Big Cat Tomatoes take the Carnival double
5 April 2009
Big Cat Tomatoes pulled off two significant Grand Final upsets to take both Victorian Masters titles at Geelong Baseball Centre this afternoon.
Finishing second on the Blue Pool table, Coburg had again set the bar for the series by playing quality baseball in the early rounds. Its only loss in the preliminary games was a "dead rubber" against the Tomatoes on Sunday morning. However, the Cobras ran out of hiss at the death, going down - in the final - to the same team, in a 9-8 thriller.
It was 1-0 Coburg after ageless athlete Bill Blair spun a no-hitter over four innings. Even after the BC Tomatoes started to take to reliever David White, it was still 7-3 Coburg. But the eastern suburbs boys were not to be denied, smacking six late runs and keeping the lid on the potent Coburg offence.
The Springy side did it somewhat easier in the Red Pool final, where they led the previously undefeated Waverley Blackcats all game and ran out winners 16-13 in a dead-set crowd pleaser. Springvale was well ahead in the game and it was only a late flurry by the Wildcats that saw them drawing the final margin back to more "respectable" proportions.
A highlight of the game was the hitting performance of Springvale big man Darren Hughes. Hughes blasted two grand slams among his nine RBIs, but also struck out twice in ignominious manner – creating great mirth among his teammates and bringing groans of disappointment from baseball fans always in search of their next hitting idol.
Just in case any observers are bemused about the "Big Cat Tomatoes" sobriquet, it's quite simple really......the Springvale Big Cats summer club and the Frankston Tomatoes winter club continue to be great supporters of Masters baseball. For this series - and others - they choose to play together.
While we congratulate the BC Tomatoes on a superb performance this time around, all teams are to be commended on their effort and their commitment to keeping Masters baseball available as an option to our ageing players keen to have a fun time in a supportive baseball environment.
The Victorian Masters Carnival has gone from strength to strength over its thirteen-year history. It will be back again next autumn, offering competitions in 35 plus and 45 plus (possibly even 50 plus if the numbers are there). Although we sometimes fly by the seat of our pants and might do things "differently" to the mainstream baseball community, that has been part of the charm of Masters baseball - which continues to evolve as a unique sports activity.
The Geelong Baseball Association and series organisers extend their congratulations to all teams for creating another memorable weekend of Masters baseball played in a wonderful spirit and again producing some quality baseball contests. Very well done to the Baycats and Saints clubs for their wonderful hospitality and presentation of grounds, to the contingent of umpires and to the families and friends who continue to support this fantastic event.