A baseball team that encourages adults and children to play the American sport in Hartlepool is on the up.
The Hartlepool Seals have just been granted official permission by council chiefs to call Seaton Park their home for games and practice.
A section of the park will be marked out as a baseball and softball pitch when the side plays and trains between April and September.
The Seals run a little league baseball team for youngsters aged seven and over, and also the variant softball for adults.
Hartlepool Seals manager Paul Smith said: “The Hartlepool Seals are wanting to get as many people involved as possible.
“The sport is a great leveller for children who have no interest in typical English sport such as football and rugby.
“Baseball is a great way to get them involved, make new friends and get active.
“We finally have permission to make Seaton Park our home ground to play competitors in the Northern Baseball League.
“Baseball and softball currently have the most participants the sport has ever had in England and will be in the next Olympics.”
The Hartlepool Seals have just come to the end of their fifth season.
This summer, they have travelled the country playing teams. Two of their juniors Leison Smith and Jack Lambton were chosen to play in a team representing the North of England at a tournament at Menwith Hill American air force base.
The council’s Neighbourhood Services Department agreed unanimously to the Seals’ request to use Seaton park on two evenings a week and each Sunday afternoon from April to September.
The majority of residents in Allendale Street nearest the pitch were said to be in favour of the proposal.
The Seals also have the backing of Seaton ward councillors and the Friends of Seaton Park.
Paul added: “We hope to have the pitching mound and backstops and outfield markings by spring of next year.
“As well as training sessions in the winter, we hope to get as many people involved in an indoor tournament which will be junior and adult.”
The Seals recruit new members all year round, young and old, male and female.
For more information visit www.hartlepoolseals.com or Hartlepool Seals on Facebook.