INSPORTS presents baseball equipment to 20 schools
The Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) has received a US$37,000 equipment boost to help develop a Little League Baseball competition for Kingston and St Andrew and St Catherine-based primary schools here in Jamaica.
The Jamaica Little League Baseball initiative began with a pilot programme in 2012 at a cost of $500,000.
According to Donovan Corcho, sports director/baseball director at INSPORTS, plans are in place to continue developmental plans in September this year and have the sport introduced, played among 20 primary schools, and ultimately become a competition in January 2017.
"We have a lot of support for this programme. We built a baseball field, and three weeks after that they gave us US$37,000 worth of baseball equipment," Corcho said of the American-based Major League Baseball, which assisted.
A total of 20 schools were presented with the equipment via INSPORTS.
St Catherine schools would play at G.C. Foster College in Spanish Town and Kingston schools at Up Park camp in Kingston.
Ascot Primary coach, Errol Matthias, whose school won the pilot program in 2012 - when 12 schools competed - will now have an increased pool of 20 challengers to compete against.
"Since then, I have been part of a Jamaica Baseball Association youth programmes, getting my students physical education classes. Keeping them occupied, we play every Saturday; baseball is one of the sports we love," he said.
TALENT IS HERE
Meanwhile, Rodney Palmer, technical director for the programme, who played baseball competitively at the American College level, said the baseball talent is in Jamaica is good and that they will be looking to harness it.
"I've had a vision for baseball in Jamaica for a long time. Kids in Jamaica are very athletic; they can all run, they can all jump and they can all throw and catch a ball," observed Palmer.
"I think one of the best things to have ever happened was for all of us here, where we are all here to start this baseball initiative in Kingston and St Andrew and St Catherine in all primary schools," outlined Palmer.
Ian Andrews, administrative director, INSPORTS, said coaches and stakeholders have a mandate to grow the sport and also encourage girls to get involved.
"How many sports can boast that you can get equipment free of cost, brand-new equipment, not just second-hand equipment?" Andrews stated.
"When Little League and those persons internationally heard that we were starting a baseball programme in Jamaica, they jumped with glee and said 'yes, Jamaica has speed and high coordination, so why is there no baseball programme in Jamaica?'
"So when they heard, they said 'we are going to assist you'," Andrews added.