Olympic coach will throw our way

Local fast-pitch softball hopes to benefit from a former Olympic coach.

The Cayman Islands Softball Association intends to bring Michael Bastian to Cayman in two months to work with local players. The goal, according to the association’s 2013 fast-pitch league coordinator Marlon Thomas, is to bolster enthusiasm among the youth ranks.

“The association will now try and focus on bringing Mr. Bastian and a female college softball player in November,” Thomas said. “They will conduct some clinics, especially for kids, so we will need assistance to accomplish this.

“Mr. Bastian is the former coach of the Chinese female Olympic team. The association will be trying to work along with coach Bastian’s softball school in identifying prospects and even assisting with possible scholarships and/or allocation to colleges.”

Bastian, 51, coached China’s female softball team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His squad went 2-5 to finish sixth out of eight teams. Since then, the California native has focused his efforts on running a softball academy, called The Fastpitch School, based in his current hometown of Reno, Nevada.

The academy, which has a branch in Texas, stages coach and player clinics around the world. It also prides itself on getting young women playing top level collegiate softball in the US. Among the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division One schools that have accepted academy members are the University of Florida, University of Nebraska and Brown University.

News of Bastian, who has been to these shores in the past, comes as the local fast-pitch league wraps up play. The men’s division will start its playoffs on Sunday, Sept. 21, as Bradimir Robinson and the Redimix Patriots battle Donald Watler’s Latinos for the right to face Mel Omier and the Jose’s Escape Pirates in the finals.

The women’s segment ended this summer with Stephanie Watler and the Cayman Auto Diagnostic Clinic Stingers earning their second consecutive championship.