Taba Lower Secondary School (TLSS) beat Dechencholing Higher Secondary School (DHSS), 14 – 11, to win the first ever Under 15 Bhutan Amateur Baseball League (BABL) in Thimphu.
Bhutan Baseball and Softball Association (BBSA) which is the governing body of baseball and softball in the country in collaboration with its league sponsor, Nangyi Aum Restaurant started the league from 18 December, 2021.
The league consisted of one division, the Thimphu Amateur Baseball Division (TABD) with 5 schools, 90 athletes, 15 officials and volunteers.
The five participating schools were Changangkha Middle Secondary School, DHSS, Thimphu Primary School, Druk School and TLSS.
Marvin Moore, Director of Baseball Operation for BBSA and an international coach said, “The final was way better than I thought and it is just a matter of time for Bhutan to play some international tournament.”
Their objective of the league is to develop and prepare young players aged 15 and under for dzongkhag clubs and senior leagues whilst promoting the health and social benefits to playing baseball and softball in Bhutan. Promotion and popularizing baseball and softball is also their motive in organizing such tournaments.
Technical Head for BBSA, Sanjeevan Raj Gurung shares, “The under 15 tournament has been a learning process for us as it has provided with necessary knowledge and a way forward for baseball in Bhutan.”
He added that there have been drastic improvements in the players since the initial tournament and trainings and says that there is potential in Bhutanese youth and for the game to thrive in the country.
Jigdrel Penjor, 14, who captains TLSS said, “I am extremely happy that we have won the final and I am grateful to the school and the coach for their unwavering support to the team.”
While Dechen Tshomo who captains the runners-up team says that they will come stronger next time and thanks the organizers for the thrilling experience.
The league consisted of a regular season and playoffs where the games were played during weekends with an official game being 7 innings in length and the league lasted for almost six months due to Covid-19 and lockdown.
BBSA conducts training amongst the member of the association every Sunday.
From 2023, the association plans to focus in other dzongkhags and conduct similar leagues and tournaments. They have plans to start under-18 baseball league for both male and female by the end of August, 2022 with around 7 participating schools.
Through such tournaments and trainings, the association intends to form national team to compete in the international arena.