Thursday, March 18, 2010

Youth tournament return after 14 years

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Wed, 03/17/2010 9:31 AM | Headlines

Having missed out on hosting the South East Asia Youth Baseball Softball (SEAYBST) since 1996 for security reasons, Jakarta has welcomed the event that gathers together prodigal young players from across the region and Australia.

Hosted by the Jakarta Youth Baseball Association (JYBA), the annual baseball and softball tournament runs from March 21 to 27 at the Senayan baseball and softball field in Central Jakarta, and includes teams from Perth, Bangkok, Singapore, Jakarta and Manila.

The organizers say 27 teams comprising all-star players from each city will take part in the event, as will more than 200 tournament officials, coaches and parents.

Teams from Jakarta are already hitting the diamond for training, while 20 other teams will be arrive Saturday and Sunday.

“The competition here is going to be very strong,” tournament director Tom Thrasher told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

“Singapore and Manila are always very good, Perth and Bangkok are always dangerous, and we think this year the Jakarta teams are very, very competitive.

“We’re looking forward to seeing them do well, and we hope to see them in the championship game on Saturday.”

The field is split up into five age-based draws: boys and girls from 11 to 18 will play in the Minor Boys Baseball (up to 13 years old), Major Boys Baseball (up to 15 years old), Senior Boys Baseball (up to 19 years old), Major Girls Softball (up to 15 years old) and Senior Girls Softball (up to 19 years old).
Each team will play at least one game on every day of the tournament, which culminates with the championship games on the final two days of the event.

Jakarta has seven teams participating in the tournament, while Manila has six, Singapore has five, Bangkok has three and Perth has six.

The rosters of the Jakarta teams include Americans, Japanese and Indonesian players.

“I like baseball because it’s fair,” said 13-years-old Divaresa Abil during a final training session at the Senayan baseball diamond Tuesday.

“The failure of one player is the team’s failure. You can’t blame any individuals. That’s what I mean by fairness in baseball.”

Teammate Ahmad Abda’oe said he was very excited about being part of the country all-star team.
“I believe our team is good and I hope we make it into the championship game on the final day,” said the 13-year-old.

The tournament was conceived by the South East Asian Youth Baseball and Softball Association in 1991. The five founding countries take turns hosting the event.

“Besides the competition at the tournament, the fact that we have 27 international teams participating, and that they represent the best youth players in Southeast Asia, we’re very proud to host the tournament in Jakarta for the first time since 1996,” Thrasher said.

“We’re in a great position to be able to host it now. We’ve been working for nearly a year for the tournament. We believe we’re now on the road toward hosting it on a regular basis.”

Last year, Singapore ended Manila’s three-year reign as overall tournament champion by topping three of five divisions in the event. Singapore swept the three boys’ draws, while Manila ruled the girls’ draws.

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