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Nolan Bond GB Baseball U23 European Championship

BBF and GB Baseball Announce Roster for U23 European Championship

07/27/2017, 12:45pm BST
By British Baseball Federation

In August, the Great Britain National Team will participate in the first ever U23 European Championship. 16 nations will square off in three different countries before gathering in Brno, Czech Republic to compete for the trophy and qualification to the 2018 Baseball World Cup.

The British Baseball Federation is excited to announce the roster for next month’s U23 European Championship. 

With no competitions at other age groups, this is the signature event for Great Britain Baseball in 2017. Crucial World Baseball & Softball Confederation (WBSC) ranking points are at stake. 

The squad will assemble for final preparations at Farnham Park in early August before travelling to Austria and the Czech Republic for the tournament.

Competition for selection to the roster was fierce. While several players have been ruled out by injury or academic-athletic commitments in the US, National Teams Programme Director Liam Carroll believes that this group can challenge for medals:

“This is a talented and exciting team that is going to excel on the international stage. We have depth at all positions, some dynamic athletes, and a ton of national teams experience at the youth and senior levels. 

“It’s great to see so many clubs represented that these players will do proud and I can’t wait for the British Baseball community to get behind them as we compete for a championship.”

This will be the first U23 Euros, following the WBSC expanding the age group from U21 at last year’s World Cup. 

Dating back to the previous age range, this will be the first British entry at this level. 

16 nations have entered the championship, which offers the most world rankings points of any Confederation of European Baseball (CEB) event this year. While the Czech Republic are the official tournament organisers and will host two of the four groups in Blansko and Brno, a third group will play in Slovakia and a fourth, featuring Great Britain, will play in Wels, Austria. 

In addition to the hosts, Great Britain are pitted against Poland and Spain.

Great Britain will play their three Group B games on consecutive days, opening against Austria on 7th August before playing Poland and then Spain. A top two finish is needed to qualify for the Quarter-Finals, where Great Britain will match up with Group A, comprising Belarus, Croatia, Netherlands and Russia. All playoff games will be played in the Czech Republic.

High Stakes

There’s a lot at stake at this championship. A gold or silver medal is required to qualify for the 2018 U23 Baseball World Cup. After the Premier 12 and World Baseball Classic, the World Cup offers the third biggest distribution of world rankings points at international tournaments. Following the tournament, CEB will create a qualifying pool for future U23 championships, as is done across all age groups, and a top six finish is required to secure top tier status for 2019. 

Finally, there’s prospect of finishing on the podium at a major international tournament – bringing home Great Britain’s first medal since a runner-up finish at the 2007 European Championship.

While this will be Great Britain’s first entry into a major competition at this age group, it’s certainly not the first iteration of a GB U23 team. The most recent effort, launched in 2011, sent a team to New England in the summer of 2012 to play collegiate summer league teams. Adding this age group to the national teams programme helped to bridge the gap for players between the U18 and senior levels, and was subsequently expanded to older players and re-branded as the GB Lions.

The 2017 version is set to represent the BBF with an exciting group of players, most of whom have extensive experience within the national teams programme and will offer the coaching staff and British Baseball community a glimpse into the future at the senior level.

Several players (Elliot Berger, Conner Brown, Conrad Cornell, Jacob Dean, Juan Diaz, Jordan Edmonds and Callum Vinall) have already played at a European Championship, while two (Nolan Bond and Edmonds), played in 2016’s World Baseball Classic Qualifier. All but three players are graduates of the U18 National Team and only one, Hayden Platt, will make their National Team debut; but for commitments to his collegiate team Platt would have been in the mix for a European Championship and WBC spot last year.

Jacob Dean GB Baseball U23

Jacob Dean

Elliot Berger GB U23

Elliot Berger

Academy Impact

In addition to developing within the national teams programme, the BSUK High Performance Academy has made a big impact on the roster, with 14 players actively or historically involved in the programme.

Perhaps most importantly for British Baseball, a wide selection of clubs are represented, from Exeter in the south to Cartmel Valley in the north. In addition to their present teams, several players owe additional clubs for contributing to their blossoming careers. 

At the helm for the championship will be Liam Carroll, assisted on the field by Zach Graefser (Pitching Coach), Cam McHarg (First Base Coach) and Bill Percy (Third Base Coach). Alan Dean, GB Baseball’s Sports Science Director will join the coaching team in the dugout, and Operations Director Glen Robertson rounds out the staff.

Head back to www.greatbritainbaseball.com for more news from the GB camp throughout their run at the European Championship, or follow the team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The competitions website of CEB will feature the full tournament schedule, stats and live play by play feeds for all games.

For additional news throughout the tournament, check out the official website.

Bill Percy GB Baseball ABCA Hall of Fame

GB Third Base coach – and ABCA Hall of Famer – Bill Percy with Head Coach, Liam Carroll

GB U23 Squad

Name Club
Michael Anunobi Essex Arrows
Luke Armstrong Cartmel Valley Lions
Elliot Berger Zurich Barracudas
Nolan Bond University of Houston
Richard Brereton Emory University
Conner Brown Cologne Cardinals
Rory Chandler Essex Arrows
Carlos Casal Essex Arrows
Conrad Cornell Mercer University
Jacob Dean Essex Arrows
Juan Diaz Southampton Mustangs
Jamie Dix London Mets
Jordan Edmonds Hamburg Stealers
Johnny Fretheim Vandegrift High School
Eli Hackney-Rose Exeter Spitfires
Hayden Platt Elon University
Miguel Rodriguez Southampton Mustangs
Ollie Thompson Essex Arrows
Callum Vinall Southampton Mustangs
Matt Waddington Liverpool Trojans

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