Local baseball club now based at City’s training ground
Exeter City’s Cat & Fiddle training ground hosted its inaugural baseball match recently, as Exeter Spitfires – our city’s baseball team – played their first match at their new home by hosting Taunton Muskets.
City’s groundstaff constructed a pitcher’s mound to sit within the diamond, and vice-chairman Julian Tagg was even given the honour of pitching the first ball!
Exeter Spitfires was originally established in 2000, but had to fold in 2003 as three of the other four league teams withdrew from the league and left no opposition to play. However following the emergence of teams in Bristol, Torbay and Plymouth, the club was re-established in 2012 and played their first season in the newly-formed South West Baseball League.
The club have always sported the nickname ‘Spitfires’ in memoriam and to honour to the Polish pilots of 307 Squadron, who bravely helped defend the country by flying Spitfires out of Exeter Airport during the Second World War.
A full comprehensive history of the club’s early years and all of last season’s stats can be found at www.exeterspitfires.co.uk.
Baseball and Exeter have stronger ties than many people may know about. Henry Chadwick, often known as the ‘father of baseball’, was born in the St Thomas parish of Exeter in 1824 and later emigrated to the USA. He went on to unify the rules of baseball across the USA, wrote the first guide to the game and devised the way that baseball was recorded and scored. Chadwick was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1938.
Unfortunately the Spitfires couldn’t cap their first appearance at their new home with a win, as the Muskets triumphed 17-3 on the afternoon on a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon. But it didn’t dampen the occasion for anyone involved.
Exeter City vice-chairman Julian Tagg, who helped the Spitfires to facilitate their move to the Cat & Fiddle, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to establish a link with another local sports club by providing the home venue for our local baseball team.
“The reach of Exeter City into different parts of the community is expanding all the time, and this affiliation with Exeter Spitfires helps that. Baseball shares a lot of the same principles as football and can be a great alternative for youngsters that aren’t into football but want to continue in sports participation.”
Would you like to ‘try your arm’ at baseball? Contact Neale Raleigh on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The Spitfires welcome males and females – there is currently a female in their first team.