With the new seasons approaching rapidly, the Belfast Baseball and Softball Club have welcomed some new faces to the fold.
Joining the organisation, and causing a renaming in the process, are the Razorbacks American football team based out of Newforge. The Razorbacks, formed in 2015, are about to enter their inaugural season in Division 2 of the Irish American Football League where they will be matched up against the Donegal/Derry Vipers, the North Dublin Pirates, the Wexford Eagles and the Galway Warriors – an unenviable travel schedule indeed. Not fazed by the impending road miles however, the ‘Backs are ready to hit the road on the 10th April to try and kickstart their season against the Vipers before coming back home to Newforge on the 15th May when they host the Eagles.
Before the new boys get going though, the Belfast Angels started off the season for the newly rebranded Belfast American Sports Association by taking part in the traditional Softball Ulster start of season blitz tournament at that same Newforge. Finishing a very credible fourth in the end of season tilt last autumn, Jay Slevin and Jonny Craven’s team will have been hoping to start strong in 2016 where a strong title challenge is not at all out of reach. On a chilly Sunday at Newforge, the Angels’ two qualifying games were split, defeating the reigning Softball Ulster champions, the Sliders, 11-5 but falling 11-7 to travelling tournament team the Sauce Monsters. The team spirit was lifted by solid outings from rookies Amy Simpson and Vicky Thompson, as well as former Aviator Chris Stange. Hopes will be high for this summer.
Not to be forgotten or outdone however, the Belfast Northstars baseball team will have to wait another week before starting their 2016 campaign as they take to the road themselves on the 17th April to take on the Dublin Black Sox and the Greystones Mariners; two teams that because of the newly integrated interleague structure, the Stars haven’t seen between the lines for a while.
Drafting in players from the temporarily out of action Belfast Hornets, the Stars have a strong batting order and a formidable pitching staff, anchored by Melvin Woods and Mark Smith. With Steven Rogan and Sean McMahon also jockeying for time on the mound as well as rookies Randy Cornwell, Gordon Lafferty and Michael McConville all working their way into the lineup, Sean Shackley should have a deep squad moving through the season.
For more details about the BASA, check out our new website www.belfastbaseball.co.uk or follow the Angels, Northstars and Razorbacks on social media.
#GoHalos #GoStars #GoHogs