Bellarine Bears look break 24-year premiership drought
THE Bellarine Bears have a chance to win their first premiership in more than 20 years when they play East Belmont Saints in the grand final at the Geelong Baseball Centre (GBC) on Saturday at 2pm.
The 1995 premiership was the club’s first and remains their only one to date.
Few people have given as much to the club as their coach at that time David Crotty.
Having first been a player, Crotty then spent over 15 years as the A Grade coach. He now runs the Bears’ growing junior T-ball program.
Before the ’95 flag, his side had come runners-up in the two-years prior to their grand final win. He said the players who had come so close in those years were desperate to get the club its first flag.
“A lot of those players had worked pretty hard for a long time to get there and they were pretty ecstatic about making it.
“The relief after winning it was pretty exciting.”
Jason Hockey played as catcher for Bellarine in that final.
He had been signed by the Gold Coast Cougars during the season, but got permission from the Cougar’s to take a couple of weeks off to fly back down and play in the final.
Like Crotty, Hockey remembers the 1995 win being a culmination of the sides work over multiple seasons.
“We had three or four really good years but just couldn’t get over the line.
“It was very overwhelming (winning the 1995 grand final), because after so many years of trying it was a very emotional win.”
Hockey now coaches third base for Bellarine’s A Grade side, and has sons playing in the grand finals for both the A Grade and A Grade reserves.
Bellarine will face East Belmont in the grand final, having also played them in their last two matches.
Crotty says there are similarities between the current Bellarine side and the one that was victorious in 1995.
“Again it would be a culmination of a number of years of getting there and not quite taking the main prize, so I’d say they’d be in a similar situation.”
Some of the Bellarine Bears players were also recognised at the Geelong Baseball Association (GBA) awards on Saturday.
Brock Wells was named Senior Carnival MVP, while Lachlan Hockey was selected in the team of the year. Lewis Weldon was named manager of the year for guiding Bellarine to first on the ladder.
The night also saw the Bellarine Bears awarded their first Club Champion award in 41 years, with the ward going to the most successful club in the GBA.
The Bellarine Bears A-Reserve side will play at GBC before the A Grade at 11 am.