Bears win the big one at last
AFTER years of coming agonisingly close, the Bellarine Bears have won the Geelong Baseball Association A Grade grand final to seal their first premiership since 1995.
Bellarine’s A Grade Reserves side also won their grand final, finishing off a special season for the club.
In the A Grade grand final, Bellarine defeated East Geelong Saints 15-7.
A Grade coach Lewis Weldon said it was an incredible day for the Bellarine Bears.
“Really we just made history. For the club to have A and A Reserves in the grand final in the same, and to win both is historic.”
Bellarine pitcher Lachlan Hockey, whose father played in the 1995 premiership winning side, ensured Bellarine got off to an ideal start.
He retired East Geelong’s first three hitters, giving his side the opportunity to take an early lead.
Bellarine did just that, with Wayne Visser hitting a two-out double to open the scoring.
Bellarine were relentless throughout, scoring in all but one innings, with Weldon saying it was likely the team’s best offensive performance of the season.
Lachlan Hockey was named the grand final’s most valuable player. He was supported well by relief pitcher Simon Murry, who was playing in his final game having also played in the 1995 premiership winning side.
Murry said he struggled to describe what it meant to him to be part of the club’s two premiership-winning sides, and to end his final game as a grand final winner.
“It’s super emotional for me and my family.
“It was the most perfect way to end, and to be pitching at the end of the game – it’s just perfect, absolutely perfect.”
East Geelong fought hard and had moments of brilliance, but Bellarine were convincingly the better team on the day.
Yet for the Bears the grand final win was the culmination of years of hard work.
In the past five years they have never finished lower than third, and played in and lost two grand finals.
In the A Grade Reserves, Bellarine defeated Guild Allstars 6-2 to win their grand final.
After finishing third on the ladder, the reserve side found their best form in the finals, defeating East Geelong Saints 11-2 in the semi-finals and the Ballarat Royals 17-9 in the preliminary final to earn a spot in the grand final.