North Western Titans know the Baseball Victoria summer league men’s division 3 season will be full of challenges – and on Sunday, they faced their biggest yet.
Promoted from division 4, the Titans started the season with two wins and a loss and were showing encouraging signs.
But on Sunday, they proved no match for Pakenham, losing 16-2.
Speaking before the game, coach Danny Haymes said the season was always going to be about getting the club up and going at this level, which is a big step up.
“Results are great, but the main focus is get our name out there,” he said.
“The focus is on next year. This year is more to see what we can do and trying to be competitive.
“Some players haven’t played for a while and face a learning curve on what we need to do.
“From what I’ve seen, there’s not a lot different between us and the top sides. We just need to recruit a few players, as most sides have imports.”
Haymes, who is in his first year of coaching the seniors, was behind the move from division 4 to division 3. Having come from a baseball background in Sydney that included coaching representative sides, he wanted to help the club go to the next level.
“I was coaching my son last season in the under-12 team and took them to the premiership,” he said.
“They wanted me to coach the whole club … I said if they wanted me, we had to change a few things.
“We had to go from playing fourth division to third division and be more professional.”
Haymes, who is out injured with a broken hand, said numbers continue to grow and when everyone is available, the club would have enough players for three senior teams. Currently, they are fielding senior and reserves teams.
“This season, we had eight new players who hadn’t played before,” he said. “Most of the other guys have played at higher levels but haven’t played for a number of years.
“Being in division 3 means both teams play at the same location, which is the best thing for the teams and the club itself.”
He said they hoped to expand their program beyond two senior teams and a junior team in the coming years.
“Part of my job is creating a junior program that feeds into the senior side, so that some of us older players can step away and let them thrive.”