The Lithuanian team consistently had three female players in play which remarks the inclusive spirit of Baseball5.
Despite having a WBSC Men’s Baseball World Rankings of 37, 46 in Women’s Softball and 34 in Men’s Softball, Lithuania has become one of the sensations of the WBSC Baseball5 World Cup for being a non-traditional baseball or softball nation playing at the best of its powers, including a fantastic performance and victory against powerhouse Japan.
The European vice-champions have been one of the amazing stories of this inaugural edition of Baseball5’s showpiece event after beating Japan in the Opening Round. That ended up being their zenith because after winning two of their five Opening Round matches – against Japan and Hong Kong – they lost all Placement Round matches to finish 11th in the tournament.
But it was more than results on the field that counted for this young Lithuanian team.
Anke Paskeviciute considers “it’s very important to show that women in sport are not a minority. I believe there’s no other sport that includes men and women at the same time, this discipline proves that man and woman can be equally important.”
“We can be included in the same team as men and that is very important for us. We feel really important here”, affirmed Nomeda Neverauskaite.
Ugne Kucinskaite, meanwhile, highlighted that while a lot of attention has been made about how inclusive and popular Baseball5 is, especially being the first mixed-gender Olympic sport, there’s more to the sport which is taking the world by storm.
“At this point of the tournament, reaching the end, having the right mentality and be focused is pretty important and that is not about the gender,” she said. “Baseball5 is a very unique and intense sometimes the strategy is more important than strength. It’s a perfect sport for both genres.”
For Neverauskaite one of the best things about Baseball5 is that is the weather is not a factor to practice it. “In winter we play inside and in summer we play outside. Two years in a row we had winter Baseball5 championships to prepare for the World Cup.
“In 2020, one team played Baseball5 in the street with the snow at zero degrees. Baseball5 can beat any weather.
“You can play it in schools. That will help to develop it faster and during the whole year, inside and outside”, said Nomeda.
“Actually you don’t need equipment except for the ball,” said Paskeviciute. “So it’s very easy to make a court and just play.”
The Lithuanian team finished the tournament on Saturday with a 2-0 loss to Kenya but that didn’t dampen their spirits. They were proud to leave their indelible mark on the Baseball5 World Cup maiden edition that goes beyond the results on the field, proving that Baseball5 is one of the most youth-attractive sports in the world.