Cape Town dominate SA champs

Cape Town Baseball Federation defended their title in the SA championships held in Bothasig, beating Gauteng in the final on Sunday.

Cape Town Baseball Federation (CTBF) again proved their dominance on the baseball diamond and made a clean sweep during the SA Championships that took place at the Abe Sher Stadium, Bothasig.

CTBF took all trophies on offer from the under-10’s to the senior side.

The games took place from Saturday March 26 and culminated with the senior side defending their SA trophy with a 11-1 scoreline against Gauteng on Sunday April 3. The finals were contested between CTBF and Gauteng with CTBF winning 21-12 in the under-10s, and 10-5 in the under-12 game. Western Cape won 7-6 in the under-15 and 6-5 in the under-18.

The CTBF senior side has gone more than 10 years without defeat in local championships, a feat assistant coach, Kevin Leak, attributes to a hands-on approach in the development of the sport in the Cape Metropole.

It was always going to be a tough task to beat the Cape side that makes up to 80% of the national team. Leak says the side is very well balanced from the pitching, batting and their fielding department. They scored a massive 125 runs during the games.

“We have got a very strong pitching staff that we’ve accumulated over the period as our front line pitchers in the likes of Jared Elario, Kevin Townsend, and Dean Jacobs. But our hitting as well, the guys were just brilliant with the bat, we scored 15 runs.

“It was a great overall performance by the team and we have defended  our title over the last 10 years now.

“We never never had enough time to prepare as the league finished a week before the tournament but that did not stop us from always showing up and giving it our all,” said Leak.

Captain Jonathan Phillips, who also captains the national team, echoed his coach’s words of working hard in the limited time they had to prepare for the games but said lifting the SA trophy was never in doubt.

However, as a staunch baseballer who wants the game to develop to the highest level in the country, he says he wants to see more competition and the Cape side given a run for their money.

“It’s a great feeling (winning all the trophies on offer), it’s very good for Cape Town baseball and it shows that we are doing the right things, but it’s not good for baseball as a whole in the country as we can’t just have one district dominating. We need to make sure the whole country is moving in the right direction.”

For Phillips and his teammates, the focus now shifts to the national team with World Baseball Classics the first in their sights as the bulk of the Cape Town squad will be expected to make the SA side for the qualifiers.

“There’s quite a lot that is still to come so in the next couple of weeks hopefully we will get to know which direction we are heading so we can get on with the preparations. 

“We are hoping to go to the World Baseball Classics qualifiers later this year.”

The president of the South African Baseball Union (SABU), Marc Moreau, said he was pleased with the proceedings of the tournament. And considering baseball took a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19, the teams taking part showed they had hunger to get back on the field.

“We have only been back in the last three months and had little time to reignite baseball on national level and the tournament was well organised and teams competing were very competitive.

“But we’ve got a lot to play for this year, we are into the world cup in the under-12, under-15, under-18 and under-23s. Our seniors have lots of games lined up overseas so after these games there are definitely a lot of positives to be taken out.”

Moreau said in their effort to expand the game, this year they had to include a women’s team in the games as part of the 41 teams that took part.

“Our objective is to take baseball to the people, it’s fantastic for us to develop the game and spread it out as much as we can,” said Moreau.

CTBF’s Jason Carelse slides home for a run as Gauteng’s Kieron Cree attempts a play with Jonathan Phillips watching on.
High fives all around as CTBF defend their title.
CTBF coach Allan Phillips and assistant coach Kevin Leak.
Ettiene Botha swings and connects during the CTBF ’A’ and ’B’ game.
Jason Carelse rounds the plates for a home run.
CTBF’ s Kevin Townsend shared his pitching duties with Jared Elario during the championships.
Jaydon van Rooi in action during the ’A’ and ’B’ side of the CTBF.