Prisoners playing Baseball5 in Rome, Italy as part of 'Return to Home Plate' program

Prisoners playing Baseball5 in Rome, Italy as part of 'Return to Home Plate' program
The project, run by the Italian Baseball Softball Federation, will run four months and involve 25 prisoners.

The Italian Baseball Softball Federation (FIBS) has partnered with the National Department for Prison Administration (DAP) to introduce Baseball5 in the Rebibbia prison in Rome.

FIBS President Andrea Marcon and Secretary-General Giampiero Curti reached an agreement with Rebibbia Director Rosella Santoro in 2020. The project, named Sport in a Prison-Return to Home Plate, went on hold during the COVID-19 outbreak.

FIBS started over Sport in a Prison on 1 December. Three instructors selected by the FIBS Coach Commission, Fabio Borselli, Andrea De Angelis and Andrea Stefanoni, were joined by three umpires, Lorenzo Menicucci, Simone Minicucci and Fabrizio Bordi, and Sports Psychologist Dr Sara Biondi.

The project will run four months and include bi-weekly classes and two demonstration games, one after two months and one at the end of the project.

A total 25 prisoners participated in the first class on 3 December.

"We were off a great start," commented Borselli. "We already found a couple of participants who seem to have a lot of talent. Everyone showed enthusiasm and cannot wait for the next class."

"Some of the participants gave it a try to umpiring," said Menicucci. "They didn't show a lot of interest first, then appreciated the role."

Dr Biondi noticed some competition spirit: "It was fascinating, there were also spectators, and everybody had a lot of fun. I believe it was the right way to start the project."