Please introduce yourself.
My name is Gil Alon and I'm 17 years old. I live in a place called Misgav in the north of Israel. I play for the softball club 'Twisters' and the Israeli national team. My team participates in the men's B division where we finished second last year. We hope to get better and make it to the A division this year. I'm playing softball since five years and I'm part of the national team since two years. My positions are catcher and second base. I also like photography which means I bring my camera to every game and tournament.

What made you want to play softball?
My father had an American friend with who he grew up and introduced him to the game. Since I was young we watched baseball together. When I heard there was a baseball program in Israel (eight years ago), I joined it and five years later I moved to the softball team because I was impressed by the level of players and coaches.

Can you tell me something about softball in your country?
Softball is not famous here but it is an upward trend. The young boys and girls are working hard and practice a lot. In the men's league there are two divisions and the women have one. The Israeli softball federation is hosting two International tournaments every year. The level in each tournament is getting better than the one before.

How often do you practice with the national team and what do they look like?
For the European Championship last year, we met once in two weeks. We focussed on on team defense mainly like cut-off plays, bunt defense etc. Besides that we had a few scrimmages so we can face the best pitcher in our country and work on our hitting techniques. We all also had our club team practices and a fitness program that helped us all to get in shape.

What's your best experience with the national team so far?
In the 2017 European Championship we took a medal for the first time in a very long time. After Croatia beated us in the last inning in 2015, we got them back and beat them to win the bronze medal in 2017. Besides the fun of winning a medal, it was one of the greatest experiences I had as a ball player due to the high level of playing and the amazing people I went there with.

What is your goal for the 2018 season?
My goal for the 2018 season is to keep working hard, get better and keep enjoying the game. My goal for the season as a team member is to make it to the A division and do the best I can for the national team.

Is it hard for your national team to participate in European tournaments?
The Israeli Softball Association doesn't get enough money to send players to the European Championships. This means that we, the players, must pay for ourselves so it can be hard sometimes to get the best team to the Championships.

Who's your role model and why?
My role model is Jackie Robinson because he didn't let anything or anyone stop him from doing the thing he loved.

What's your ultimate softball dream?
My ultimate softball dream is that softball will be a well known sport here in Israel, that we will have fields, equipment and that we will participate in the European and World Championships with all ages, males and females. I hope one day more and more kids will grow up with the game like I did.

What do you think is the key to a successful team?
In my opinion a successful team is one where every single member of the team works hard together and respects each other. I also believe that a team with good basics of the game has the potential to become successful.

- Romy Marinus -