Its the biggest event in the All Ireland club Softball programme as Fourteen teams, over 200 men and women, converged on the University of Limerick on the weekend of the 11th of August to play a two-day tournament and compete for the famous bronze statue.
With the majority of players staying on campus, a fun, close, easy going atmosphere was created for the season finale of softball in Ireland.
Teams traveled from Belfast, Dublin, Galway and a Munster team formed from people traveling from Clare, Cork, Limerick, and Tipperary. The competition contains both the competitive and the fun nature of the sport, with all divisions represented and several internationals in the teams. After a grueling total of 73 games played over the two days, Munster “Originals” faced off against the Dublin Dodder Dynamoes, The longest running team in Ireland (Estb 1982), in the Cup final.
Despite some excellent plays from Dodder, the power of Munster could not be contained as Munster out slugged Dodder to take the title. Belfast Softball Club beat the Dublin Bay Packers in the Plate final.
The teams competing were:
Belfast Softball Club
Dublin Bay Packers
Sons of Pitches
Softball is co-ed variant of baseball played with a slightly larger ball. The game was initially developed in Chicago. Two teams play against one another, a pitcher throws a ball in and the batter has to hit it and advance around the bases. A player scores when they cross the home plate, same as baseball. Two major differences between baseball and softball are that the ball must be pitched underhand as opposed to overarm in baseball and that seven innings in softball instead of nine in baseball to constitute a regulation game. The biggest misnomer is that the ball is soft, it most definitely is not. The “soft” is more a reference to the underarm nature of the pitch compared to the hard ball in baseball.
There are two main types of softball, the most common is slow-pitch softball, played by co-ed team of players, there are also tournaments with male only and female only teams. The co-ed teams is the most popular version that is played in Ireland. The second type of softball is called fast-pitch version with all females or male teams. Over the last couple of years Ireland have developed a fast-pitch girls and women team. The Irish U19 and U22 recently won silver and bronze in European competitions this summer, a great achievement.
The European Softball Slow-Pitch Club Competition was held two weeks ago in Riccione, Italy and there were two Irish club teams competing against 14 other teams from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France and the United Kingdom. The Irish teams finished 6th and 11th and a majority of those players were competing at the IOST in Limerick.
While the softball season is coming to a close there still are a couple of events that if you were curious about softball would be a great opportunity to come check it out.
– All Star Weekend at Trinity College Cricket pitches 24th & 25th August.
– All Ireland Club playoffs at Stannaway Park, Crumlin, Dublin 12, 15th September.
- Indoor league in Galway over the winter months
Further information on these events can be found on www.softballleinster.ie
If you are interested in playing, check out the Facebook pages of Softball Ireland, Galway Softball or Softball Leinster. You can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and team information.