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GB U23 squad prepares at Farnham Park, Slough

GB prepares for U23 Championship opener

08/07/2017, 2:30pm BST
By Carli Stehle

GB Baseball’s U23 team will face host Austria today in the first game of the European Championships – but preparations have been in full swing for the past week.

The team participated in a two-day training camp at Farnham Park before journeying to Wels, Austria on Thursday where they will face Spain, Poland and the hosts, with hopes of competing in the playoffs next week in Brno, Czech Republic.

Head Coach Liam Carroll warned that competition in Pool B would be tough.

“We’re coming in expecting to have a big battle with every team. The Austrians get a lot of respect out of the gate, just as the host, and having competed in the World Cup last year.

“The Spanish are always tough – at all age groups – and then Poland is always a bit of an unknown quantity. We know that they’ll battle, but we’ll have less information on them. We’re expecting every team to be very difficult.”

Great Britain are showing some early form after an 8-1 exhibition victory over the hosts on Friday night.

Players from several British Baseball Federation (BBF) clubs, including current reigning NBL champions Southampton Mustangs, four American colleges and two international teams make up this year’s squad, with some of the Stateside players arriving just days before camp.

Two players, Jordan Edmond and Nolan Bond, have already represented Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic; others participated in the European Championships last year.

Coming Together

Carroll added the team was coming together at the right time.

“They’re starting to become a team, rather than a collection of very good players. That was my biggest concern coming in: Even though almost everybody knows each other, they arrived at the men’s level at different times, so I’m really pleased with how we’ve come together.”

Elon University junior Hayden Platt is the only player to making his debut for the Lions this year.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” he said.

“I think we all are-we get to go to a beautiful place in Austria and play. It’s a good competition. Baseball’s baseball so it’s like a common language no matter where you go.

“Even though it just hasn’t really exploded over here, hopefully it’s something that we can get going.”

Follow updates on the Lions’ progress on Twitter @GB_Baseball.

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