Russell Brooks, the Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy, Abuja on Saturday said the U.S. was willing to partner with Nigeria to promote the game of baseball in the country.
Brooks spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of a baseball youth programme in Abuja.
NAN reports that the camp, which opened on Oct. 9, ended on Saturday with an exhibition match and presentation of certificates of participation by the organisers at the Baseball pitch of the Package B National Stadium.
The week-long youth baseball camp, which was organised by the U.S. embassy and the Baseball Tomorrow Academy, featured Jeremy Guthrie, a former major league baseball pitcher.
“Nigerians love sport and they share that in common with Americans.
“We are a sports crazy country and certainly any opportunity we have to promote collaboration between our countries is something we want to do,” he said.
NAN also reports that no fewer than 60 youths drawn from five states in the country participated in the programme and were taught various skills in the game of baseball.
They also received instructions and technical advice on how to improve their skills to become better baseball players.
Brooks said that the future the game in the country was bright, adding that all that was required was more training and opportunities for the youths to play.
“Today the children were able to put to use all the education and training about baseball which they received during the course of the programme.
The camp is an opportunity to receive in-depth pitching, defensive and offensive instruction from the YSU Baseball staff. The cost is $150 for pitchers, $225 for an evaluation at one position and $250 for evaluations at two positions. The cost includes lunch on Aug. 18 and a camp t-shirt.
The Penguins’ staff will also host a one-day showcase camp on June 27 at Eastwood Field. There will be two three-hour sessions, one for pitching and defense and another for hitting. The pitching and defense session will run from 9 a.m. to noon, and the hitting portion will last from 1-4 p.m. The cost for each session is $100, and campers have the option to attend both for $150. That camp is also open to high school players as well as junior college freshmen and sophomores. A t-shirt will be provided to attendees.
Finally, YSU’s coaches will host a Summer Kids Camp from 9 a.m. to noon for three days from June 21-23 at the Watson and Tressel Training Site on campus. The camp is open to boys and girls ages 8 to 13, and there will be in-depth instruction individualized to each age group. The cost is $100 total for the nine hours of instruction over the three days.
On April 22-23, the first-ever PONY Vietnam National Qualifying Tournament was held in the capital city of Hanoi. The tournament was held to determine a qualifying team for the Asia-Pacific Zone Mustang (10U) Tournament, which is being held for the first time in Singapore this upcoming June. The Asia-Pacific Zone Mustang (10U) Tournament winner will serve as the representative from the Zone at the Mustang World Series in Youngsville, Louisiana, United States from August 3-6.
The Hanoi qualifying tournament featured three teams: the Hanoi Capitals (formed in 2008), the newly-formed host St. Paul School Patriots, and the Mustang (10U) Youth Team of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Sports Baseball Club (HUS), which flew two hours from Saigon to join the tournament. In previous years, because Ho Chi Minh City (the former Saigon) did not have organized youth teams, local teams or all-star teams from Hanoi, such as the Hanoi Capitals and Japan School Blue-J’s joined all international youth tournaments. This year, the HUS Baseball Club in Ho Chi Minh City set up 12U (Bronco) and 10U (Mustang) teams, which were coached by Ngo Duc Thuy, a local physical education teacher in District 9 of Ho Chi Minh City who played baseball for Vietnam in the 2011 Southeast Asia Games. All of the players are students at Phong Phu Elementary School in District 9.
The tournament was held at the new baseball field at St. Paul School in Splendora City. The tournament was professionally run, with qualified PONY umpires sent from Manila by PONY Asia-Pacific Zone Director Rod Tingzon. Thank you to umpires Mr. Ronaldo Binuya Eustaquio and Mr. Amorsolo Selpides Guevarra. After the first day of the tournament, the Capitals and HUS qualified for the championship game, after Hanoi beat St. Paul American School 20-4, HUS defeated 23-9 and Hanoi upended HUS 19-9.
In the championship game, HUS jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the third inning thanks to its team captain catcher Ngo Chi Hao, their leadoff batter, rapping out a single and an RBI double in his first two at bats. However, in the bottom of the fourth inning, Hanoi rallied on a lead-off single by clean-up hitter Tuan Minh, an RBI-double by David Center and then a pinch-hit RBI single by Tong Gia Khanh. A walk and a single by Nguyen Ba Truong Giang and Nguyen Dinh Minh loaded the bases. Finally, Ha Ngoc Anh Kiet delivered for Hanoi with a three-run triple to give Hanoi a 12-10 lead. The Capitals held the HUS team at bay in the top of the fifth with a key double play recorded by shortstop Danny Klink and third baseman Truong Giang.
In the top of the sixth behind a double by Nguyen Ha Minh Thai and a two-run home run by starting pitcher Pham Hong Quan, the boys from Saigon rallied to take a 16-15 lead heading into the bottom of the inning. A one out walk by Ha Ngoc Anh Kiet put the tying run on base. Then Liam Ballew recorded an RBI single to knot the score at 16. Ballew stole a base and scored from second on a passed ball to end the game, as the Capitals came out on top 17-16. David Center was the winning pitcher for the Hanoi.
MVPs for the tournament, as voted by the organizing committee were Ngo Chi Hao and Pham Hong Quan of the HUS team from Saigon. Although the HUS team was only formed one year ago, their players greatly improved and learned the game quickly. For the tournament, Ngo Chi Hao went 11-for-12 at the plate with two doubles and eight runs scored. Pham Hong Quan was 11-for-11 with two home runs and nine runs scored, and he pitched very well also. Huynh Anh Minh was 6-for-10 with eight runs scored.