Softball in Slovakia is dying says the coach of Slovak women’s under-22 national team. They didn’t come to Pardubice this year only to compete for medals, Dusan Borbely also believes they will contribute to recovery of softball in his country.
Q: Congratulations on the victory, how do you feel minutes after such a big success?
A: Thank you very much. I just told the players, I think this is the game that every player or coach can dream of. Since I started to play baseball, I dreamed about a game like that. For us, it’s a giant leap and a huge thing to defeat the Czechs. That never happened before.
Q: You started with Gombikova as your pitcher even though Rampackova may be more experienced. Why?
A: I don’t prefer one or the other. Gombikova made a great progress during last year. She worked hard and I believe she will be able to play in the Czech Extraliga next season. Now she plays the juniors’ league for Storms. I believe in her and I also wanted Dominika to play the more difficult games regarding her experience.
Q: Today, you played two good games. At first against the Netherlands, now you’ve beaten the hosts. How far is a medal position for your team now?
A: Well, sure we dream about it since we started our winter pre-season. Since we got this team together, we told ourselves what our goal is. Softball in Slovakia Softball in Slovakia is dying. We only have 150 players in our country. If you love something like your family, you fight for it until your last breath. More or less, we fight for our family here and that’s what we told ourselves before the tournament. Regardless how it will end here, I believe the girls will continue to play softball. Some of the players play in Kunovice (Czech extraliga team), several others play the Czech juniors’ league.
Q: That seems to be a way to build a future national team out of great players...
A: Yes, for sure. I’m sure it helps a lot that the girls play decent leagues lead by good coaches with experience. I can hardly compare myself with some of them. We have three teams at home, one league. My theory is that when these girls get as old as I am today, they could start and lead new teams and this could restore softball in Slovakia. I said it before. First goal is to start an academy for young kids. That is something that I would like to put all my effort in now and I hope that these girls will help me.
Q: Does Euroleague help the Slovak softball?
A: I have to say yes, it does. There are girls that don’t play elsewhere and that’s where they can try to play tough games. Vienna has a great team with good pitchers; even the Croats have a decent pitching. Especially the young girls can learn from these games and their progress is starting to be visible. They see a fast pitch and they know they can time it. You can learn technique, but you always need to see it for real.
-Martin Voltr, Marek Kratochvíl-