ST VINCENT AND THE Grenadines’ Consul General to Northern Ireland, Dr Christopher Stange with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, opened the first purpose-built baseball batting cage at Hydebank Playing fields in Northern Ireland.
A batting cage is an essential piece of equipment for sports development in learning and mastering the essential skills of hitting and pitching in the sports of baseball and softball from little league to the premiership level.
This batting cage further builds upon the already existing purpose- built baseball facility at Hydebank that was opened on the same site in 2016 with Dr Stange and the Council, states a release from the office of the Consul General, dated March 9.
Hydebank is home to several baseball and softball teams, including the Northstars and Buccaneers Baseball Clubs, the Angels Softball Club and the Youth Baseball Academy (Badgers).
The new baseball batting cage was initiated, co-ordinated and facilitated through a sports diplomacy initiative lead by Dr Christopher Stange of the Consulate General of St Vincent and the Grenadines in Northern Ireland. Funding was secured from Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s “Keep the Ball Rolling” grant and Baseball Ireland.
Speaking at the opening, the Consul General said: “I would like to applaud the long-standing relationship developed with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and all partners in further developing the sports of baseball and softball regionally. This facility builds bridges, unites countries and the diaspora communities, many hailing from North America, Caribbean, South America, Asia and the Pacific, where baseball and softball are either national or main sports.”
Cllr Sharon Skillen, Chair of the Leisure & Community Development Committee added: “I welcome the continuing development of baseball and softball within Lisburn & Castlereagh with the opening of the first baseball batting cage in Northern Ireland. It will provide a high-quality space where teams can practice and compete whilst offering an opportunity for the public to take up a new sport, to enhance and improved on their personal health and wellbeing.
“ I am delighted that the establishment of Hydebank Playing Fields as the premier venue for baseball and softball in Northern Ireland has enabled it to host international tournaments and bring increased tourism to the area”.