Hitting Home Runs in the Hunter...
The question everybody will be asking this year is whether the Toronto Tigers can be stopped in their quest to claim a fourth straight premiership. The Tigers will be returning last year’s line-up which includes current Australian Baseball League (ABL) players Michael Campbell and Boss Moanaroa. They have been unstoppable over the last three seasons, and it will take a strong effort from the remaining clubs to dethrone the current champions.
One club chasing a premiership in 2020 is Belmont and club coach Chris Hook believes his squad is shaping nicely with the same core playing group returning this year with some young players looking to push their way into the top grade. The inclusion of Mitch Ellison, who was injured last year, will be a major boost for the Lake Macquarie club.
Another club pushing for a return to the finals in 2020 is Mayfield Boomerangs. They finished 3rd last season and are hoping to go one better and participate in the Grand Final, which will be hosted on their home field this year. The club has picked up some new players who will start in 2nd grade and keep the pressure on the top-grade players.
White Sox just missed the finals last year and have recruited well this season to strengthen their pitching stocks. The Wallsend club are hopeful the current mix of youth and experience will lift them one place higher and allow them to play late into September. White Sox have several younger players participating in competitions during the Summer and expect them to bring that form into the Winter season.
Hoping for inspiration from 2019–2020 Sydney Blue Sox (ABL) Manager, Shane Barclay, Phoenix Charlestown will rely on a wealth of junior talent coming through the grades this season. Phoenix have cultivated a strong junior program over the past 5 years and will be hoping their hard work will be repaid with some stronger performances on the diamond.
The Newcastle Baseball Association’s 2020 competitions commence late March. For further info about competitions, programs, clubs and registrations, visit the Association website at www.newcastlebaseball.org.au, and to keep up-to-date with game results, photos and events, follow the Facebook page at Newcastle Baseball Association Inc.
For our junior athletes, the Association offers one of the best junior entry sporting programs in Newcastle. There’s T-Ball for the under-eights – an introductory form of baseball, where each batter hits the ball off a ‘tee’ adjusted to their height instead of it being pitched by a player. For kids under ten, there’s a game called Zooka Ball, where the ball is ‘pitched’ from a special pitching machine. These junior entry options are ideal for introducing kids to the sport of baseball, giving them the chance to learn in a non-competitive atmosphere and setting them on a pathway of development towards Little League and beyond.
With so many options available for both junior and senior players, baseball is becoming an increasingly popular choice for families around the region. This is something the Association takes seriously – as their website pledges: ‘All support will be given to ensure a positive experience for the entire family’.
Did you know that Newcastle has a thriving baseball community? A lot of people might not – it’s quite the hidden gem on the local sporting scene. But across Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Port Stephens, over 65 senior and junior teams are regularly hitting the field in competitions hosted the Newcastle Baseball Association.
Newcastle Baseball Association Inc.