Hartlepool baseball team which hasn't won game in five years appeals for new members as founder seeks rare victory before retiring
A Hartlepool baseball team is launching an awareness and recruitment drive as its founder looks to secure an elusive win before finally hanging up his glove.
The Hartlepool Seals have their own field of dreams at Seaton Carew Park where team members and youngsters with a passion for the game train once a week.
For the last eight years, club manager and founder Paul Smith has tried to build a team that can hold its own against the big boys in the Northern Baseball League.
But the Seals have not won a game for around five years after their last victory against Sunderland back in 2016.
Paul recently turned 50 but does not want to retire until notching up one last victory, and is appealing for new members from the town to help boost their ranks and chances.
He said: “I’m getting on a bit so am trying to find some younger players to take over.
"In the Northern League we go to Durham and Newcastle where we can hold our own but not for the past three or four years have we got anything other than a drubbing.
"They have got the universities to draw on so they will get people from America, Venezuela; the big baseball areas.
“As a little town in Hartlepool we struggle. I turn 50 this season and I should really be retiring from play but I keep slogging on.
"It would be good to get that final win and I can hang my glove up for good.”
Paul, who works for Cleveland Police, previously played for Hartlepool Warriors baseball team started by a bunch of ‘misfits’ at Hartlepool College of Further Education.
They travelled the country but, like the Seals, had little success.
Still having a love for the sport, in 2012 he started junior sessions at Summerhill Visitors Centre with mixed success in little league games.
Paul added: “There are baseball fans right across Cleveland. We’ve got about 15 or 16 in the Seals including people who come from Guisborough and Stockton. It is having that Hartlepool contingent.”
Hartlepool Seals train on Tuesdays at Seaton Carew Park from 6.30pm and players of all ages and ability are welcome.
Anyone interested in finding out more can just turn up or see the club’s Facebook page.