Consul of St Vincent and the Grenadines to Northern Ireland, Dr Christopher Stange, presented a framed set of baseball jerseys from Northern Ireland top teams to Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council in recognition of the partnership and delivery of the first purpose built baseball diamond in Northern Ireland.
The presentation marks the inaugural season of baseball at Hydebank Playing Fields’ permanent baseball diamond, which has been a welcome addition to the wide range of leisure and community facilities operated by the Council.
For the first time in the twenty year history of baseball being played on the island of Ireland, the Belfast Northstars were crowned champions of Baseball Ireland’s B Division with the Ulster Buccaneers finishing second in the regular season.
The Mayor, Councillor Brian Bloomfield MBE and Chairman of Leisure & Community Development Committee, Councillor Tim Morrow accepted the gift on behalf of the Council.
Speaking at the presentation Councillor Morrow said: “The baseball diamond at Hydebank Playing Fields has now been open for six months with exceptional success for the teams using it. Initially we received technical advice from Dr.Christopher Stange of the Consulate of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to Northern Ireland, who remains actively involved in Northern Ireland baseball and the promotion of the sport. The baseball facility is utilised by all communities, cross-border through the Irish Baseball league, and particularly the ethnic minority Diaspora where baseball is either a national or main sport.”
The Mayor, Councillor Brian Bloomfield MBE, said: “I am extremely proud that the baseball facility is not only a first for the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area but also for Northern Ireland and the success to date has been well-deserved. The Council is committed to offering a diverse range of sports and most importantly providing a platform to encourage everyone to get active and try something different.”
Dr Stange said: “On behalf of the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines we would like to highlight Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s vision and leadership in constructing such a high specification baseball facility. This commitment has made a real difference to sporting development in Northern Ireland demonstrated by how the Northern Ireland teams performed this season through a proper baseball diamond. This model practice has delivered a facility for all ages and backgrounds, strengthening the various cultural and sporting links to North America, Caribbean, South America, Asia and the Pacific regions.”