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It’s home sweet home for Telford Giants

Baseball came home for Telford Giants as the pioneering amateur club enjoyed a debut appearance on their brand new home pitch.

Telford Giant's Jackal Luk connects at the team's first ever match on their new home Meadow Recreation Ground
Telford Giant's Jackal Luk connects at the team's first ever match on their new home Meadow Recreation Ground

Tireless work from the club’s volunteers and members has gone into securing and building the infield and outfield at the Meadow Recreation Ground in Coalbrookdale.

And the official opening on Sunday was fittingly marked with a thriller on the field, where in the sweltering heat Telford Giants men’s team contested a rip-roaring 10-10 draw following a stunning fight-back against the club’s first ever visitors Long Eaton Storm.

Giants were champions of the West Midlands League – a new division launched independently from the English Baseball Federation – in their debut campaign last year, as the team were able to play some fixtures following the easing of lockdown. They played their home matches at rivals Wolverhampton.

But now they have a purpose-built baseball field to call their own, which is something the county’s previous baseball club Shropshire Panthers, who played for five years in the 2000s, had no access to.

Members, volunteers and onlookers who enjoyed the first official fixture played on a home pitch in Shropshire were treated to a feast as Telford Giants, a team made up from several cultures and nationalities where baseball is a leading sport, fought back courageously from 9-2 down to force the tie after extra innings.

Centre fielder Will Walters early double run saw the home side push into a 2-0 lead but, after just four innings, Long Eaton had battled back to fly into a commanding 9-2 lead.

However, by the sixth innings of a breathless contest, the scoreline was 10-9 to the visitors after some big hitting from Telford.

Giants shortstop Arnas Stasiunas’ two-run home run helped them back into the match before hits from pitcher Harry Pickup and second baseman Jackal Luk had their side hot on the heels of the Derbyshire visitors.

In the seventh innings, with Giants on their final out, Stasiunas raced home on an errant pitch to bring the score level at 10-10.

Some excelling pitching from Giants star Charlie Mayhew ensured Storm went scoreless in innings seven and eight, also securing three strikeouts. Both sides agreed the 10-10 scoreline was a fair outcome.

Interim club president Jack Pollard said: “The Ironbridge field has been a difficult, tiring and costly exercise for those involved with the club so to see it operational was a great relief for all at the club.

“It will be an excellent facility for their league side, their women’s team and their development squad for both fixtures and training.”

The club this year launched their pioneering all-women’s team, Telford 26ers, the first in a region competing in a brand new UK women’s league – the first of its kind in 80 years.

Anybody interested in following the club’s fortunes or learning more can search ‘Telford Giants’ on Facebook. Members range in experience levels and there are sides for all ages.

The teams train at their new Meadow Recreation Ground home on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6.30pm.

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