The United States Consulate-supported Little League Nigeria 2019 Baseball Tournament ended on Wednesday at the Oval Pitch Section of the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Ibadan Excellers from Oyo State prevailed over the Akure Owena team from Ondo State by a score of 12 to 5 to emerge winners of the 2019 edition of the tournament. Toluwani Hassan from Akure Owena team was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
Delivering remarks at the closing ceremony of the tournament, U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer Russell Brooks described the game of baseball as a favorite American pastime.
He noted that the U.S. Consulate is pleased to share an aspect of American culture with Nigerian youth, their parents and coaches who share a similar passion for the game.
According to him, baseball offers the youth an opportunity to learn valuable life-lessons, including the importance of teamwork, cooperation, communication and leadership skills.
In addition to playing and enjoying the game of baseball, Brooks encouraged the young players to take their academic pursuits seriously and stay off juvenile delinquencies.
“If you do well in the classroom as well as on the baseball field, I am confident that an incredible world of opportunity will open up to you: opportunities to travel, to study overseas, and to represent your country in international competitions.
“There will be opportunities to network with incredibly successful people and you may possibly find a place in one of the most lucrative industries worldwide –sports and entertainment,” Brooks said at the event attended by senior Oyo State government representatives, sports administrators and faculty from leading Nigerian universities.
With the support of the U.S. Consulate, 12 teams from Abuja, Lagos, Kwara, Ekiti, Ondo and Oyo states competed in this year’s tournament, which ran from April 12 to April 17.
Former U.S. Major League Baseball catcher, Raymond Thomas and DC Knights Youth Sports coach, Gerard Hall, travelled to Nigeria to assist both players and coaches during the tournament.
Little League Nigeria’s Baseball Tournament introduced baseball to underprivileged Nigerian youth beginning in 2013. The League allows youth aged 9-16, to play and enjoy the games of baseball and softball.