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April 15, 2013
James Pearson, 22, and Ben Pearson, 20, from Grange-over-Sands have beaten stiff competition over a series of trials over the winter to make the elite Great Britain Lions baseball programme. Like their namesake in cricket, the Lions are the development squad for the full national team, helping talented youngsters make the transition to the challenges of international baseball.
James and Ben, who play as catcher and pitcher respectively , for Cartmel Valley Baseball Club, will join 16 other talented young players from across the country to develop and hone their skills.
An ecstatic James said: “I’m delighted to have made the squad. I’ve put in a lot of effort over the last few years to improve my game and would like to thank the coaches at Cartmel Valley and the Great Britain Baseball Programme in helping develop my talents so far. I hope that with the GB Lions I can improve even further and perhaps even make the full senior team soon.”
Ben has already represented the Senior National Team at the 2012 European Championships when he pitched a win over Russia on his debut outing.
This season he will be playing for the Hamburg Stealers team in the German top level Bundesliga to develop his pitching to a higher standard.
The GB Lions will be coached by Liam Carroll, who has extensive coaching experience in Britain, and in the USA with the University of Nevada Las Vegas baseball programme.
Liam said: “James and Ben have shown great aptitude and attitude so far in the trials over the winter and with their performances with Cartmel Valley. I’m confident that by being involved in the GB Lions they can kick on and improve further, and perhaps eventually make the full senior team. I hope to be able to help those involved in the programme to learn aspects of the game they may never have considered before, and both James and Ben will certainly benefit by being involved.”
The GB Lions programme was established in 2011 as a chance for players who were aged 23 or under to make the step from junior baseball into the full senior team. Four members of last year’s programme (including Ben) managed to represent the full side at the European Baseball Championships in September as well as the World Baseball Classic Qualifier.
Although James and Ben both progressed from the GB youth programme many people in Britain come to baseball after the age of 18, meaning they were unable to play for the GB Cadets (under-15) or GB Juniors (under-18). The GB Lions provides an opportunity to help those who have either joined the game late or still need to hone their skills to make a transition into the full GB senior team.
To find out more about how you can get involved in Baseball in Cumbria