Ministry for Gozo funds THE PITCHING & BATTING CENTRE

Although softball and baseball can be considered as alien sports for Gozo, over the past nine years the Ghajnsielem Redcoats sports club has generated much interest from girls and boys from all over the island. It is rather amazing that over four hundred individuals have played this sport with the Club for at least a season over these years.

While regular practices are held on Saturdays at the Ghajnsielem Football Ground, the Club also used to have access to the playground of the Ghajnsielem Primary School. The three mid-week sessions that were held at this venue were very important for our coaches and players as these involved individualised training which helped the players to improve considerably.

Following the introduction of the measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in March 2020, the Club was however denied access to the school premises. This was a major set-back as the multi-sport sessions for children 4 to 6 year olds and for those 7 to 11 year olds had to be discontinued as a result, while softball and baseball sessions were restricted to Saturday afternoons.

Practicing just once per week limited the ability of the coaches to develop their players. Effectively, the lack of a dedicated softball/baseball field was putting at risk the very existence of the Club as it was very difficult to operate as a sports organisation without access to a dedicated facility.

A temporary solution was identified by the Executive Committee which involved setting up a permanent batting cage. This would enable the Club to have mid-week practices where focus would be on batting and pitching, along with individualised training, whereas the Saturday sessions would focus on other aspects of the game. An area was made available to the disposal of the Redcoats by the Ghajnsielem Football Club.

Through the Ministry for Gozo Promotion of Sports Initiatives and Facilities Scheme 2021, the Club applied for and obtained funding to finance the purchase of the equipment necessary to set up a batting cage, including artificial turf surface and some advanced technology equipment as well. The area was in a rather dilapidated state, and if it was not for the assistance of the Ghajnsielem Local Council, with the cooperation of the works department of the Ministry for Gozo, it would not have been possible to clean it up and to make it safe and secure for the use of the Redcoats.

The project is now at a very advanced stage with the Club hoping to start using the new facility by the end of next week.

The Ghajnsielem Redcoats would like to thank Minister for Gozo, Hon Clint Camilleri, Permanent Secretary Mr John Borg and Director Ms Joyce Farrugia, along with their staff for their continuous support. Ghajnsielem Mayor, Mr Kevin Cauchi, Vice Mayor Mr Franco Ciangura and the rest of the Local Council along with their very dedicated staff did their very utmost to ensure that the facility was rendered safe and secure for the Club in time to be used in preparation for very important upcoming softball National Championship games. Ghajnsielem Football Club President Mr Jonathan Borg, Secretary Mr Jason Vella and the members of their committee provided the area that was just about big enough to set up the batting cage. Thank you!

The softball and baseball players along with their coaches are excited and very much looking forward to start making use of THE BATTING & PITCHING CENTRE of the Ghajnsielem Redcoats.

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