In 2009, BaseballSoftballUK embarked on a journey of facility improvement for the two sports, guided by its 2010-17 Baseball and Softball Facilities Strategy.
Three years after starting the project, BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK) opened the country’s first purpose-built baseball and softball complex at Farnham Park Sports Ground in Buckinghamshire during the first week of June 2013 with school, league and tournament softball play – and to great acclaim. One long-time player said: “The sport has finally grown up!”
The Official Opening for the Farnham Park facilities was held on 20 July 2013, with over 500 people in attendance, a ceremony chaired by sports media personality Colin Murray and baseball, fastpitch softball and slowpitch softball all being played on site. Over the remainder of the 2013 season, the fields were used for National Championship events in both baseball and softball as well as league and tournament play, development sessions and national team training, and it’s clear that having dedicated fields has brought about a sea change in players’ perceptions of the sports.
The facility has also been built to accommodate extensive use by the local community through a range of local development programmes, as well as by domestic league and tournament competitions – and eventually international events.
In 2017, a second full-sized baseball diamond was added and a clubhouse opened, the main feature of which is Home Plate Bar and Kitchen, providing a dedicated place for players and spectators to eat, drink, relax and socialise at baseball and softball events.
BSUK’s development at Farnham Park consists of six fields – four that can be used for softball or youth baseball and two international-specification full-sized baseball diamonds. Additional grass pitches under the control of South Bucks District Council or other sports clubs on site are available for larger softball tournament events.