Hitting practice. Photo: Ola Bjerkevoll
Ola Bjerkevoll talks to Guildford boss about the recruitment drive for the new season.
Guildford Baseball and Softball Club have started preparations for the 2017 new baseball season, looking to expand and build on the promise they showed last year.
The senior men’s team finished just outside the playoff places in 2016, and General Manager Michael Burdett and the coaches are busy recruiting fresh talent.
Burdett has been overseeing the players’ basic pitching and hitting practice at winter pre-season training at the Sports Hall at Broadwater School in Farncombe.
Speaking exclusively to Sport In Surrey, Burdett said: “Baseball may be a summer sport but we need to get in shape and ready for the season before it starts in April so at this time of the year we spend a lot of our time pitching and hitting, much like cricketers do, at indoor nets”.
Alongside pre-season training for the regular players, Guildford are also holding a six-week long Beginners Baseball course for anyone who wants to try out the sport.
“We’ve just extended to a third team,” said Burdett, “so we will have the Guildford Goldcats, which will be a team aimed more at the younger players and the beginners.”
The new third team means Guildford will be one of a predicted five clubs that will this season have multiple clubs competing in the league.
The British Baseball Federation has four tiers to its league system. At the top is the National Baseball League (NBL), then there is the Triple-A, the Double-A, and the Single-A leagues. Last season Guildford had two teams in the Single-A division.
The first team, the Guildford Mavericks, will take the step up to the Double-A, with the new side looking to take a place in Single-A: “The Mavericks, which are our top team, have just moved up to Double-A, so that will be a bit more of a challenge for them, but we’re confident that they can do well. There’s enough good players in that team to succeed at that level,” Burdett explains.
The baseball season starts in April and with preparations well underway Guildford will ensure they are fully prepared across a number of fronts.