District 01 of Little League Baseball and Softball in Nigeria recently organised training for Volunteers in preparation for the Softball Girls’ Tournament. The trainees were carefully selected from 6 schools both private and public.

This was also followed by an Umpiring Course attended by 12 Volunteers who went through special training to take part in future games and tournaments. Mr Sunday Olubo, Nigeria Baseball and Softball Association Umpiring official was on the ground to assist the trainees and impact knowledge.

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Coaches Ariel Julius and Prest Aboma are all over Ibadan city bringing more schools into the Little League programme and developing softball in preparation for the District 01 Tournament holding at Obafemi Awolowo Stadium Oke Ado Ibadan in February 2020.

In the pictures above the students are having a briefing session with Coach Julius Ariel awhile some took picture beside the tournament banner.

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The United States Consulate General, Lagos supports the organisation of Little League Girls’ Softball in Ibadan by District 01 of Little League Baseball and Softball in Nigeria.

Not less than 12 teams in two divisions are expected in the tournament which will hold from February 15 to 19, 2020 at Obafemi Awolowo Stadium Oke Ado Ibadan. The tournament will be preceded by softball coaching clinic to be facilitated by three Coaches from the US and The Netherlands.

The teams are coming from Ibadan, Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Akwa Ibom.

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LL Nigeria District 01 Develoment Programme opens this week in Ado Ekiti, led by Coach Adekunle Ajayi, District Development Coordinator and Coach Sunday Aina of Ekiti Kete LL. The programme will run for 3 months and is designed to include clinics, trainings, umpiring courses, scorers courses, interleague games, regular games and also prepare teams for the Little League Softball (U12) and Senior Softball (U16) Tournaments scheduled to hold in Ibadan from 13 to 18 December, 2019.

Coach Gerard Hall and Coach Amber Jackson will run one week softball pitching clinic a week before the Softball tournaments. Amber Jackson is a softball pitching Coach from the United States.

The same Development Programme will be launched in Ibadan, Akure and Lagos very soon. The District Secretary, Victor Kayode-Bello, commended Ekiti Little League for taking the lead in pushing the district develoment programme and hopes other will follow quickly.

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It all started with the visit by an official of the US Consulate General, Lagos,  Mr Russell Brooks to Lekan Salami Stadium Complex Adamasingba, Ibadan, sometime in 2018 to see for himself if truly we play baseball in Ibadan, LL District 01, South West, Nigeria. He met with the District Administrator, Kehinde Laniyan, some Coaches and other officials representing some of the chartered leagues. The General Manager of Sports Council who provided office accommodation for the District in the Stadium was introduced to Brooks as well. Two teams from the city of Ibadan played demonstration game. At the end of the demonstration, Brooks addressed players, informing them he is convinced that the children need the support of the Consulate to ensure they play well and participate actively in Little League programme.

That support came in April 2019 with the funding of the sixth edition of the district tournament attended by 12 teams from different leagues in Nigeria. Below are the list of teams that participated:

  • Ekiti Kate Little League
  • Acumen Little League
  • Akure Owena LL
  • Ibadan Excellers LL
  • Oyemekun LL from Akure City
  • Kings College from Lagos
  • GoldHeart from Ilorin
  • Ibadan South West Little League
  • Bwari Little League came from Abuja

Excellers and Acumen presented two teams for the tournament that held in 3 divisions: Little League Major Division, Senior Softball and Senior Baseball. The high point of the tournament was in the Little League Baseball Major Division where Excellers LL emerged the champion. The competition was from April 12 to 17, 2019 and Mr Russell Brooks was around to give awards, certificates and trophies to winners. It was five days of non stop action by excited children.

Two Little League Coaches came from the US to watch the tournament and facilitate a Coaching clinic for two days after the tournament. They were Coaches Raymond Thomas and Gerard Hall. April 2016 was the 6th time Coach Hall would be visiting Nigeria to develop Little League program while that was the second time of the visit of Coach Raymond to Nigeria from the US.

(Picture below shows Coach Gerard Hall clearing some points with local Coaches and Umpires during the April 2019 tournament in Ibadan.)

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The intervention of the US Consulate General, Lagos in partnering with Little League Nigeria was a landmark development and contributed to pushing the programme forward in a country where local support is minimal.

The desire of the Consulate was that this would give the local organisation the foundation to pull in more sponsorships from enterprises and government agencies. It is important to mention that predictably complementary supports to this tournament were eventually provided by a Federal sports agency in the South West Nigeria and the Oyo State Sports Council, Ibadan. We are hoping that this relationship will go a long way in sustaining Little League in Nigeria if well mentained. The DA said that is uppermost in his mind and admitted that it obviously requires hardwork on the part of Coaches and officials.

The Consulate financial intervention was in areas of providing local logistics, uniforms for all teams, local transport, flight tickets for visiting Clinicians from the US and meals for over 200 players and team officials that attended the event. The Consulate also assisted in pulling the Nigerian media to give heavy publicity. For more than one month after, media attention was focussed on Little League programmes.

(Picture below shows Coach Raymond Thomas, Coach Gerard Hall and the DA for Little League Nigeria during 2017 edition of District Camp in Ibadan) 

 

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Long time Baseball Coaches, Gerard Hall and Raymond Thomas have proven overtime that  that the most important element of youth baseball is teaching kids “how” to succeed. The Little League concept is designed for kids within age range 4 – 16 years to thoroughly learn, and execute the rudiments of the game (baseball/softball) preparing them for the future.

SOME OF REASONS WHY LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL SHOULD BE GIVEN MORE ATTENTION

  1. Proper Grooming:  Apart from teaching kids how to play the game, Little League also helps them to engage in various competitions, the just concluded, 2019 Little League tournament held in Ibadan few days ago is a good example. Ibadan Excellers clinched the Title with some awards to with it. Its emergence was not based on the hierarchical order, every participant was handed various gifts, customized cloths, and bats.
  2. No Restrictions: Regardless of physical size, skill, strength, gender, religion, or nationality, Little League Baseball offers the opportunity for a child to experience and benefit from the life lessons, socialization, and camaraderie that are the cornerstones of the program.
  3. Organizing Competitions:Little League Baseball and Softball also organizes various competitions all over the world, in a quest to reach out to ‘ every one’ interested in the game. The 2019 Little League tournament was held in Ibadan just recently and it pulled out a lot of talented kids that could be the future Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds and Mickie Mantle etc.
  4. Making Baseball A Mainstay: Little League Baseball doesn’t restrict its services to just Nigeria, the organisation is “ALL OVER”. Once upon a time the game of Baseball was only known to be played in America, New York, New Jersey, Boston etc. But now its a different story entirely. Baseball is gradually becoming one of the top sports to reckon with in the World
  5.  Media Presence:The trio of Gerard Hall, Raymond Thomas and Laniyan Kehinde last week visited various media stations, continuing sharing the Gospel of Little League. They visited Impact Africa Television and Splash fm and Oluyole FM.Image may contain: 1 personImage may contain: one or more peopleImage may contain: 4 people, indoor
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Ibadan Excellers emerges the champion of the 2019 Little League tournament Major Division having defeated Akure Owena team. Here the team was handed trophy after 5 days of active games that saw it winning in every encounter. Its dominance has become clear, though very humble in victory.
Congratulations to the team from Little League Nigeria and to all teams that participated from Lagos, Ilorin, Akure, Ibadan, Abuja and Ekiti.

It is now time for the league to prepare for regional tournament.

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Coaches Gerard Hall and Raymond Thomas visit Splash FM Radio, Ibadan with some district officials where they talked about baseball and softball development at Schools and Community levels. The clinicians were also asked about the prospects for development given the just concluded tournament and clinic, which were sponsored by the United States Consulate General, Lagos. To the gentlemen, the prospect for development is very great and its is hoped that the plan will be begin to materialise as more programmes are executed. Present at the meeting are the following : Commissioner for Sports, Oyo State; Kehinde Laniyan, DA; and Ademola Johnson, ADA. 

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