30 Newcomers Show Interest in Baseball

Posted on 1 June, 2011 by kcorona

Another successful weekend in youth baseball has passed.  The newly formed school league in Belgrade is a hit.  Close to 30 kids showed up for their second full practice at Ada Ciganlija this past Saturday.  The kids have been involved with baseball since the beginning of spring, and have stuck by the sport after an initial turnout of close to 60 kids from their school.  Another school was thrown into the mix on Saturday, which brought 25 teenage boys and girls out for their very first baseball practice. These kids came from the Palilula area of Belgrade, which is deemed an inner-city school. This brought the total number of kids ready for a practice session Saturday to about 60.

Despite the great turnout, one problem did arise. Belgrade only has one baseball field, and that field must be shared not only by all teams in Belgrade, but all teams in Serbia. Due to a game between Baseball Club (BK) Vojvodina and BK Vojvode, the baseball field was unavailable to hold practice on.  This forced us to move the practice to an open area, still on Ada Ciganlija, where the two groups were divided based on experience.  Ciki Zonić worked on some fundamental aspects of the game with his 10-12 year olds, while I was in charge of introducing baseball to the newcomers from Palilula.  The large turnout of new players combined with the small amount of basic equipment (gloves, bats, and baseballs) led to quite an interesting scenario.  A simple game of “catch” was introduced without gloves, but using soft baseballs.  The drill went well, as the kids quickly grasped the proper throwing and catching technique.  There was, of course, the occasional “Pazi! (lookout!)”, as stray throws whizzed by our heads, but in the end, we had accomplished a great deal.  After close to an hour and a half, the introductory practice was complete, and I was bombarded with questions about when the next practice would be, where it would be held, when games were to take place, and how can gloves and baseballs be purchased in Serbia.

As I headed over to the second group’s area, I could see teams of 15 competing in a highly competitive “mini-game”.  Rubber bases were strewn about, nearing 60 feet in distance, as children were playing every defensive position imaginable: right-center, rover, and back-up second base. The disappointed faces from the losing team were quickly exchanged for smiles and screams once Zonić announced that the end of the school baseball season would conclude with a one-day round robin tournament that would feature all the school teams involved this spring.

With the increasing popularity of the sport in Serbia, the need for equipment, fields, and coaching instruction is becoming very apparent.  The SBDA hopes that you will take an interest in this endeavor and support us by making a donation or becoming involved in some fashion.  By clicking on the “Donate” tab above, you can find out how easy it is to help.  Every donation makes a big impact!


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