course of his clinic.
“We were extremely luck to have the Paxton Hotel step in to assist us with Darryn’s accommodation,” Moore said. “[For] the inter-regional tournament in Cape Town we needed to get our kids up to scratch.”
Moore said their initiative to revive baseball in the region began in September when they placed a media advertisement.
“We had this vision of starting junior baseball because it was dead,” Moore, a former EP player and SA selector, said. “We kicked off at Londt Park with about 125 kids – it was a shock to the system. We had arranged T-shirts for 100 kids and that was really tongue in cheek because we expected about 30.”
Moore said the children came from all sections of the community, with the officials fetching more than 50 children from the townships each week to join the coaching clinics.