Apologies for not writing a report for the Doncaster U18s since the re-draw has been done. It has been a bit hard to write a report …..
So after Baseball Victoria decided to change the entire Junior Structure (after it was very clearly decided by the Clubs at the May P & S meeting that no change to the Junior Structure would be made in 2010), the Doncaster U18s found itself in the U18 AAA division.
We ended the first 5 rounds 2 – 2 with one wash out. We had some injury problems – with 4 players unable to play (broken bones, twisted knees and glandular fever). We had a player with a broken hand play in one game (he went to bat not able to swing – but it took a couple of innings for the opposition to figure it out) and one game vs Upwey we had to play with a blank due to a player hurting her knee on the Saturday afternoon and another player spraining his wrist on the Friday night. Even with the blank – both teams got 10 hits and the pitching stats were pretty much the same. Our problem was the blank and a couple of badly timed errors (5 of the runs were unearned). We had Waverley A and Upwey A in our division – so 3 “State” nominated teams in the one Division – and under the new rules only the top two were to go through (subject to discretion by BV).
Even though the initial divisions were not fair and equal, even though all other “Major” divisions have 10 teams except for the U18s (U18s only have 8), even though the Doncaster Baseball Club knew it was best for their players to play in the Majors, even though the group of players have proven themselves over the years that they are a competitive side and deserve to be in the Majors (winning the U16 State GF last year and coming in 3rd the year before – all with mostly the same kids) – oh the list goes on – Baseball Victoria and the Pennant Committee decided it was in the best interest of baseball to have the Doncaster U18s play in the AAA division. The Club wrote to Baseball Victoria before the re-draw was done asking Baseball Victoria to use its discretion and allow the Doncaster U18s play in the Major Division. The new guidelines clearly gave Baseball Victoria the ability to use discretion – with a new structure done at the last minute and not knowing all the issues that would arise, discretion is always needed – but the request was denied after several attempts and discretion was deemed not required. So that is why we are where we are… So here we go… this is what are kids have been up to for the last few weeks.
Week 1 – we get a bye. Oh yes – we actually get two byes this season ….
Actually to start – lets summarize the first 3 games:
We have only played 14 innings of baseball over 3 weeks. We have won by the mercy rule each game – so we had two 5 inning games and one 4 inning game. The total score line for the first 3 games is 63 to 4. We have had 32 hits and have been walked 46 times. We have not used our two pitchers (except for 2 innings) and let some of the other kids have a pitch – they have faced 60 batters – striking out 26 and only allowing 9 hits. Our defense has been solid – making only 2 errors over the 14 innings. Our kids are doing a great job getting up early on a Sunday and keeping focused for some very one sided games.
We have been very lucky to get Anthony Collis to coach the kids this season – a person with his level of experience has been a real coup. He has done a great job to keep the kids interested and keep them on their toes – something that is going to be very important as the season continues. The kids and parents really appreciate Anthony’s commitment to the kids and the Club.
Some highlights of the games to date:
Round 2 - 21 November, 2010
Under 18 defeated Sunshine 17-3
The team made its way out to Sunshine. We have never played Sunshine in Juniors so was the first trip for many to the ground. The Sunshine team was very welcoming and it was great to meet many of them for the first time.
Simon Fitzmaurice started for the Dragons on the mound – the boys from Sunshine came out hitting – getting 3 of their 5 hits in the first inning – but solid defense kept the score to 1 run in the first inning.
Simon’s arm was sore so Ben Kernick took to the mound in the 3rd. Ben did a great job striking out 6 of the 15 batters faced and only allowing 2 hits. He even did a great pick-off getting a runner out at 1st (and that was a batter he HBP)! One error towards the end of the game allowed two runs to score – but overall some solid defense.
Offensively we got 5 hits - 4 doubles and 1 single (King 1, Fitzmaurice 1, McGrath 3). The Sunshine pitchers walked 16 – the pitches were not far off – our kids are just trained well not to swing at balls outside the zone. The team scored 4 runs in the 1st, 6 runs in the 2nd and 7 runs in the 4th.
The third baseman for Sunshine (Matt Wilkie) made a great play in the 3rd – snagging a high line drive and making a fantastic double play.
All in all the team did some great base running and kept the pressure on.
Round 3 - 28 November, 2010
Under 18 defeated Footscray/Williamstown 23-1
This week saw us meet another team we had never played before – a combined Footscray & Williamstown team made their way to the Dragons Den.
We did the King and Lea duo on the mound – and they showed us their stuff!! Facing 23 batters – striking out 13 and only giving up 4 hits for 1 run. An errorless game by the Doncaster boys.
Offensively we got 16 hits – 7 singles, 8 doubles (King 2, Lea 1, Kernick 1, McGrath 2, Reeves 2) and 1 triple (Lea). 12 of our batters were walked. 7 of our players got hits – so an all around team effort.
Highlight was 3 of our batters hitting 1.000! King, Reeves, and Lea with 3 or 4 hits each.
Round 4 - 5 December, 2010
Under 18 defeated Berwick B 23-0
We made our way down to Berwick. With the East Link, the trip was much quicker than expected. The car park was full of Doncaster players well before the Berwick boys arrived – we could have all slept in another 15 minutes!
Unfortunately the Berwick coach got a flat tyre and guess who had all the equipment?! The Berwick parents did a great job getting everything organized and getting the kids on the field. We let them use our catchers gear and started about 10 minutes late – it all worked out in the end!
We were ready to play and the bats were swinging – 8 of our 9 players got hits (the other one was walked 3 times). We got 11 hits over the 4 innings. Highlights offensively were Georgia Page and Thomas Burgoine getting their first hits with a wooden bat – they were fantastic hits to the right and left field and Daniel McGrath getting two home runs over left field (and 7 RBIs).
Defensively, coach Collis put Lea on the mound to start this week. Pitching 4 innings and a No Hitter!! 6 Ks and no BBs. Only throwing 44 pitches. And he thought he was a catcher!! He may have to re-think this!!
Next week we travel to Essendon to play the Essendon B / Preston team and Springvale the week before the Xmas break.
Congratulations to 4 of our players for making a Victorian State team – Daniel McGrath, Ryan Lea, John King and Ben Kernick. Enjoy yourselves in Lismore in January at the Nationals! Good Luck to Georgia Page who is still in trials for a Women’s Victorian State team.