Softball staff

Alyson Spinas-Valainis ASV

Fastpitch Development Manager – BaseballSoftballUK
Professional Softball Player – Olympia Haarlem
An American professional athlete, Alyson Spinas-Valainis grew up surrounded by sport. An McDonald’s All-American Second Team in basketball, they played volleyball, swimming, basketball, and softball, the latter of the two defining their adult life. An Iowa 1st Team All-State as both a fastpitch pitcher and basketball center, they took a Division I full-ride scholarship to Bradley University in Illinois to play basketball. After a successful 4 years on the hardwood, Alyson joined the Bradley University softball team for a final, 5th year. There, after not throwing a softball for 4 years, earned Missouri Valley Conference honours (Pitcher of the Week, Feb 2015), 2015 Bradley University Softball MVP Team award, and pitching 200 innings during the season.

Shortly thereafter, Alyson took their playing career overseas to numerous countries: New Zealand, playing for Hutt Valley Saints (Hutt Valley) for 2 seasons, earning MVP honours both campaigns (2016, 2017), a 3rd place finish at Club Nationals (2015), and a 0.86 ERA, and playing for Howick (Auckland), earning Top Pitcher both seasons (2018, 2019) and the highest standing Howick has ever had as runner up at Club Nationals (2019); Czech Republic, playing two seasons for Joudrs Praha (Prague) and earning Season honours as The League Playoff MVP (2016) and a Natonal Championship (2016) and runner up (2017); Australia, one season playing for Southside Stingers (2017); Germany, joining Tubingen Hawks (Tubingen) to help them to their first in program history Final Four finish in the German Bundesliga (2019), and leading the country in strikeouts by 41 (136); and currently The Netherlands, earning a National Championship for Olympia Haarlem (2018) and runner up (2019) in the Dutch Golden League. Currently, Alyson is going into their third season with Olympia Haarlem, and will be continuing to play for the team in Haarlem while living abroad in the UK. Additionally, both Joudrs Praha and Olympia Haarlem have medaled in The European Premier Cup in Italy (Joudrs 2016, 2017; Olympia 2019); earning 2nd, 3rd, and finally 3rd respectively.

As a coach, Alyson has worked heavily on development in New Zealand, Australia, and Czech Republic. They take tremendous pride in what they know as both a player and as a coach, working with development of the youth and ensuring that the players of tomorrow understand the importance of professionalism, work ethic, and passion. Some of their work includes Softball New Zealand as a Developing Sox Officer, delivering, running, and teaching fastpitch within schools and afterschool work around the Hutt Valley region for pitchers and catchers. They have worked in both Czech Republic and Germany during seasons there, with junior clubs and pitching specific clinics, working with a number of junior national team pitchers. During their time in Auckland, New Zealand, they worked for The Auckland Softball Association as a Kiwisport Facilitator, going into school and running holiday programs for youth fastpitch development; During their time as the Howick Game Development and Pitching Coach, they supplied the club with junior development lessons for ages ranging from Under 10 to Representative aged players, and ran an afterschool league around the Auckland area. They also spent some time in 2019 working for Auckland Basketball Association as the community development manager, working with diverse communities and the Women In Sport Campaign to help sport change lives for the better, as well as with the Auckland Dream basketball team during their 2019 National Championship campaign.

Alyson’s main focus lies within the athletes they play with and work for, and, in their words, “Athletics gave me a life worth living and I want other athletes to experience that kind of freedom as well. This sport is incredible and can truly take you anywhere in the world–I would know. I want to make that happen for my athletes as well.”

Alan Le Marquand

Coach – Softball Academy and High Performance Academy

Alan started out in the sport, as a lot of kids do, when he was given a glove and ball by a neighbour who’d gone on holiday to the USA back when those trips where the exception, not the norm. After figuring out the glove went on the opposite hand and a few hours throwing the ball against the family garage wall, the seeds of passion for the game were sown. It took until the mid-90’s before Alan started to play Baseball and Softball as his only sports, mixing mid-week league games, with weekend tournaments and baseball games. A career opportunity during the early 00’s, kept him away from the UK scene for 7 years, before returning in the late 00’s to start playing again, this time only Softball, and to begin coaching. Qualifying as a BSUK Level 2 Softball coach in 2012, in the same class as fellow Academy coaches, Dave Morris and Julie Spittle, he has also been a license BSUK coach since their Licensing program started. Over the past 10 years, his coaching involvement has slowly grown, first at club level at Maidenhead Softball Club running the main training sessions and running an all year-round weekly evening session for new and developing players. This has led into going into the local schools around Windsor and Maidenhead and now into assisting at the Academies. Alan brings an almost unique offering to the program, always spending time reading, watching, listening and talking to other coaches in an effort to keep learning and finding ways and opportunities to help improve players in ways that weren’t available when he started. His coaching journey is only just beginning.

David MorrisDavid Morris

Coach, Softball Academy and HPA
Team manager, U18 GB Women’s Softball Team

David has been the team manager of the U18 Womens GB Softball team since 2019.  He also organises, plays and umpires in the Great Britain Fastpitch League.

On a local level, David co-founded, manages and coaches five different branches of the Chichester Falcons club in West Sussex: seniors co-ed slowpitch, seniors co-ed fastpitch, junior fastpitch (12-16), kids baseball (8-11) and a local disabilities group who meet once a month for a fun game of softball.

David also coordinates baseball and softball sessions in over 15 Chichester schools (primary and secondary) every year through Spring, and runs an annual fastpitch tournament in Chichester which welcomes teams from the UK and Europe each year.

Julie SpittleJulie Spittle

Coach, Softball Academy and HPA

Julie was introduced to the sport of Minor league Baseball in 1986. Fortunate enough to live close to an American air base and to have made friends with a family from there, she played for 2 or 3 seasons.

She didn’t really get back into it again until the Year 2000 when, going to watch her sister play with her slow pitch softball team, Julie ended up playing as well as both teams were short on players. She played and enjoyed it and was encouraged to go to training the following week. Julie fell in love with it and, as they say, the rest is history as Julie has been with Thames Valley SBC for 20 years now!

Though not one to just turn up and play, Julie thrives on being involved:  Julie became a League Committee member before finally becoming the head of her club.

As Julie played more slow pitch, she wanted to be able to teach others about the sport, especially youth. As she was already working with young children within her job and voluntary roles, there were so many opportunities that she felt could be capitalized on. And so, she took charge and did her Level 1 coaching award followed by Level 2. Then when time allowed for it, she used the contacts she had within local schools and Guiding to go and teach the pupils about the sport. Nowadays, Julie continues to play slow pitch and compete with the Warriors in NSL2 as well as with her club teams in other tournaments.

Julie was first introduced to fast pitch softball in 2010, when she travelled to San Marino, Italy with the Richings Park Penguins to compete in the European Fastpitch Cup, courtesy of Stanley Doney. She then played in the fast pitch league and London Cup in 2011. In 2014, she was asked to take on the Manager’s role of the GB Cubs U13 team which she happily accepted and still continues to enjoy. This role opened even more opportunity for her and she then started attending the academy sessions. This enables her to increase her knowledge of fast pitch and develop her coaching skills by working alongside and learning from some very talented people.