Day: 25 November 2015

Softball Ulster – 2015 Year in Review

2015 has been a successful year for Softball Ulster!

 SU League 2015

  • In 2015 we had seven teams competing in the league including the Angels in their first season of softball – with Sliders winning their third title in their first unbeaten season. We had 128 registered players a cross the seven teams – let’s continue to do our best to grow our sport. Any suggestions on how to do this are welcome.
  • The new league fixture structure in 2015 meant that league positions were not decided until almost the final games of the season which made the league more interesting for everyone! There were a number of upsets and generally a higher level of softball all around.
  • In the end, the league finished with the Sliders on top, Brawlers second, Cubs third, the new Angels entered the league in fourth spot, The Buccs climbed up to Fifth in their second season, The Aces avoided the wooden spoon in sixth and the Aviators finished in seventh after failing to capitalise on a promising start to the season.
  • SU hosted the Softball Ireland National Club Championships for the first time in our history in 2015. The Sliders represented Ulster and took on TNT of Dublin. They couldn’t quite win th e 2015 championship, even with home advantage… but one of these days an Ulster team will take home that silverware!
  • The Sliders also made a clean sweep of the MVP awards with Daniel Taylor, William Mitchell and Suze Kennedy all victorious and Maarten Blanken winning the Umpire of the year award. The MVP voting system was changed this year and seemed to be a success and we will continue to consider the decision making process in 2016.

Tournaments

There were a number of successful tournaments held in Ulster in 2015.

  •  SU SOS saw entries from the Homers, Sons of Pitches and the Irish National Fastpitch team as well as lots of interest from the Ulster league.  It was great to see interest from teams from further away and would be fantastic to see this continue – we will continue to work with SI and SL to encourage participation. SOPs ran out the winners of this one.
  • The Carrie Trundle Cup saw a mediocre fancy dress effort but was a great day of softball with BSC taking the honours. Our proposed competitions president (John Mitchell) already has some ideas about re-vamping this tournament in 2016.
  • The End of Season tournament was another success and saw the Cubs defeat a fast improving Aces side in the final and also saw SU host SINCC for the first time.
  • The two club-run tournaments were very popular and well run – congrats to the Cubs and the Buccs for organising The Teddy bear’s picnic (won by the Buccin’ Sliders) and Buccfest (won by BSC).
  • It was also great to see Ulster representation at most of the SL/SI tournaments this year. BSC attended The SOS/Brian Walshe blitz, Cas tleknock Niall Mellon blitz, Renegades 4 July blitz, EOS/Thunderbolts blitz and IOST, as well as both indoor tournaments, while the Cubs made an appearance at the Suspects pink blitz. Other SU members (mainly from the Sliders and Cubs) also went down as solo players or joined other teams in order to take part in blitzes. This was great to see and SU feel that it should be encouraged – and so in 2016 IOST weekend will be left completely clear of league games in Ulster. IOST is the most prestigious tournament in the SI calendar and we feel that everyone should have the opportunity to attend.

International representation

SU had its largest ever representation on an international level as Marian Neill, Shawna Walsh and Suze Kennedy of the Sliders all represented Ireland at the European fast pitch championships while Marian and Chris Barr of the Cubs also represented Ireland at the World Series event in London. Huge congratulations to all of you – it’s great to see our region represented on the international stage – let’s hope even more of us qualify in 2016.