Selwyn Baseball Club member Archer Quinton ready to bat as the club prepares for the new season

Baseball develops motor skills

by Ann van Engelen

The Selwyn Baseball Club is recruiting team players of all ages to join the sport as the new season begins.

“We established the club three years ago when a couple of gentlemen wanted to have a men’s team in the Canterbury Baseball Association competition,” says club president Andrew Fleck.

“We have under 11s, 13, 16 and 19-year-old teams as well as a men’s team.

We generally play at the designated baseball park at Avonhead Park in Christchurch, or we share a pitch in Rolleston with the softball club.

“Our biggest challenge is getting a profile for baseball. Softball has been well-known in New Zealand since the 1930s when the American sailors brought the sport here. During the second world war, the soldiers continued to teach us how to play.

“We compete against other Christchurch teams and this year we hosted the under 19 nationals, which was very successful. People don’t realise there is an opportunity to get college scholarships and professional careers such as umpiring, coaching and scoring. The Tuatara team in Auckland is New Zealand’s professional baseball team, and I would love to see our youth aim for this team.

“Baseball helps develop fine motor skills in young children with catching and hitting the ball, fielding and running to the bases in the diamond. They can emulate their PlayStation or Xbox games, which are often baseball.

“When I saw what the Tuatara team were accomplishing, and having my own children, I moved from softball to baseball. We are at the beginning of the sport in New Zealand, and it is a great time to get children and teenagers involved and grow the sport.

“Our first club meet is Sunday, February 16. Check out the Selwyn Baseball Club Facebook page for more details.”