UEA Blue Sox are one of the smaller sport clubs on campus, but that didn’t stop their Softball team getting a massive result this past weekend in Slough.
Softball is still a growing sport in England, but the UEA Blue Sox have been actively playing both Baseball and Softball since 1994 (making them the country’s oldest University Baseball Club!) Sadly there are still no BUCS fixtures for Softball and without an official league, the Softball team rely solely on two national competitions, one in the Autumn and one in the Spring, to test themselves against the country’s best Softball players.
Last semester’s Autumn nationals were sadly cut short after a heavy spell of rain on the second day of the tournament, but the team had performed well in the games before the poor weather, securing three wins against fierce opponents. With the premature end and no official rankings at the Autumn national tournament, the UEA Softball team were left with a hunger to prove themselves at the Spring national tournament.
The Softball squad, comprised of five girls and seven guys of various years, departed from the Sportspark at 5:30am on the Saturday morning to make their first fixtures down in Slough, but their lack of sleep did not affect their performance in the slightest!
UEA’s Captain, third-year LDC student Matilda Brenham Williams, helped carry the Softball squad to victory in all three games played on the first day: beating Nottingham 2s 5-4, Reading 2s 14-8 and Southampton 10-1. She said of the results: ‘Everyone wanted and deserved those wins. It was beyond any doubt the best moment of the weekend.’
The second day of the competition saw the unbeaten UEA Blue Sox team face fiercer opposition, in the eventual winners Loughborough 1s as well as runners-up Reading 1s, but fortunately thanks to the team’s dominant victories on the first day of the competition, the Blue Sox achieved fourth place overall out of sixteen competing teams – the team’s highest placement in recent memory.
Captain Matilda praised in particular club treasurer and Softball pitcher Jack Fitzgerald, third-year ECO student, who braved the elements over the weekend, as he ‘pitched all six games amazingly, regardless of rain, hail, snow and sun!’ His incredible pitching wasn’t his only talent as he was the Blue Sox’s highest scorer of the tournament, hitting a notable two home runs over both days.
Sadly, the tournament was the last nationals with Matilda as captain, as she is set to graduate this year after two years in the role of Softball captain. She commented, ‘For many of us last weekend was the end of our Blue Sox softball career, which is why finishing in our highest position in years was incredibly rewarding. Seeing the whole team perform to the best of their ability made me incredibly proud not only as a captain, but as a teammate.’
The UEA Blue Sox will be back in Slough for the Spring National University Baseball Competition next week, but it is never too late to join the club if you fancy doing different and having a go at America’s national sport!