The Belfast Northstars was formed in 1996 and joined Baseball Ireland in 1997, where the Northstars continue to face teams from Dublin, Munster, West Clare and Cavan. Their current coach, Jon Carter, was formerly a part of the Great Britain training squad, bringing professionalism and experience to the team.
Participation in the Finkstonball Tournament in Austria for the past three years, and this year narrowly losing to the Swiss National side in the final inning, has provided significant experience for the Northern Ireland team.
Over the past three years, the Northstars have strived to improve the standard of play by welcoming important players from North and South America. Currently, their two baseball teams participate in the A division of the league but, with a push on recruitment, they have re-entered a development team in Baseball Ireland’s B League.
“The club is pushing baseball to be an ‘alternative choice’ sport,” Boyd said. “We accept anyone over the age of 14, regardless of sex, ability or background.”
With the team undergoing a large growth phase, their local council has agreed to begin building a new diamond with backstop nets. Although construction is at a very early stage, the Northstars hope it will be ready for play by next season.
This new development project, and the reintroduction of the development team to the B League, has the Belfast Northstars seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
Their short-term goal is to actively recruit for the next two years and then, by the fifth year, the club hopes to develop a youth set-up and begin forming an entire second team in Belfast. With two teams already in Belfast, a team in Cavan and a new team in Derry, the Northern Division of Baseball Ireland is forming, and within 10 years they can see adding two more teams, which could potentially establish an entire separate league.