by British Baseball Federation, www.britishbaseball.org
The Great Britain Lions will replace the successful Under-23 programme that has operated over the past 12 months and will be open to all elite players over the age of 19 who are aiming to make the transition from the highest level of international youth baseball to the Senior National Team.
The first official GB Lions tryout will be on Sunday, 3 February at the Woughton-on-the-Green Sports Pavilion in Milton Keynes. During the course of the 2013 season, the Lions will take part in international competition (details to be confirmed later) as well as playing against National Baseball League opponents on a regular basis.
This development brings GB Baseball in line with other sports such as cricket, where the ECB Lions are the development squad for the full national side, and rugby, where the RFU’s England Saxons are the development team.
Anyone with a British passport, or who is eligible for a British passport, will be able to play and train with the Lions. The role of the Lions within the GB Baseball programme is to help develop domestic players who will go on to represent Great Britain at the top levels of international baseball competition.
GB Lions Head Coach Liam Carroll said: “The GB U-23 team provided a great platform for expanding the GB programme, particularly to improve the transition from youth to senior competition. As well as continuing to provide for our 19-23-year-old prospects, the Lions will ensure that our very best adult prospects have the best chance to make the Senior National Team.”
In 2012, GB U-23 players Ben Pearson (Cartmel Valley Lions), Gary Davison (Southampton Mustangs) and Michael Trask (Bracknell Blazers) represented the full GB Senior National Team at the European Baseball Championships in the Netherlands and made full contributions to GB’s final match, in which Ben Pearson was the winning pitcher in a 6-2 victory over Russia.
Michael Trask was also included on the roster for the World Baseball Classic Qualifier (WBCQ) in Germany – one of the most prestigious tournaments in which GB Baseball has ever competed.
GB Baseball Head Coach Sam Dempster said: “Having five British-based players on the European Championship squad this past September certainly was a good step forward for Team GB. With Coach Carroll and his staff, the Lions provide a necessary link to the senior team going forward.”