`

School crowned as England’s baseball champions after competition performance

North East Schools Baseball tournament, Westlea Primary School
North East Schools Baseball tournament, Westlea Primary School

A primary school has been crowned the best baseball team in the country after claiming more regional tournaments than any of its competitors.

Westlea Primary School in Seaham has taken the honour after its superb performance in competitions involving the sport.

North East Schools Baseball tournament, Westlea Primary School. Hollie Rochester

North East Schools Baseball tournament, Westlea Primary School. Hollie Rochester

The North East leads the way nationally with more schools participating in the “Play Ball Programme” which involves grassroots baseball and softball, covering basic core skills such as throwing, catching, striking, hand-eye co-ordination skills an base running with the values of teamwork.

This year also saw Westlea collect two additional Regional awards, The Regional MVP honour which was taken by Paige Whitfield, and Regional Most Improved Player for Jamie Moore.

This is the first time in 20 years that any school has won all three regional titles.

The children train an hour before school starts with many practicing after school in their own time.

North East Schools Baseball tournament, Westlea Primary School team with coach Steve Huntley

North East Schools Baseball tournament, Westlea Primary School team with coach Steve Huntley

Headteacher and class teacher Paula Appleton has helped to coach the team and without her support the children would not have had an opportunity to participate in what is seen as a non-traditional sport.

The North East region covers five counties and has 24 teams participating each season.

In 2019, organisers hope to arrange a one-off challenge called the “Champions of Champions” between Westelea and Tyne and Wear regional winners of six titles Hasting Hill Primary School, in Sunderland.

Steve Huntley, director of Multisports UK who run and sponsor the tournaments each year, said: “The standard of baseball and softball in our primary schools in the North East is second to none and something we all should be proud of.

North East Schools Baseball tournament, Westlea Primary School. Paige Whitfield

North East Schools Baseball tournament, Westlea Primary School. Paige Whitfield

“The support from many schools is fantastic giving a new breed of children to become mini Babe Ruths, the most famous baseball player ever.

“We are looking at developing a senior schools baseball tournament for boys and girls in years 7 and 8 from only four schools in the region, so if your school is interested please contact me.”

Any school which would like further information on the Baseball Playball programme, which open to boys and girls in Years 5 and 6 should contact Multisports UK on 07886863094.

North East Schools Baseball tournament, Westlea Primary School. Owen Wilson

North East Schools Baseball tournament, Westlea Primary School. Owen Wilson