*** Scroll down for an update of Carnival images ***
*** For those who missed it, you can hear our Tournament Preview on The Big Show, 3BA Radio ***
It was a third salubrious, warm and sunny day at Prince of Wales Reserve today, and we were treated to another wonderful display of Masters baseball that could not have been scripted better – with age groups slugging it out until mid-afternoon in their bid to qualify for a finals berth.
Getting past Fitzroy in its 50 Plus Semi-Final, Coburg downed Big Cat Tomatoes 4-0 in a hard-fought final after Tassy Tigers were eliminated from contention in the morning semi.
Long-standing Masters outfit Golddiggers went through the preliminary games unbeaten and took the 45 Plus title 5-2 over a quality Pandas team in the final – although competition for a finals berth in this group was quite extraordinary, with five teams from eight having a realistic shot coming into the final day.
An outstanding Pandas combination made it three on the trot in 35 Plus by downing Big Cat Tomatoes 10-1 in the final, after bold showings by several other teams including Doncaster, Sloths and Cods – who came strongly with a big win over Tassy Tigers.
Congratulations to all winners.
Brilliantly played by all twenty teams, who again contested and supported the tournament in the unique spirit of Masters baseball that has captured the hearts and minds of so many people.
Thank you to the terrific group of umpires who helped us out this year and well done to the local club stalwarts who worked well above and beyond to deliver the ground maintenance, facilities preparation and catering that is always so important to success of this tournament.
The workers know who they are. Thank you, one and all.
A more comprehensive report, with a bank of images, will be posted over the next day or two – after all involved enjoy a well-earned drink or several.
Finally, on a more sombre note, we extend our condolences to Michael Darcy and his family on the sad passing of Michael’s dad just a couple of days ago. The Darcy family have been wonderful baseball people over several decades. Our thoughts are with them.
Played in picture perfect conditions at Prince of Wales Reserve, Day Two of competition produced its share of thrills and spills as all sides revelled in the delightful conditions – shaking off any lingering effects of a late Friday evening spent discussing team tactics over a shandy or a glass of lemonade.
High-scoring was the order of the day, with doubles, triples and home runs – including an in-the-park salami – having a horde of supporters on its collective feet baying for more as all sides made a desperate bid to jockey themselves into a position from which to contest the very mildly coveted tournament silverware and moth-eaten wooden shields up for grabs.
A perennial finalist since its initial entry to the series more years ago than we care to remember, Coburg remains undefeated in the 50 Plus division after two big wins that secured its Semi-Final berth against fourth-placed and thus far winless Fitzroy – also a stalwart of Masters baseball. Big Cat Tomatoes dropped a morning game against the Burgers and will meet Tassy Tigers in the other Semi-Final, with the two winners playing off for the title.
A fascinating situation has developed in the 45 Plus group, where Golddiggers and Pandas remain undefeated after three games, with Cheltenham, Bendigo and Sandringham just off the pace with two wins and a loss apiece. Sunday morning games will be vital to the determination of which two teams will finish atop the ladder and will go through to the Sunday afternoon final. Although out of playoff contention, Doncaster may come out breathing fire (probably spirit-induced) on the morrow, while the Sloths may yet awaken from their torpor and the Bees could build upon their half-stung Saturday performances.
Similarly in 35 Plus, Sunday games will be vital to several sides – notably the undefeated Big Cat Tomatoes and surprise packet Doncaster, which holds second by a whisker ahead of short-priced tournament favourite Pandas, who will need to beat the Dragons to earn another shot at another Masters title. As in the 45 Plus group, there are other teams lurking in the wings that may yet exercise serious influence – including Cods (one and two), an offensively potent Newport, a highly competitive Tassy Tigers and a Red Sox outfit keyed up to finish on a high note.
Another perfect day is in prospect for the final day of competition. While tournament emphasis is fairly and squarely on participation and having fun with and against baseball friends, we can expect some outstanding baseball to be played – especially in a 35 Plus group that involves many elite players who take great pride in their performances and will still be out there to compete to the best of their considerable abilities.
The series, as always, has been played in fantastic spirit. Best wishes to all for wrapping up the Carnival in a brilliant fashion – under blue skies at Prince of Wales, the birthplace of Victorian Masters baseball.
Day Two scores are displayed to the right of this page. Scroll down for a selection of images from Saturday games.
Bright sunshine – albeit accompanied by a cool breeze – set the tone for a brilliant weekend of game play and socialising to come when the twenty-first Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival opened proceedings at Prince of Wales Reserve today.
After fifteen games completed across the three age groupings, spirits are high among a throng of over 350 players, along with supporters and officials joining in another celebration of the role of Masters baseball in our lives.
Competition is already intense and certainly interesting in all age groups.
Undefeated after two games, Big Cat Tomatoes are looking strong in 50 Plus, although perennial contenders Coburg are hot on their heels along with Fitzroy and Tassy Tigers – who both took it right up to the Tomatoes.
A free-scoring Goldiggers unit leads the 45 Plus division in conjunction with Bendigo Dragons and Pandas - who are both unbeaten after two – while Big Cat Tomatoes are making the early running in 35 Plus in a star-studded group that could see any team emerge as a contender when hostilities are resumed on Saturday.
Day One results are posted to the right of this page.
A more comprehensive report, along with a bank of Carnival images, will be posted here on Saturday evening.
|Big Cat Toms||4||Tassy Tigers||2|
|COBURG||4||BIG CAT TOMATOES||0|
|Big Cat Toms||17||Sloths||2|
|PANDAS||10||BIG CAT TOMATOES||1|
|Coburg||8||Big Cat Tomatoes||4|
|Big Cat Tomatoes||15||Newport||2|
|Fitzroy||1||Big Cat Tomatoes||3|
|Big Cat Tomatoes||4||Tassy Tigers||3|
|Big Cat Tomatoes||4||Tassy Tigers||1|
|Big Cat Tomatoes||15||Cods||3|