School Baseball Progress Continues, Youth Stars Display Vast Improvements

Strahinja Stajić gets settled in against the Belgrade Spartans

Posted on 15 June, 2011 by kcorona

Many positive things regarding youth baseball have happened in Belgrade this past week. As previously mentioned, a school baseball league was introduced in Belgrade this spring. Unfortunately, out of the hundreds of elementary and secondary schools in Belgrade, there are only enough “baseball resources” to introduce the sport to four schools. After having an introductory practice at Ada Ciganlija in Belgrade for one new school a couple weeks back, we returned to offer kids ages 10-12 a chance to compete in the upcoming “Belgrade School Tournament” set to take place on Saturday, June 18th, on the baseball field at Ada Ciganlija.

Introducing baseball at Osnovna Škola Starina Novak (Primary School ‘Starina Novak’) was facilitated by physical education teacher Igor Živanović, who has been hosting baseball presentations during a few of his class periods since 2009. Mr. Živanović has visited youth baseball practices, games, and tournaments on multiple occassions, and actively promotes baseball to students at his school. Although he has little to no playing experience himself, his passion for giving youth the chance to participate in a “new” sport is something that we at the SBDA hope spreads throughout Serbia. We are very excited to work with individuals like Mr. Živanović who are interested in promoting baseball as a sport in Serbia and helping Serbian youth.

Aside from the new progress being made within the Belgrade schools, I have an update on a couple players who now have a few years experience under the guidance of the SBDA and youth baseball in Serbia. Ex-Serbian Junior National Team players (and future Senior National Team players) Strahinja Stajić and Danilo Cvijović showed off their vast improvements this past weekend after just being introduced to baseball in 2009. Both players are 14 years of age and had some impressive moments during Sunday’s Serbian Baseball League game. Cvijović, who caught the whole game, showed signs of an experienced player: sticking pitches, receiving balls, and moving around behind the plate smoothly. Stajić, who in the past has been known for his pitching abilities, made a running catch in the right-center gap to end a late inning threat. Both players looked quite comfortable in the batters box as well, facing an experienced Serbian League pitcher in Siniša Vajdić. Stajić displayed his phenominal swing on multiple at-bats despite battling soreness in his right shoulder. With these two rising stars matched with a few other experienced youth, the future looks bright for Serbian baseball.

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