BASEBALLERS from across the state and even as far away as Tasmania have descended on Ballarat for the Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival.
Held between Friday and Sunday at Prince of Wales Park, the event saw action in three classes – over 35s, 45s and 55s – with a Ballarat team competing for the first time in eight years.
“The carnival was enormously successful and was the most successful one ever,” organiser Kingsley Collins said.
“The Ballarat Royals, as host club, did a fantastic job with support from the Alfredton Baseball Club. It was an absolute hive of activity. Anyone coming in is gobsmacked by the whole idea of these older persons buzzing around and competing in the spirit of things.”
The tournament drew 26 teams, about 400 players, 50 officials and hundreds more spectators to Ballarat.
“In terms of numbers it was the biggest one by far,” Mr Collins said. “It’s a pretty large event, most of the players were here since Thursday night, so it’s a decent injection into the Ballarat economy.”
The weekend was something of a warm up for the team that will play as Ballarat Royals, the city’s new baseball side that’s brought together from the Brewers and the Mounties, with the winter season only a few weeks away.
The local squad competed in the over 35 division.
Catcher for the Ballarat side, Glenn Masterson, said playing at home in the carnival was a long time coming.
“We host it every year, so it’s quite good we’re on the park today,” he said. “We have a few older guys, basically the team that you’re looking at now is pretty much our starting team for the normal season.”
Masterson said one of the great things about baseball is everyone gets decent play time and the games have a good flow to them.
“All the guys here have played together since we were six years old and we still love it,” he said.
“Everyone gets similar opportunities in the game, everyone gets a bat, everyone gets to field, and it’s fast paced, as opposed to cricket where you’re sitting around for half-a-day.”
In their return to the Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival, Ballarat went 3-1 and just missed the final.
The home side had wins over Tasmanian 4-3, the Sloths – a team from south-east Melbourne 9-1 and Bendigo based Bald Eagles 8-0. They dropped to Frankston/ Dandenong Tomatoes 7-0.