Victorian U14 Girls Baseball team claim runners up title and turn heads in Sydney
What started as a simple Doncaster BC Come N Try day in October last year, quickly blossomed into the first ever Victorian Girls Junior baseball team which travelled to Sydney on the weekend to compete in the 2006 All Junior Girls Baseball Classic held in Sydney's western suburbs.
The Victorian Junior Girls program, started and headed by Doncaster and Australian representative Amy McCann after noticing the alarming lack of junior girls playing in Victoria, gave the girls, who are all scattered amongst in junior boys teams in the BV competition, their chance to play with and against girls for the first time.
And the Victorian Vixens, an energetic team of 13 made up of players from Melbourne, La Trobe Valley and Sunbury, have been working hard together every Saturday for 6 months and all the hard work and dedication paid off as they strutted their stuff in fine style against the 4 NSW junior girls teams, coming away with a respectable 3-2 record and the Runners Up title.
This first ever 'interstate' junior girls tournament which featured 4 teams from the Sydney region. In the round robin matches, the Vixens set up their Sunday Gold Medal game spot after going 3-0 on the Saturday. The girls defeated Illawarra 7-0, Waratah Junior Bees 7-5 and then the Stingrays 9-0.
With the Vixens spot in the championship game set, they faced Baulkham Hills in the last round robin match. B'Hills had also secured a spot in the gold medal game going 3-0 on Saturday, so the Vixens, not wanting to show their cards before the final, ensured that everyone got into the game and all got to play in new, or a couple of different, positions. Although they lost the game 7-5, the girl's spirits were not dampened and eagerly awaited the return clash in the championship game.
In the final however, a few nerves in the field by the Vixens and a strong pitching effort by the opposing starter, was just too much for the girls and they lost 7-1. Although, the girls held their heads high the entire game and fought it out till time and game was called.
A great effort by the Vixen pitchers with Shelby Henning, Courtney Whyte-Dennis, Bronwyn Gell, Courtney Foura, Kass Sidley and Rhiannon Smith, who combined to form a pretty formidable pitching staff.
Susannah Mejak, Courtney Foura and Bronwyn Gell made it hard for the coaches to choose a catcher, with all 3 putting their bodies on the line at every chance. Caitlyn Donnelly, Bronwyn Gell, Courtney Whyte-Dennis and April Balzer were also strong in the field.
With the bat, Caitlyn Donnelly was the clear standout with 3 doubles and a few singles, crushing the ball to the outfield at any opportunity. Courtney Foura, Courtney Whyte Dennis, Rhiannon Smith, Bronwyn Gell and Shelby Henning also batted strongly.
Also special mentions to Carly Smith, Vanessa Gillett, Amie Gibson and Tayla Whitney. The girls played hard and were a great support to their team mates throughout the weekend.
Head Coach Amy McCann was overjoyed with the teams efforts. "To see the improvements the girls have made since we started in October, is just amazing. And the fact that they gelled they way they did, I couldn't have asked for a better team." she said.
"NSW already has a strong junior girls program and they play with each other as teams all the time. The fact that my girls are scattered all over Melbourne and Victoria and not all can come to training because of travel difficulties, makes it hard. But the way they came together the way they did in such a short time, and played as well as they did, just goes to show how much is left in them if they really work hard over the next few months."
Assistant Coach, fellow Australian rep Alisa Tamburrino, was proud of the girls. "They worked so hard and gave it their all. They should be really proud of their efforts and know if they continue to work hard they will only get better."
Plans are already underway for Melbourne to host the next Interstate Tournament later in the year, with the NSW teams looking forward to matching it up against our Vixens again on Vixen home turf!
Congratulations girls and keep up the great work!
Vixen Team List (and Baseball Clubs)
Shelby Henning - Cheltenham
Courtney Whyte-Dennis - Essendon
Bronwyn Gell - Essendon
Courtney Foura - Essendon
Kass Sidley - Preston
Rhiannon Smith - La Trobe
Susannah Mejak - Werribee
Caitlyn Donnelly - Essendon
April Balzer - Werribee
Carly Smith - La Trobe
Vanessa Gillett - Churchill
Amie Gibson - Churchill
Tayla Whitney - Werribee
Head Coach Amy McCann - Doncaster
Asst Coach Alisa Tamburrino - Doncaster