Pioneer U16 baseball team showcases potential against national softball squad

By Sports Desk November 09, 2023

On a bright and beautiful Sunday afternoon, November 4, 2023, the No. 1 Softball Diamond at Up Park Camp headquarters of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) witnessed a delightful exhibition baseball game that would be remembered for years to come. The home field of the Jamaica National Softball team served as the backdrop for this unique event, where the Pioneer Select U16 baseball team faced off against Jamaica's formidable softball team.

The Pioneer Select U16 team, comprising talented individuals such as Damion Robinson, Joel Scott, Javier Grant, Francisco Williams, Odeen Afflick, Kira Cooper, Jayshaun Campbell, Noel-Lee McKen, as well as Jasmine Benjamin and Caleb Dixon, took the field with enthusiasm, setting the stage for an exciting showdown. From the very first inning, it was evident that these young athletes meant business.

Robinson, leading off the batting order, showcased his skills by scoring the first of three runs for his team. Team Captain Grant and U12 substitute player Dixon followed suit, crossing home plate and narrowing the score to 3-8 in favour of the seasoned National Softball team.

The exhibition match posed a unique challenge for the U16 team as they had to adapt swiftly to the different rules, ball, and bat sizes of softball. Despite the unfamiliar territory, the young athletes embraced the experience with determination and resilience.

Grant, holding down first base, displayed his defensive prowess with swift tags on National Team runners, keeping the pressure on the opposition and thrilling the spectators in attendance.

On the pitcher's mound, McKen, exhibited remarkable composure, leading her team's offensive efforts. Despite her softball debut, she adapted quickly to the underhand throw, demonstrating her potential to excel in the world of softball.

Behind the plate, female catcher Cooper showcased exceptional skills in handling the larger-sized softball. Her swift and accurate tags on unsuccessful runners attempting to score added an extra layer of defense for the Pioneer Select team.

In the outfield, Campbell, making his U16 debut after advancing from U12, admirably held his own. His presence in the outfield testified to his dedication and commitment to his athletic development.

National Team Technical Director Troy McCaw, who attended the exhibition match, was visibly impressed by the talent displayed by the U16 team. He identified four standout players from the Pioneer Select U16 team, acknowledging their potential for success in the sport.

This remarkable opportunity for the Pioneer Select U16 team reflects their dedication and hard work, with many of their members training in St. Thomas, Jamaica, under the guidance of Coach Kerry Ann Cooper.

Under her guidance, the team actively seeks opportunities to scrimmage and attend clinics with other teams, such as the upcoming clinic in August Town on Sunday, November 12, 2023, all in preparation for the 2024 tournaments.

 

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