A total of 60 primary school learners and 80 high school learners from all corners of the province attended a first of its kind baseball clinic at the Clive Solomon Stadium in Heidedal, Bloemfontein this past weekend.
The clinic was hosted by the newly formed Free State Baseball Union (FSBU). According to Donavan Pieterse, Head of PR and Marketing of the FSBU, the clinic was concluded with three of their coaches finishing their South African Baseball Union (SABU) Level A Course. All three have obtained their Level A Certificate.
“Baseball has found a new home in the Free State and we are asking that various stakeholders, including sponsors, come on board to uplift the sport as well as the young people in our communities,” said Pieterse.
Chad Gravenorst, Level A Course Coordinator, who conducted the clinic, said the weekend’s proceedings exceeded all expectations.
“There is definitely talent in the Free State and despite the lack of exposure to the game, the players were very keen to learn. The enthusiasm of the players and the smiles on their faces were so refreshing to see in a very difficult time for sports development around the world.
“There is still much work to be done in a difficult environment but it was an extremely positive event that we hope will be the catalyst to build a thriving baseball community in the future,” said Gravenorst.
He added that although the coaches and administrators in the Free State are quite keen, they are very new to the game and they need all the help they can get.
“We need to be patient. It’s going to be very challenging at the beginning as with anything new and meaningful but there’s no reason why this region won’t be successful in the long run. There is an existing softball community in the region that has shown that anything is possible and baseball can most certainly learn from this and follow suit.
“What the Free State has is a blank canvas which presents a wonderful opportunity to build an amazing baseball culture the right way from the start, both on and off the field. Transformation and development is a priority for baseball in this country and the Free State can go a long way to boosting the profile of the sport,” concluded Gravenorst.