Written by Amie Weekes.
This baseball team has trained in cricket nets, on tennis courts and at touch football fields. For ten months, Clint McCarthy the head coach of FNC u/16s has had a plan – to be ready for the country champs.
These boys despite their home field, Albert Park a multimillion-dollar baseball complex, still largely a construction zone have arrived in Coffs Harbour ready to play. They unlike the players here in Coffs Harbour have just finished their baseball season, our boys missed a complete winter season, they played four scrimmage games on the Gold Coast. So, the players were keen to play on Saturday morning.
But of course, the first day was rain delayed.
FNC boys were unphased, disappointed for sure, but they just did what they do, they stuck it out together and waited again to play some baseball.
The team was grateful to be able to play their first game late Saturday afternoon and came away with a 7-0 win.
Senior players Hamish Weekes, and Riley Cooper dominated with the bat. Hamish hitting 2 singles a double and a triple. Riley 2 singles and a double. Singles from Lachlan O’Sullivan, Nate Boxsell and a single from Rookie Kieran Weekes.
Catcher Sam Davis was solid behind the dish making a play at second from the back net, and supported his pitchers Hamish, Lachlan and Rookie Dash Fagan who were ultimately too strong for the new development Coffs Squad coached by Jason Bromell.
The second game on Sunday against Central Coast was a16-4 win. Again, Hamish Weekes led with the bat a single, 2 doubles and a triple. Lachlan O’Sullivan also had a single and 2 doubles 4 RBI’s a piece. Sam Cottee a kid to watch having only played season of baseball took one for the team Hit by Pitched Ball and scoring twice.
Alex Poole pitched a first innings that was one ball off an immaculate innings, he threw 9 strikes and 1 ball striking out the Central Coast first three batters. Kieran Weekes younger brother of Hamish and assistant Coach Liam Weekes didn’t have to move his glove much catching to Poole.
Connor McCarthy the youngest player on the team only 13 years, held his own for the tournament pitching in relief throwing no walks against Central Coast and also getting a hit. Matt Keys a sporting allrounder (Rugby, Cricket) also having two hits in this game.
Errors were costly for Central Coast and FNC took full advantage. Joe Parsons a talented local cricketer had 2 hits and 3 RBI’s. Harry Morgan Spooner new to Lismore Baseball from Sydney had a hit also.
Monday morning saw both undefeated teams play each other. FNC and Newcastle, but FNC struggled to make contact with only 2 hits by Lachlan and Alex. FNC made mistakes base running, being struck out looking, wild throws in the field not calling for fly balls in the outfield. They were simply outplayed by Newcastle’s pitching.
The final at 1pm against undefeated Newcastle and FNC was straight out of a movie. And the baseball gods were on our boys’ side. We batted first, 10 runs home in the first innings. Riley Cooper hit the first home run for the FNC team.
Our pitching was too strong for Newcastle. Hamish and Alex would have had, a combined no hitter but for one pop up in the middle of three players, which was Newcastle’s only hit of the innings.
The third innings was brutal for Newcastle their first out was smacked down the first base line, the tallest player of the competition (Hamish) just happened to be there jumped and got it. The second out, was a line drive that was smashed down third base line Joe Parsons gloved it and tagged the runner at third base for the third out, there was nothing that the runner could do. As the saying goes “that’s baseball.”
There is a lot to learn from these young men who have learned resilience through natural disaster, they have learnt to appreciate baseball more for having not played it. Their win has taught them the rewards of hard work.
Congratulations to Clint McCarthy Head Coach, Paul Boxsell, Liam Weekes and Aurora O’Sullivan EO on the 17-0 win.
And to the FNC u/16’s boys you most certainly deserve the title of NSW COUNTRY CHAMPIONS.