Softball life: Enikő Gergely, Hungary


Hi my name is Eniko and i have been playing softball in Hungary for 11 years. Currently i am pitcher and third base but i have played almost all the positions before. I started to play for the Szentendre Sleepwalkers baseball and softball club where i played for 8 years but around three years ago our team decided to move on because we didn’t see long term opportunities in Szentendre anymore. We became part of the Budapest Reds that was established by a former Sleepwalkers player. He built a field for their kids and their newly formed youth baseball team. With our men's baseball and women's softball team the Reds became one of the biggest clubs in Hungary dominating all the Hungarian Championships: all of our 5 teams won their own championship last year.

I was fortunate to play for the Amsterdam Pirates for a few month during my Erasmus exchange semester at the University of Amsterdam. I learned a lot there and i am still very thankful for their hospitality and the opportunity i was given. During my stay in Amsterdam I was able to see how much difference is in the size of the sport between countries in Europe. The Pirates itself is almost as big as our whole baseball and softball community in Hungary. Here - as in many other countries in Europe - baseball and softball are not too popular and most of the people doesn't even know anything about our sport. Many clubs are working hard to make baseball and softball more popular, for example we are running a school program in cooperation with many elementary schools to play baseball and softball at schools.

When i started to play softball we had 6 teams in Hungary. Unfortunately there are teams disappearing but sometimes they start playing again thus having 4-6 teams in our championship every year. The level of our national championship is not too high but we also participate in Euro league where we can play against Slovakian and Croatian teams and this year we also joined the Croatian championship.

Since there is no championship for youth all the players play in one division which means we have players from age 13 to age 40 and it is the same for our National Team. The national team had not been changed much in the last many years, most of the players were the same. Unfortunately we could not participate two years ago at the ECh and after four years of break many players from the old team stopped playing. This year we have many young girls on the roster which i think is really good for the development of softball in Hungary and we expect to play good games at the European Championship.

Eniko


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