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Baseball team to be launched in Weston-super-Mare – could you play?

PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:06 04 October 2017

The South West Baseball League will soon include Weston. Picture:Neale Raleigh

The South West Baseball League will soon include Weston. Picture:Neale Raleigh

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It may be deemed a sport just to be enjoyed across the pond but now Weston is set to have a baseball league, and the brains behind the project has his son to thank for getting him into it.

Taunton take on Bristol in a match in a South West baseball match. Picture: Neale Raleigh Taunton take on Bristol in a match in a South West baseball match. Picture: Neale Raleigh

Neale Raleigh, aged 56, has created clubs across the South West and is now hoping Weston Tropics will be able to compete in the South West Baseball League against teams from Bristol, Plymouth and Taunton.

The basic rules of baseball are that there are two teams: the batting (offensive) team and the fielding (defensive) team. A team consists of nine players and the offensive or batting team try to score as many runs as possible. Both teams field and bat over nine innings.

Raleigh told the Mercury he felt Weston was the perfect place to introduce the sport and wants to get the word out there that anyone can join.

He said: “In six years, the South West has gone from having no baseball teams to having eight, so it is great to see it growing.

“Weston was the perfect place as they can play against teams close to them.

“We have a very good retention rate and people seem to really get into it. I want to get the message out there that people can join no matter their experience.

“Many of the people who we have start have never played before. We also want people to know we welcome men, women and those who are less able-bodied.”

To join the Tropics you must be aged 18 or over.

Indoor training sessions will run weekly from Friday at Weston Football Club, in Winterstoke Road, from 7.30-9pm.

These are priced at £4 per 90 minute session.

With baseball not yet a huge sport in the UK, Raleigh told the Mercury he swapped cricket for baseball around 16 years ago when his son showed a sudden interest.

He said: “I was trying to get my son into cricket but he was insisting on playing baseball. So, I gave in and started a team for children and then moved onto the adults team.

“I am really excited about this and hopefully we will get a lot more people – I have already had some good interest which is great.”

Players will be trained in the skills and knowledge of the game and all equipment will be supplied.

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