President’s Report to the March Delegates’ Meeting

We’re almost at the end of our summer season and Grand Final Day is shaping up as a momentous event. We have scheduled 10 matches and 4 Tee Ball/Machine Pitch Presentations into the day. Thank fully Senior League is now played on Friday nights or we’d never fit it all in (until we get permission to play under lights at Bonnet Bay).

As an aside our statistics guy and retiring Draw Secretary, Nick Palmer, informs me that 8 of the eleven matches involve teams that finished 1st or 2nd on the ladder and three games involve 1st and 3rd. Of the three in every case the third placed team came from St Pats. Only a stats guy would have identified that!

My simpler maths tells me that 10 of our 12 clubs are involved. We hope their supporters turn out in droves (and behave themselves showing respect for match officials and opponents).

There have been some great semi -final and final matches played in the last two weeks and I am unaware of any significant problems occurring. The Executive have not received any reports of inappropriate conduct by players, match officials or spectators.

I had the pleasure or calling the JL Division 3 final last Saturday and what a contest it was. The two teams were coached by some baseball luminaries. East Hills featured major league, national league and international league umpire, former player and club life member Brian McDonald (extensively experienced and nearly as old as me). Scots were under the leadership of Steve Gallagher and Darren Cummings (both of whom also have extensive rep experience). Without seeking to give offence many of the kids in Division 3 are yet to reach their full potential as athletes but despite their grade they give of their best. The match was tight and we managed to get through 6 innings in the allocated time. It was already the longest game either team have played all season. The score was 4 each. Off we go to extras. Neither team scored in the 7th inning although both had baserunners. In the top of the 8th, with fatigue setting in (for the coaches and supporters), Hills scored two runs. There were jubilant scenes on the first base side of the diamond and evident concern off third. Scots lost their first two hitters and Gallo was looking decidedly pale, but it’s never over until it’s over. A walk, a safe hit and suddenly there were two runners in scoring positions. Goodness me. A pass ball, another walk, a second pass ball and my colleague, Umpire’s Association President Geoff Ollerton, calls time, jogs in and says to me, “I think we have a result”. Umpires don’t keep the score but I replied, “I’m sure East Hills scored three in the top so we have to keep going. If we had a result then the benches and scorers would be celebrating and we’d know.”

We continued with the winning run on third. The batter hit an infield grounder and was thrown out at first. I believed Hills had won. I announced game and went to sign the result sheets. The scorers then informed me East Hills had only scored 2 in the top and it was still a draw. We’d played the mandatory 2 extra innings so Scots, who finished higher on the table, advanced to the Grand Final. What an experience for the players. The boys from both teams had participated in a great match and no one had let their side down. They did their best without melodramas or melt downs and represented their families and clubs with heads held high. The experience of being involved in a high pressure situation, coping with it and its outcome will stand our young people in good stead for the rigors of the adult life they are approaching.

And how impressive was the Senior League final on Friday night. The pitchers threw strikes, the batters hit them and the fielders made some outstanding plays. 7 innings completed in an hour and 35 minutes! Extraordinary! There was only one fielding error in the whole game. I can’t go past Koby Robert’s performance on the hill for St Pats or Jake Quinlivan’s three absolutely outstanding catches in centre field for the Scots/ Cronulla combo.

Recently I mentioned an impressive squad of both former and current CSJBA juniors who were selected to represent Sydney East Region at the CHS Championships at Northmead earlier this month. I saw two days of their four day tournament and it was superb. They went through undefeated and have returned with CHS Gold Medals. Three boys were named in the CHS team to play Combined Catholic Colleges (CCC) and Combined Independent Schools (CIS) from which the NSW All Schools team will be selected. The CHS reps are Jake Burns, Luke Krkovski and Josh Bishopp.

The Rookies tournament was played two weeks ago at North Hornsby and our three teams had the time of their lives. The children went all day playing 4 x 70 minute games. We had two teams of relatively equal ability and a third team selected for their potential. They were each in different pools and saw opponents from Hills, Ryde, Illawarra, Central Coast, Greater Western, Manly and Macarthur. There was a vast difference in skill levels amongst the participants but our children acquitted themselves with distinction. Jamie Williams’ Development squad faced the gun Ryde team in their first match and although beaten 6 – 3 they indicated Jamie’s decision to form a third team was undoubtedly justified. In their next match they defeated Greater Western comfortably. Thanks to the coaches, volunteer EO’s and scorers for their contribution to the players’ experience. It is called Rookies and there are no medals or awards. The tournament is intended to give the youngsters an experience of representative baseball. Everybody received the same reward whether they were undefeated or lost every game.

As the season winds down and presentation events are completed club officials will no doubt be looking forward to a break.Sadly it will be all too short. Soon they’ll be planning recruiting campaigns and considering registration dates and venues. The Executive are always interested in supporting recruitment initiatives and are open to possible limited financial support for programs.

While clubs may be having a break my Executive colleagues have commitments to the State Championships in LL Minors, LL Majors, JL and SL coming up in the April school holidays. We’re also being asked about our intentions with Winter Development programs. No rest for the wicked unfortunately. However as most of us have shouldered this workload for several years there may be some changes come the July AGM. If you or someone you know is considering seeking a role in directing the CSJBA in 2019/20 opportunities may well be available.

I’ve been given to understand that a number of club office holders will also be standing down for next summer.

Perhaps we will see an influx of new blood. While experience is to be respected and is irreplaceable new thoughts and directions can be advantageous.

Next meeting Tuesday 12th March at Cronulla Leagues Club, Immortals Room, 7.30 pm.

Peter B