How will the team prepare for the tournament?
On 28th May we have our annual All-Star Game, which like other federations, includes the national team versus an all-star team from the top domestic league (National Baseball League). This year, our focus for this game is to provide opportunities for our U23 players to showcase their abilities before we make final selections for the European Championship.
Our final roster will gather near London a week in advance of the tournament for several days of practice, where we’re also hoping to run some clinics to help raise awareness of the U23 National Team and to help fulfil GB Baseball’s Mission, to Inspire, Develop & Perform. We’ll then fly to Austria for final preparations including competition against Austria.
What are the goals for the team at the U23 Championships?
The U23 goals included in the Mission & Vision we published a couple of years ago were to win medals and qualify for the World Championship by 2020. I am excited about the group of players we have and believe we can push to achieve these goals at this year’s tournament.
What are your expectations on the opponents in preliminary round (Group B)?
We expect a tough group and a real fight to finish top two. I have tremendous respect for the programmes that we’ll face; Spain is a perennial European power, and we’ve had some excellent battles against Poland through the years at all age groups. And, as the hosts and fresh off a World Championship appearance, I think everyone expects a strong Austrian team.