North Western Titans have a clear indication of where they sit in the Baseball Vic Summer League division 3 season.
Stepping up to division 3 this season, Titans coach Danny Haymes knew it would take a while to settle into this level.
After playing every team once, Haymes said they thought they could contend for a finals spot.
He said they spent a lot of the first round of matches getting information about the rest of the competition.
The Titans sit fifth with a 2-4 record after eight rounds, having had two byes.
“We’re out of the top four for the first time in awhile,” he said.
“I think there will be three teams fighting for fourth spot.
“There’s only one team we may struggle against.
“The rest of the side’s we can be competitive against as long as we have a full squad.”
The Titans, who had a bye at the weekend, have lost their past three matches, but Haymes said unavailability of players had hurt them badly.
“We had four players out of our first team the last few weeks,” he said.
“We knew heading into the season that we didn’t have depth and when we’re missing key players it will really hurt us. Among them are three of our best batters and we’ve struggled to get runs.”
Haymes said while missing key players has hurt, it has given some players the opportunity to step up into the top side.
The Titans have several players in the squad that have never played at this level.
“The way I look at it, the positive thing is we’ve given guys a lot of opportunities,” he said. “Brendan Sell, Kyle Newman and Daniel Taylor are three guys who have never played baseball and have been able to step up and haven’t played bad. They’ll put pressure on the players coming back.”
Haymes, who has played one game back in the seconds after hurting his hand, said they expected three of their four missing players to return this week.
The Melton-based team plays its next group of matches on the road, before playing most of the back end of the season at home.
The Titans’ second side has struggled a little with players having to step up to the top grade.
In good news for the club, the junior team remains undefeated. Haymes, who also coaches that side, says they continue to surprise him every week.