Race to the States starts in Lismore
THE Adelaide Armada return to the Australian Senior League Championship looking to defend their title, but they'll have to go through a determined local team making their debut on the national stage.
For the first time in competition history, the Far North Coast Baseball Association will compete on their home field, after qualifying for the 2018 Australian Senior League Championship.
FNC sealed qualification into senior league (13-17 years) with a hard-fought 12-6 win over Brisbane Metro at the Queensland Senior League state titles.
Brisbane Metro lead by three runs with two innings remaining, but FNC piled on nine unanswered runs to sneak home and seal their spot at the Australian titles.
Luke Dransfield and Nathan Bezroucho each drove in two runs against Brisbane Metro, while Jacob Ponton was outstanding on the hill, tossing 2.2 fantastic innings.
That win has not only sealed a place at the Australian titles for FNC, but it has given this team an opportunity to represent on the international stage.
The winner of the Australian Senior League Championship will earn an all-expenses paid trip to the USA to compete in the prestigious Senior League World Series, which is the pinnacle of Senior League baseball.
Last year the Adelaide Armada became the first team to represent the Australia Region from the tournament after going through the championship at Albert Park undefeated.
However, with no returning players from their 2017 title, the race to the US is wide open.
FNC have been grouped with the defending champion Armada, as well as three other teams (Newcastle, Twins and Western Suns) making their debut at the Australian Senior League Championship.
The Australian Senior League Championship gets underway on Sunday, with Far North Coast taking on the Twins in their opening game of the tournament at 5.30pm.
Players from across the country have another opportunity to represent Australia on the world stage in 2018, as the inaugural Australian Intermediate League Championship comes to Lismore.
Six teams from around Australia will compete at the Albert Park Baseball Complex starting Saturday for the chance to claim the Australian Championship, and seal a place at the 2018 Intermediate League World Series in Livermore, California.
NSW sides Manly, Macarthur and Ryde will go up against Victorian side Southern Mariners and the Western Australian Suns.
Baseball Australia General Manager of Participation Mat Sundstrom said the introduction of Intermediate League is a valuable addition to Australia's Little League calendar.
"It's another huge step forward for Little League baseball in Australia,” Sundstrom said.
"It gives another 80-90 young players the opportunity to feature on the national stage.”
Both the Senior League and Intermediate League are free to attend with the finals next Friday.