Victorian Masters 2017: December Update

The twenty-first Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival will be held at Prince of Wales Reserve, Gillies Street Ballarat, from Friday 17 March to Sunday 19 March 2017.

The three-day event has been scheduled after the Labour Day weekend and prior to Easter/School Holidays.

Ballarat Brewers will again be host club for the Carnival, which will offer age groups in 35 Plus, 45 Plus and 50 Plus.

Further details will be posted over coming months, with a team expression of interest requested prior to Christmas.

Total number of team entries accepted will again be capped at twenty-four.

For assistance with accommodation options, these websites should be consulted:

http://www.visitballarat.com.au/

http://www.travelvictoria.com.au/ballarat/

***   UPDATE:   1 DECEMBER 2016   ***

It is now just over three months until the 2017 Victorian Masters.

The 2017 Carnival will be the twenty-first edition of this remarkable event that in 1997 started out with four teams – Fitzroy, Latrobe Valley, Geelong and Golddiggers, the host club. After several drought years at the magnificent Geelong Baseball Centre, the Carnival returned to Ballarat in 2011, where it has continued to prosper and to attract increasingly more teams and more players.

DATES AND VENUE.

The Carnival will be played at Prince of Wales Reserve, Gillies Street Ballarat, from Friday 17 March to Sunday 19 March 2017 (inclusive). The three-day event has been scheduled after the Labour Day weekend and prior to Easter/School Holidays. It falls comfortably between the end of summer and the start of winter baseball and – as far as we can gather – it does not clash with any other major sporting event in the Begonia City.

GROUNDS.

With up to an absolute maximum of twenty-four teams expected, we will again be seeking to use the three baseball fields without scheduling any games on the archery overflow area. If we need to use the archery area at all, we will ensure that no team plays more than one game there.

TEAMS AND ENTRY PROCEDURES.

We are already aware of potential new teams and a couple of others interested in returning to the Carnival after a break. With the three baseball grounds and the archery area only used if necessary, we have set an absolute maximum of twenty-four teams across all age groupings.

We have already heard from most of our regular teams regarding their intentions for 2017. A number have again expressed definite interest in a 50 Plus division, which worked really well for the first time in 2016.

Even if you have already contacted me, I would appreciate it if you could confirm with me your team’s intention prior to Christmas (IE name and number of teams, with preferred age group).

If the total number of interested teams looks like potentially exceeding the maximum of twenty-four, we will be giving preference to our regular or returning teams.

A Team Entry Form has been emailed to Masters contacts and is now available on the Carnival website (under About Us and via the link to the right of Home Page). Team Entry remains at $ 600, and all team entries should be finalised by Friday 27 January 2017. There is no issue with adding players after that date, just as long as they are notified before a team plays its first game.

AGE GROUPS.

Three age groups are being offered – 35 Plus, 45 Plus and 50 Plus. For any age group to be viable, we will need to have at least four teams entered – which on the basis of the past couple of years should not be a problem.

35 PLUS. To qualify to play in this division, a person must have turned 35 in the year of competition (IE by 31 December 2017). There will be no exemptions.

45 PLUS. To qualify to play in this division, a person must have turned 45 in the year of competition (IE by 31 December 2017). There will be no exemptions.

50 PLUS. To qualify to play in this division, a person must have turned 50 in the year of competition (IE by 31 December 2017). However, any two players who are close to that age (IE 47 to 49) may apply for exemption to join a particular team. Their applications will be considered on a case-by-case base by a panel of three long-standing members of the Masters community who will be appointed if and when they are required.

GAMES AND LENGTH OF GAMES.

In a perfect world, all teams in all age divisions will play five preliminary games before a Sunday afternoon final. However, with the large number of teams likely to enter and with the probability of an uneven number in any group, we expect – like in 2016 – that some or even all teams may be guaranteed just four preliminary games prior to finals.

All games, including finals, will be of the same length. Most likely that will be 90 minutes, to be confirmed with team organisers and umpires well beforehand.

Again depending on the number of teams entered, games are likely to be scheduled from early morning each day (8.00 AM or thereabouts). Games will run all day on the Friday and Saturday, and until 4.00 - 4.30 PM on the Sunday.

NIGHT GAMES.

We will again be playing at least one game on the Friday night and one on the Saturday night. Please let me know ASAP if your team is interested in a game on either night.

SCORERS AND UMPIRES.

All teams must supply their own scorer. Although it is not always possible, it would be useful if teams could also bring an accompanying umpire. We ask prospective umpires to please let us know directly, or to mention their availability to Team Managers. Over the next month or so we expect to appoint an Umpires’ Co-ordinator to manage allocation of games and the like.

All umpires will be paid for their services, at the same rate per game for plate and line (projected to be increased modestly from previous years).

CATERING AND HAPPY HOUR.

Ballarat City Brewers will again be providing all catering for the weekend. The Friday Night Happy Hour tradition will of course continue, with all teams, officials and supporters invited to partake of cut-price drinks and complimentary food. More of that later.

MEMORABILIA.

The Ballarat Brewers club will again be ordering a quantity of Carnival stubby holders to be on sale. At club discretion there may other items available, although the principal purpose of the Carnival – as always – will be to provide a low-cost, high value event basically without the commercial trappings.

PLAYER REGISTRATION AND INSURANCE.

Baseball Australia is aware of the lengthy history of the Carnival and it is fully supportive. We will again be paying Baseball Australia a modest fee to ensure that the Carnival is officially sanctioned by the national governing body.  However, it should be emphasised that all players require current Baseball Australia registration to ensure that they are covered under the national insurance plan. Neither Carnival organisers nor Baseball Victoria nor Baseball Australia offer or accept any liability for injury or illness suffered as a result of participation at the Carnival.

Team organisers have a role to play in impressing this requirement on their roster.

ON RULES.

The Carnival Rules have been progressively developed over the years and have served us pretty well. Carnival Rules are posted on our website to ensure that players, managers and umpires are fully aware of specific requirements and any variance to the Rules of Baseball. Any changes to existing rules will be notified well before the event.

AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL ALUMNI. Most people in the Australian baseball community are aware of the existence of the Alumni, a not for profit organisation established two years ago with a commitment to promote and report on Australian baseball while providing mentoring services and funding assistance for specified projects. I have been fortunate enough to have a role with the Alumni project, which is supported by some of the highest profile baseball people in the land. For Masters players who are not aware of the project, or have not yet taken out a membership, we urge you to visit the Alumni website or Facebook page to see what the project is all about.  

There will be a further update and a reminder about Victorian Masters entry during mid-January. In the meantime let me know if there is anything that needs to be clarified.

Best wishes to all for a safe and relaxed holiday season.

Kingsley Collins (Administrator, Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival)

http://www.vicmasters.baseball.com.au/                https://www.facebook.com/vic.masters.98

History-making Carnival concludes in style

Sunday 20 March 2016

In weather conditions a far cry from opening day, the twentieth annual Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival was wrapped up under clear skies at Prince of Wales Reserve this afternoon, with interest in all age groups maintained until the very end.

By any measure the tournament was another wonderful showcase for Masters baseball, with games invariably played out in the positive and friendly, albeit at times competitive spirit that has characterised this event since it was created two decades ago.

Participants again demonstrated that the Carnival is indeed owned by the participants, each of whom has embraced the underpinning principles of participation, engagement, friendly interaction, fun and joy that are brought through team sport and its off-field socialising.

On behalf of host club Ballarat City Brewers, I extend our thanks to all players, families, supporters, officials (especially our band of umpires, who did a fantastic job in covering nearly fifty games over three days) , sponsors and supporters who continue to make this event such a consistently uplifting event for so many people. While effective delivery of the Carnival is quite a demanding exercise for all concerned, the laughs, the fun, the contests, the team bonding and the nurturing of old and new friendships surely make it all worthwhile.

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While Coburg had booked a ticket direct to the 50 Plus final on Sunday, Tassy Tigers and Fitzroy played out an early morning Semi-Final that saw the Tigers post a 15-1 result over the Lions, whose roar had abated somewhat by the final morning. Clearly relishing the break between their games, Coburg was pressured early by Tassy before forging away for an 11-4 win in the final.

50 PLUS FINAL PLACINGS AFTER PRELIMINARY ROUNDS:   Coburg (4 wins, 0 losses), Tassy Tigers (2-2, second on head to head), Fitzroy (2-2), Newport Rams (1-3, fourth on head to head), Big Cat Tomatoes (1-3)

With crucial preliminary games scheduled for Sunday morning, the 45 Plus group resulted in a finals clash between Big Cat Tomatoes and Pandas, both of whom had shown some terrific form during the series. In the end, though, it was the offensive power of the Big Cat Tomatoes that was decisive, as they surged to a comfortable break and went on to win the finale 11-3.

45 PLUS PLACINGS AFTER PRELIMINARY ROUNDS:   Big Cat Tomatoes (4 wins, 0 losses), Pandas (3-1), Diggers (2-2, third on head to head), Sandringham (2-2), Bendigo (1-3), Bees (0-4)

Similarly in 35 Plus, final placings were not decided until early Sunday afternoon, when an impressive Sloths outfits was narrowly denied a finals berth by Big Cat Tomatoes, who faced the reigning titleholder in Pandas. Outstanding starting pitching by Cameron Forbes (Pandas) and Mark Richards (Big Cat Tomatoes) limited early scoring until the Pandas exploded with the bats to set up a 9-0 win against an ever-competitive opponent.

35 PLUS PLACINGS AFTER PRELIMINARY ROUNDS:   Pandas (4 wins, 0 losses), Big Cat Tomatoes (3-1, second on runs scored against), Sloths (3-1), Ballarat (2-2, fourth on head to head), Cods (2-2), Red Sox (1-3, sixth on runs scored against), Tassy Tigers (1-3), Newport Rams (1-3), Doncaster Dragons (1-3)

Congratulations to the winning teams and to those who made their respective playoffs. Very well done to all teams – and all participants – on making the series another great success.

Good times and good memories.

All scores are shown to the right of this page. Scroll down for a selection of images.

Kingsley Collins (Administrator)

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DAY TWO (Saturday 19 March 2016)

While shorts and sunnies were not exactly de rigeur for Day Two of the Carnival, conditions were far more pleasant as we were treated to another enthralling round of competition that opened up a variety of possible play-off scenarios for Sunday.

In 50 Plus, Coburg has gone four from four to book a berth in the Sunday afternoon final, while Tassy Tigers and Fitzroy Lions did enough to qualify for the Semi-Final to decide the Burgers' opponent. Finishing in fourth and fifth, Newport Rams and Big Cat Tomatoes both posted a win in the preliminary games and will watch on as their younger team counterparts partake of action on the sabbath.

Big Cat Tomatoes have already qualified for the 45 Plus final, although their opponent will only be decided after Sunday morning encounters involving other contenders in Pandas, Sandringham, Bendigo and Diggers - with the Bees out of contention but still a dangerous outfit should they be buzzing on the morrow.

Reigning 35 Plus champion Pandas - thus far undefeated - are looking the goods in their group, which today featured a remarkable 1-0 win by Sloths over Newport and a thriller between Ballarat and Tassy Tigers that was decided after two extra innings of tie-breaking intensity. While Big Cat Tomatoes are looking good to qualify for the playoffs, there are still competition variables that may come into play as Ballarat and Sloths remain the more prominent of other teams vying for the big dance.

With salubrious weather in prospect, we are poised for a fantastic final day of competition.

Scroll down for images from Day Two. All Day Two results are posted to the right of this page.

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DAY ONE (Friday 18 March 2016)

The first day of Victorian Masters competition was wrapped up at Prince of Wales Reserve this evening, after experiencing what was undoubtedly the worst day of weather in its twenty-year history.

Nevertheless, as always, spirits were high, all scheduled games were played out and we were treated to another jam-packed round of fun and frivolity - with more than a touch of competitive baseball injected for good measure.

A more comprehensive report will be posted after Day Two. For now, Day One scores are listed to the right of this page and a selection of images is posted below. 

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Victorian Masters 2017

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Day Three Results

***see left for standings after preliminaries***  
50 PLUS  
SEMI-FINAL:  
Tassy Tigers 15     Fitzroy Lions 1
FINAL:  
COBURG 11     TASSY TIGERS 4
45 PLUS  
Pandas 12     Bendigo Dragons 2
Big Cat Toms 11     Bees 4
Diggers 8     Sandringham 5
FINAL:  
BIG CAT TOMS 11     PANDAS 3
35 PLUS  
Sloths 7     Ballarat 2
Cods 9     Tassy Tigers 5
Red Sox 3     Sloths 6
Pandas 11     Doncaster Dragons 1
Big Cat Toms 10     Newport Rams 0
FINAL:  
PANDAS 9     BIG CAT TOMS 0

Day Two Results

50 PLUS  
Coburg 13     Newport Rams 0
Coburg 14     Tassy Tigers 5
Fitzroy Lions 7     Big Cat Toms 0
Tassy Tigers 4     Big Cat Toms 17
Newport Rams 7     Fitzroy Lions 9
45 PLUS  
Sandringham 7     Bees 3
Big Cat Toms 7     Diggers 3
Bees 5     Bendigo 14
Pandas 12     Diggers 3
35 PLUS  
Ballarat 1     Big Cat Toms 5
Doncaster 7     Tassy 8
Big Cat Toms 2     Cods 3
Doncaster 2     Red Sox 6
Tassy Tigers 10     Ballarat 11
Red Sox 4     Pandas 14
Cods 6     Pandas 13
Newport Rams 0     Sloths 1

Day One Results

50 PLUS  
Tassy Tigers 6     Fitzroy Lions 0
Newport Rams 2     Tassy Tigers 18
Fitzroy Lions 1     Coburg 18
Big Cat Toms 9     Newport Rams 10
Big Cat Toms 0     Coburg 7
45 PLUS  
Bees 1     Pandas 16
Big Cat Toms 8     Pandas 2
Sandringham 6     Big Cat Toms 11
Bendigo Dragons 7     Sandringham 18
Diggers 9     Bendigo Dragons 3
35 PLUS  
Newport Rams 11     Red Sox 7
Pandas 16     Newport Rams 6
Sloths 4     Doncaster Dragons 7
Ballarat 8     Cods 6
Tassy 5     Big Cat Toms 7

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