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How clubs in the region want to make the sport better known

Fringe sport competes for members and attention
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How baseball teams in the area want to spread the word about the sport

The Mönchengladbach Blackcaps and the Wassenberg Squirrels play in the baseball district league, both teams met in the derby at the weekend. After the corona-related break, the clubs in the region are trying to make their fringe sport better known.

Baseball is one of the four most popular sports in the mother country USA: Unlike American football, which has also experienced hype in Germany for years, baseball in this country only leads a shadowy existence and is one of the absolute fringe sports.

Two teams from the region compete in the district league group 2. On the one hand there are the Blackcaps from Mönchengladbach and the Wassenberg Squirrels. Two clubs that are facing the same challenges after the Corona break – and want to master them in a very similar way in order to prepare for the future. Blackcaps and squirrels have been hit hard by the long disruption caused by the pandemic. The Blackcaps not only had new coaches, but also many departures on the player side, but were also able to gain new players. At the moment you are also in talks with two players who should help the newcomers in their development.

With the Squirrels from Wassenberg, there was a balance between entries and exits. Three former Blackcaps players have joined the squirrels and are a reinforcement for the team. Patrick Grabowski took over the position of trainer for the Blackcaps from Michael Schmitz, who will only act as assistant coach and player. Something similar happened at the Wassenbergers, where Felix Trulley passed the scepter to Manuel Schlicke for work-related reasons and would also like to be available as an assistant coach and player. The fact that in the lower leagues the coaches are also on the field and actively involved is common practice here.

  Both teams use women in what is otherwise a male-dominated sport.

Both teams use women in what is otherwise a male-dominated sport.
Photo: Ja / Knappe, Joerg (jkn)

The special thing about the lower leagues is the fact that female players can – in fact, should – play in the sport, which is otherwise dominated by men. Two players are regularly used by the Blackcaps, and by the Squirrels there are even five. Wassenberg chairman Peter Dohmen would love to create an all-women softball team if enough players could be found. On the Gladbach side, they are currently busy with the rebuilding and have therefore not yet thought about it in this direction.

Both clubs used the long break to improve their infrastructure. The Blackcaps have built new dugouts. The Squirrels even got a new location, which has not yet been released for play due to a few minor defects. After all, training can already take place on the new facility, which will also receive a digital scoreboard in the foreseeable future, as Dohmen explains. The facility at Orsbecker Feld (at the B221/L 117 intersection) is to be officially opened in the second leg on June 18 against the Blackcaps.

In terms of sport, both teams should first find each other and achieve one or the other success, as the Blackcaps did last weekend in the derby against the Squirrels with 14:13. It was a game at eye level with changing leadership. In the end, the Vitusstadt team recorded a lucky victory after the defeat at the start against the Duisburg Flying Bats (2:9). Wassenberg is currently facing two defeats against a win (12:4 against SG Marl/Bochum). They are fourth in the table, one place behind the Blackcaps.

To recruit new players, both baseball teams take the same approach: go to schools and teach a few classes. The basic concepts of baseball are then shown here, which the students should then carry out themselves in order to get a feeling for this ball sport. If a few show up for the regular training sessions, who may have found baseball fun and sign up, a lot has already been gained. Here, too, word of mouth among the students is what counts in order to ensure that there are more youngsters in this fringe sport.

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