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Baseball-Softball

Satara Blue Jays win the first-ever MLB Cup 2021 in India

The MLB Cup demonstrates the league's commitment to youth development and is conducted in each country where Major League Baseball has a presence.

Satara Blue Jays players and coaches with the MLB Cup 2021 trophy
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Satara Blue Jays players and coaches with the MLB Cup 2021 trophy

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 2021-12-13T18:21:40+05:30

The Satara Blue Jays won the first-ever MLB Cup 2021 in India after defeating Pune Angels 14-4 in the final in Gurugram, Haryana. Earlier in the day, Pune Angels beat Ahmednagar Athletics 17-6 in the first Semi-Final, while the Satara Blue Jays went past Kolhapur Braves 14-3 in the second semifinal.

The youth tournament was conducted for the first time in India from 10 December 2021 to 12 December 2021. The MLB Cup, which demonstrates MLB's commitment to youth development and is a part of the League's larger initiative to have significant growth in participation levels for baseball in the country, is conducted in each of the countries in which Major League Baseball has a presence in.

A total of 12 teams namely Satara Blue Jays, Pune Angels, Malappuram White Sox, Pondicherry Mets, Kolhapur Braves, Malappuram Tigers, Indore Red Sox, Delhi Dodgers, Ahmednagar Athletics, Indore Pirates, Hyderabad Cubs, and Srinagar Rockies competed in the inaugural edition of the MLB Cup 2021 in Gurugram, Haryana.

The sides came from all over the country. There were four teams from Maharashtra, two from Madhya Pradesh (Indore), two from Kerala, one from Hyderabad (Telangana), one from Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir), one from Delhi, and one from Puducherry. Each of the 12 teams consisted of 12 players with boys and girls playing together for the same side.

Speaking about MLB Cup 2021, David Palese, Baseball Development Manager, India said, "It was fantastic to host the first MLB Cup in India and great to see the boys and girls enjoy themselves playing baseball over the course of three days. This tournament was a great opportunity for the kids to enjoy the game of baseball through an MLB experience. We hope that the coaches, umpires, parents, and most importantly the players, had a great time and we would certainly look to host more tournaments in the future."

Dinesh Patel, who was one of the first Indian-born athletes to sign a contract with an MLB club when he signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 2008, attended the MLB Cup 2021 as a guest and also interacted with the participants. When asked about the event, Patel said, "Major League Baseball has done a tremendous job by hosting the MLB Cup 2021.

The tournament provided a brilliant platform to many children from around the country to show their talent and I was very fortunate to be here and witness this tournament. The children are very skillful baseball players and I am sure their experience here at the MLB Cup 2021 will provide a huge boost to their aspirations of becoming professional baseball players in the future."

Tanaya Sachin Pawar, who is from Pune, expressed her excitement about participating in the MLB Cup 2021, "My experience of playing in the MLB Cup was excellent. I liked everything about the MLB Cup and I feel baseball is a unique game. I am lucky to have a chance to play this game and to be here in the tournament."

Lokesh Reddy, who is from Hyderabad, also spoke about his experience at the MLB Cup, "This tournament was a great experience for us. It was really nice to play in such a tournament at a young age. I liked the equipment we got during the competition. We had a very good time."

The participants of the MLB Cup 2021 were provided with accommodation and to and fro travel to Gurugram from their hometowns. The teams were also provided with meals, uniforms, and equipment during their stay in Gurugram.

Since setting up their office in India in 2019, MLB India initiated the MLB First Pitch grassroots program, which has given a fantastic opportunity to primary school children to understand and grasp the sport with guidance from MLB International coaches. MLB India also conducted online coaching and training lessons for baseball coaches to develop the game of baseball in India.

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