Friday, January 13, 2012

Baseball and Softball to have Olympic Torch Bearers

by Baseball Softball UK

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Eight thousand Olympic Torch Bearers will carry the flame on an eight thousand mile journey throughout Britain next year before the torch finally comes to rest in Olympic Park — and Manchester Softball League Head Harry Somers and Norman Wells, Honorary President of the Liverpool Trojans Baseball Club, have been selected by a special Sport England panel to be among them.

Long and winding road

LOCOG, the London Games organisers, recently announced the route that the torch will follow between May 19 and July 27, when it will pass through 1,018 cities, towns and villages. On the last day of the 70-day relay it will travel down the River Thames to Olympic Park for the Opening Ceremony.

According to LOCOG, the torch will come within 10 miles of 95% of the population. It will go through every English county and every local authority area in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Harry Somers

Harry Somers has been an active volunteer throughout the 20-year history of the Manchester Softball League (MSL). He has had a significant impact in several volunteer roles, and has been League Head for the last three years, during which time the MSL was awarded the League Glover Cup by the British Softball Federation for progressive development.

Harry has been a popular leader of the rapidly growing 27-team league. In addition to his role as League Head, Harry collates statistics from every game and makes them available online within hours, a service hugely appreciated by MSL players.

Another of Harry’s contributions is the weekly production of the MSL publication “Bases Loaded”, formerly known as the MSL Review. This high-quality publication is used in a variety of ways to celebrate league success, improve players’ game knowledge and most importantly to promote a community feeling within the MSL.

Harry Somers also played a key role in securing funding and overseeing the construction of the first purpose-built softball diamond in the North of England at Parrs Wood School and Sports Centre in Didsbury. The diamond, which has a dirt infield and permanent outfield fence, has played a key role in attracting new players to the MSL, and the GB Slowpitch Team plans to hold training sessions on the field.

Norman Wells

Norman Wells has been an active baseball player, coach and volunteer since 1946 as a founder member of the Liverpool Trojans and he is still involved as a scorer and avid spectator. His leadership, determination and drive helped re-form the Trojans after the club struggled in the late 1950s.

Norman’s vision, and the quality of baseball on Merseyside, led the club to five consecutive national finals and three British championships between 1976 and 1980 and the club continues to compete regularly at national finals.

His enthusiasm and passion for the club sees him still involved as Honorary President and at the age of 90 he scored the opening game of the Trojans’ season in 2011.

This year, Norman’s efforts have been recognised with Lifetime Achievement Awards presented by Sefton Borough Council in October and at the Merseyside Sporting Champions dinner in Liverpool on November 4.

His service to baseball has also been recognised by his peers through the highest accolade in his sport when he was inducted into the inaugural class of the British Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Few volunteers in British baseball and softball have worked as hard or done as much over a long period of time as Harry Somers and Norman Wells, and their selection as Olympic Torch Bearers is a well-earned reward.