By British Baseball Federation, www.britishbaseball.org
Following a winter of workouts that began with over 30 players, Head Coach Liam Carroll and the BBF are pleased to announce a GB Lions roster that includes 23 players from ten different clubs for the 2014 season. Highlighting the great work that GB youth coaches are doing to develop the nation’s talented players, six have made the squad having graduated from the Junior National Team and a further ten have also played at the Cadet and/or Junior levels earlier in their careers.
A look back through the history of the Great Britain Baseball programme reveals various attempts at implementing an age-group team between the Junior and Senior National Teams. Each new team achieved different levels of success, always designed to give more home-grown talent the best opportunity to transition from the youth to adult ranks. The most recent attempt at bridging the gap was launched in 2011 as the GB 23Us. After some growing pains, adjustments and a name change, Great Britain Baseball’s “youngest” team, the GB Lions, enters its third season with a stronger roster than ever.
Lions Head Coach Liam Carroll said: “I really like the composition of this ball club. We have seven guys who entered the GB programme with the Lions or Seniors and 16 who are graduates of our youth teams, including a class of six who finished up with the Juniors last season – we’ve never had that many kids come up in one year, and it’s really pushed the returning players. That’s a credit to the work that coaches Will Lintern and Rob Rance are doing at the youth level.”
Seven players selected to represent Great Britain in the European Championship Qualifier last summer will play for the Lions in 2014. Six are returners and the seventh, Mikael Azcuy, will make his Lions debut and add some veteran leadership to the club.
Highlights of the Lions’ schedule in 2014 will include four weekends of games at the new GB All-Star Series and a tournament with Old World Baseball and the GB Juniors, with all events taking place at Farnham Park. A full schedule for the team will be released soon.