It's finally here.
The most anticipated season in the history of the Doncaster Baseball Club has arrived with Season 07/08 getting under way this Sunday at Deep Creek Reserve.
With the Division 2 silverware on display in the club house since March and a warm winter spent by all Dragons safe in the knowledge that we would once again be heading to the show after a 5 year absence, the time is now to put all the years of hard work on show in what is regarded as the best men’s baseball league in Australia.
And what a different line up we will see in green and gold this year, and we are not just talking about the new uniforms.
The team will once again be lead by long time Doncaster servant Chris Nicholas, who will work jointly with newcomer Chris Hodkinson, affectionately known as ‘Smoke’, who has moved across from Malvern to take the role as Co-Club Coach.
“Smoke brings years of experience to the team not only as a player, but also as a strong coaching experience.” Nicholas said. “The club as a whole will definitely benefit and improve from having Smoke around the club and in the coaching staff. I will definitely learn a lot from Smoke.”
Smoke looks like he will share the catching job with Sean Pascoe this year, allowing Chris Nicholas to take over the hole at first base due to Justin Woo’s departure (work commitments) and allowing him to, in his words, “rest his 'fatman' knees.”
Also new to Deep Creek are Daniel Passlow (Malvern), Cameron Hubbard (Blackburn) and Jason Blejwas (Fitzroy), who will all bring leadership and years of experience at top level baseball.
Both Passlow and Hubbard are well recognized as being some of the most dominant hitters in Division 1 for the past seasons and both bring a lot of power into the Dragon line up.
Blejwas will not only bring dominance on the mound as evidenced by his years of pitching prowess in Division 1, but he is known as utility player with a powerful bat.
Nicholas is confident that these additions will provide the sting Doncaster needed to be a competitive Division 1 team. “In all, these players will just top off what already is a powerful team ready to have a good hard crack at Division 1.”
Up the middle, work commitments in the states has kept impact player from last season Richie Benes from returning to Australia and with the combined with the loss of Woo, this does impact the leadership as well as very solid defense on the right right side of the infield. Both players will definitely be missed on and off the field.
Doncaster also loses Paul Weichard to Blackburn and Rhys Otter to injury. Rhys’ injury could not come at a worst time not only for the club but for him, after improving out of sight over the last couple of years and building himself up to being a dominant pitcher and well deserving of a pitching spot in Div 1.
“Without Rhys, that leaves a big hole in our pitching staff especially with the extra amount of games this year.” Nicholas states. “But now (Rhys) Aldenhoven will have his chance at throwing more innings in the firsts following his solid performances late last season.” He added.
However, even with the losses, Nicholas is confident and excited by the season ahead. “The team is shaping up very well. This year proving to be the toughest year I will ever have as far as picking a firsts line up.” He says.
So who will have break-out seasons in 07/08?
“Apart from the obvious players who already have proved themselves in Division 1, if the preseason tournament is anything to go by, look out for players such as Pascoe and Carr to have good seasons as both were stand out players.” Nicholas predicts.
But Nicholas maintains that it will be a team effort this season. “We have that many firsts quality players, so it’s going to be tough come selection time for the first game. Don’t get me wrong, this is the best possible problem you can have.” He remarks.
And we hope that this headache of selection continues throughout the season as that will no doubt mean Dragon success.
So get down to Deep Creek this season and support your Dragons in 07/08.
It all gets underway Sunday October 7th with the 2s at 1.00pm and the main game at 3.30pm.
The game will also mark the official opening of the new batting tunnel with the Mayor and council representatives in attendance.
See the full fixtures above in Game Centre.