Drafted – baseball teams up with the game

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Baseball teams from around Gauteng gathered in Edenvale for the fourth annual Senior Baseball Draft on January 21.

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Three senior draft teams were chosen on the evening, namely the Hitmen, Grizzlies and Wildcats.

Players from various clubs in Ekurhuleni and elsewhere submitted their names for the draft and were subsequently ranked and given bronze, silver, gold or platinum player status.

During the draft, each coach was given a fictitious budget with which to bid for the players.

Coaches had to make sure they could get all the players they needed to fill various defenseman, hitter and pitcher positions without running out of money.

The first of this year’s Draft League games took place at the Benoni Indians Grounds on January 23. Some of the action as the Hitmen, in green, took on the Grizzlies in blue. Photo: Charmaine Slater.

While the draft was underway, three U-18 teams were also chosen.

All three draft teams and three U-18 teams now participate in the U-18 League and Senior Draft.

The league was created to prepare players for the National Baseball Championships (NBC), which will be held in Cape Town in April.

All players heading to NBC will show their skills in hopes of national selection to represent South Africa on the national and international stages.

While the three senior draft teams will play at NBC. Under-18 players will have to wait for the highly anticipated selection ceremony to find out who will make the trip to Cape Town.

The first of this year’s Draft League games took place at the Benoni Indians Grounds on January 23. Some of the action as the Hitmen, in green, took on the Grizzlies in blue. Photo: Charmaine Slater.

Through to the NBC Junior and Senior Draft League, players will compete weekly to strengthen team bonds and increase skill levels.

Edenvale’s Brad Erasmus, who had already been selected for the national team, was drafted as the highest paid player in this year’s draft league.

He was “bought” for R12,000 and took the pitching job for the Grizzlies.

“The league draft gives players the opportunity to play with and against other top Gauteng players,” Brad said.

He added that it was important for players to get away from their usual teams and have the chance to interact with players from other teams.

“The atmosphere is always great at games. The draft league is a great way to grow baseball in Gauteng.

Brad said that over the past four years the draft league has been gaining increasing attention.

The first of this year’s Draft League games took place at the Benoni Indians Grounds on January 23. Some of the action as the Hitmen, in green, took on the Grizzlies in blue. Photo: Charmaine Slater.

“Parents and young players hang out after their games to watch draft games and support their coaches and teams.

“It’s great to see crowds at games and I think it inspires younger players to want to go too.”

He said the different clubs each have the chance to host the weekly matches.

“It gives everyone a chance to play on different grounds and also different clubs to play host so everyone enjoys the games.”

Players from one of the U-18 teams, in red, faced the Wildcats in the first draft game of the day. Photo: Charmaine Slater.

Dean McKinon, vice president of the Gauteng Provincial Baseball Council (GPBC) and coach at Imps and Giants, said the U-18 and Draft leagues also give players from the Palm Ridge and Alexandra clubs’ development teams a chance to play in bigger games. .

“It’s great visibility for the sport. Everybody gels and that builds baseball for everybody,” he said.

The first of this year’s league draft games took place at the Benoni Indians Grounds on January 23.

Players ages 6-18 are welcome to join the Giants Baseball Club.

Training takes place every Tuesday and Friday evening from 5:00 p.m.

For more information contact Kate on 082 577 8214.

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