Lincolnshire’s only recognised baseball team is preparing for its debut season, and is on a recruitment drive ahead of the campaign, so The Lincolnite went to try out one of America’s most loved sports.
Wragby Warhammers were formed in April 2021, and in a matter of weeks they had their pitch ready on the playing field that also hosts Wragby Football Club.
Baseball is a sport on the rise in the UK, with participation levels across the country reaching 22,500 for both baseball and softball in this country in 2020.
It is widely regarded as a predominantly North American sport, despite evolving from older bat-and-ball games in England in the mid-18th century.
Baseball consists of two teams of nine players each, who take turns batting and fielding, with the aim of the game to advance around all four bases on the pitch to score a point. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game wins.
Given the sport’s rise in popularity across the country, The Lincolnite decided to go and play with the Wragby Warhammers to learn more about the game and test out some skills.
Reporter Ellis Karran had a go at pitching, catching, hitting the ball and running between bases, the four key elements of baseball.
He said: “I had so much fun you wouldn’t believe it. At one point I jokingly said it felt like I’d found my calling in life because I’ve never picked up the basic technique of a sport that quickly before.
“I’d recommend baseball to anyone who wants to find a new hobby or activity, it’s social and exciting, and it feels so good when you make clean contact with the ball as you swing your bat.”
The Warhammers are recruiting for more players ahead of the season, which starts in April and will see the Lincolnshire outfit travel as far as Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool in the Northern Baseball League.
They have amassed around 15 players for the team so far, and are on the look out for more to flesh out the squad ahead of what promises to be an exciting campaign for Lincolnshire’s only baseball side.
It will be their first season as a recognised baseball team, having played a few friendlies last year, beating everyone in their path, and Lee Laughton, 1st base and co-founder, is “extremely confident” that their debut year will be a real home run.
He told The Lincolnite: “We’ve been training hard over winter, which is unusual for baseball teams but we want to be ready for the season.
“Our coach Matt Sutton is an ex-rugby coach and he’s really been working us hard over the last few months, we won all three friendlies last year and are ready to take on anyone.”
The team are currently fundraising for development of their ground, with the vision of creating run tracks between the bases, adding more fencing and building a clubhouse to make the pitch “more benefitting of league baseball”.
So far, around £700 of the £1,000 goal has been raised, and you can donate to the GoFundMe page here.
Training takes place at Wragby Football Field, otherwise known as Hammer Park, every Sunday between 1 and 3pm, with people of all abilities and genders welcome.
If you are interested in taking up baseball and joining the team, visit the Wragby Warhammers Facebook page and send them a message.
See more photos from our session with the Warhammers, taken by Steve Smailes: