Big weekend for junior baseballers in Lismore

THE Albert Park baseball fields in Lismore will be awash with colour this weekend as 17 junior teams contest the annual Far North Coast Timberjacks Friendship Series. Running since 1999, the event includes Under-12, Under-14 and Under-16 age divisions, with teams from as far afield as Victoria and the ACT, through to Coffs Harbour, the Gold Coast and Brisbane. While some regular visitors have not registered this year, the tournament will be as busy as ever, with Under-12s added to the other age divisions. Gold Coast will be favourites in the Under-16s, with two teams competing for top honours. Runners-up last year, they will be out to make amends in the absence of Brisbane teams. The Tuggeranong Vikings from the ACT, returning after several years out, may well challenge the tough Gold Coast outfits. Far North Coast will field a team filled with experience and raw talent. Coffs Harbour will also present problems, having a great deal of ability and four players on loan from the Brisbane West region. In the Under-14s, Brisbane Metro have two teams vying for top honours, but will face tough competition from the Gold Coast and Victoria. The Victorian team is an Under-12 development side and have always proved a handful, despite giving up a couple of years in age. Far North Coast and Coffs Harbour round out the competition. The locals have two members of the Australian Cal Ripkin World Series Under-13 side in addition to Brisbane West and Queensland representative Patrick Dutton. In the Under-12s, Metro has two teams and will take on Far North Coast and Coffs Harbour. The youngsters will play a great deal of baseball over the weekend and should gain valuable experience., Break for Major League !FAR North Coast Major League baseball will break for the weekend due to the junior event. But all other senior grades will be played, with games at Alstonville, Ballina, Casino and Kyogle.

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