In the just concluded softball tournament held at Obafemi Awolowo stadium in Ibadan which was supported by the United States Consulate General, Lagos ,the Excellers Hitters of Ibadan in the softball senior divison defeated Badagry Angles by 9 runs to 2 runs to win the U-16 of the 2020 District O1 Girls Softball Tournament, while Bishop Braves defeated Ibadan Acumen by 10 runs to 3 runs to win the U-12 category.

At the closing ceremony, Russell Brooks, Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate General, Lagos, commended the athletes for the level of discipline and skills exhibited.

Brooks said he was impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of both participants and spectators.

“This is my second visit to the Little League Tournament here in Ibadan, I commend the organisers of the maiden edition of this tournament”, Brooks said.

“Ten teams were drawn from Lagos, Abuja and Oyo State in this first Softball tournament dedicated to girls in Nigeria. It’s aimed at developing and improving girls participation in this wonder sport.

“This represents a great accomplishment for Nigeria and it’s a good one,” he said.

He added that two coaches from The Netherlands and one from the United States had taught participating local coaches new skills.

“These new skills will enhance their understanding of the rules and regulations that govern the sport. It was believed that the  exchange will help Nigerian coaches and athletes as they take part in future international competitions.

“The efforts of these Coaches also demonstrate the mutual understanding, respect and cooperation that has historically been a byproduct of a common appreciation for sports, good health and fair competition,” he said.

Brooks added that the United States is pleased to support the competition “as it reflects our goal to promote full gender inclusion in all aspects of our relationship with Nigerian people.”

He added that the US believes in an inclusive Nigeria that will truly be the giant of Africa.

David Adebiyi, Excellers Hitters coach, ascribed the victory to hard work and commitment, adding that the players put in their best to achieve the victory.

“We were the defending champions and I’m glad we were able to retain our title. It wasn’t an easy one but with God we did it,” he said.

Meanwhile Bishop Braves, the winner  of the Little League Softball Tournament paid visit  to both  the Chairman and the Permanent Secretary of Oyo State Teaching Service Commission(TESCOM) Pastor Akin Alamu and Mrs Bisi Grace Oderinde respectively during the week  The duo  expressed their appreciation to the Bishop Phillips Academy softball team for making Oyo State proud by bringing honour and glory to the state, the school and their parents in a tournament that was majorly sponsored  by the United States Consulate General Lagos.

The Championship comprises of Ten teams from Ibadan, Lagos and Abuja  who competed for awards, medals and trophies at  the five days’ tournament held in  two divisions.

The historic event was put together by Little League Nigeria South West District 01, headed by  Mr Kehinde Laniyan who also doubles as the Secretary General of the Nigerian Baseball and Softball Association.

L aniyan could not hold his joy and appreciation to  the  sponsors of the tournament, particularly the major sponsor, the US Consulate General, Lagos and thanked them for the huge success of the tournament. He prasied the sponsor for forgiving the Nigeria  female players for the first time in the history of softball in Nigeria the chance to express themselves  on the field of play through sports. He emphasised that this category of competition is new because it is exclusively dedicated to girls, and especially children.