MONTPELLIER, France — A selection of players from Cuba won the first edition of the BatBall baseball for the blind tournament, organized by the Physical Education Department of the University of Montpellier. It was the very first time a team from Cuba played baseball for the blind in Europe.
A home run by Maykel Rodriguez helped give the Cuban athletes a 2-1 championship victory.
The Cuban squad, backed by the Cuban Baseball Federation and INDER, defeated the all-stars of Italy’s Association Baseball for the Blind (AIBxC) league, which is under the Italian Baseball Softball Federation (FIBS).
The BatBall was a 4-team tournament funded by the European Union through project Erasmus+ Sport.
The French teams didn’t score a run against the AIBxC or Cuban clubs; however, the all-French match (Bandits beat Pau/Montepellier 4-1) could be the beginning of a new chapter in the history of baseball for the blind and lead to a French League.
AIBxC helped to develop a team in Cuba through a successful instruction/introduction programme in February 2017, which made worldwide headlines: http://www.reuters.tv/v/SzJ/2017/05/26/baseball-for-the-blind-leads-off-in-cuba.
WBSC collaborates with AIBxC on various projects, including blind baseball progammes in Guatemala.
AIBxC has been one of the big success stories of baseball for the blind. It was founded by former Italian Baseball League marquee player Alfredo Meli (1944-2010) in 1994. The 2017 AIBxC league championship featured 10 teams. The Patrini Malnate (in the Milan area) won the championship game against Fiorentina (Florence).