Rounding Third by Line Drive April 17th 2018

 Hello and welcome to this weeks edition of Rounding Third. With the Cods having sunk back to the depths of the rivers of the Ovens Valley, attention has now turned to North Eastern Baseball Association. The 2018 winter season began last Sunday with all four games being played in Wangaratta. It was a good chance for the two Rangers teams to get off to a good start in the new season. In the early game, Rangers Orange tackled Benalla. Rangers Orange jumped out to an early lead and held this advantage for much of the game. As the game progressed, the Benalla bats got going taking the win 11-9. Much to like about the Orange performance. A bit more work on the track and things will be right. In the afternoon game, good hitting backed up good pitching with Rangers Black jumping out to an early lead  14-5 win. Next week will see both Ranger squads heading up the Hume freeway to take on Wodonga Warriors. Good luck to all for round two. Now it has been a while since we have spoken about the characters down at the ranch so lets find out what they have been up to.
Mr 300
    One that almost slipped through the crack, but thanks to a couple of watchful eye in the club, a certain milestone did not go unnoticed. Nathan “Rubberarm” Pool played his 300th game for Wangaratta Rangers on the weekend against Porepunkah. Pool becomes the third Ranger to play 300 games behind Tetsu Kamiyama and Brendon French. The Wangaratta Chronicle came calling early in the week and judging by the number of well wishes and spectators at the game on Sunday, it shows that Pool is highly regarded not just in baseball but throughout Wangaratta and beyond. Pool did say at the end “It’s my 300th, It’s not like I am leaving or anything”. Congratulations Rubberarm. Here’s to not missing out on anything more.
Back hurt. No problem. Will hit home runs.
    Hitting guru and former Iron Chef, Tetsu Kamiyama began the 2018 season in fine style. Before the game Tets was saying his back was a bit sore and stiff and was not one hundred per cent. In his first at bat his back did not seem to bother him. He got a good piece of the ball and let the wind do the rest to hit his first home run in a few seasons. Many thought the wind definitely helped it get out, as it got up into the gulf stream and the over the fence. However his next at bat was a no doubter. With “Mr 300” Nathan Pool on deck and two runners on base, Tetsu’s swing was crisp and made that lovely ‘tock’ noise of wood and the ball screamed over the left centre field fence for his second home run in two at bats. Pool’s reaction to the second home run was priceless. While squatting he muttered some words that cannot be repeated in the column. Fair enough too. It is always a good sign when the hitting coach sets the tone for the day. Home runs are a good feeling though. Well done Tetsu.
New Kicks and tricks but still Old School
    After plenty of ribbing about his old glove and other equipment, Sean “Old School” O’Neil has finally given in and bought some new baseball gear. First to go in the bin were the footy boots. “That makes it official. No more footy for me” remarked Sean. Next was a new glove. More padding and ready to use. Unfortunately due to Rubberam pools stellar pitching his glove was not required to catch a ball. Never mind Old School. Always next week.
Thursday night training a roaring success
    As mentioned on the Facebook page by a good friend of Line Drive, a great turnout of players rolled their arms over and dynamically stretched their way through the night. It was by far the biggest turnout for the season so far, with over twenty five players and supporters in attendance. Now that may not sound like many but of that twenty five, many came for Thursday night dinner cooked by Cam “The Soak” Scott. Herb chicken and rice was dished up with your choice of drink from the fridge for $10. Seconds and thirds were had by all. This week looks like it might be a barbecue. The club is always looking to you out there to flex your culinary skills and dish up Thursday night meal for everyone. Those who travel do appreciate it. If you want to have a go at cooking for the men and women of Rangers drop us a line and I am sure nobody will be unhappy if you do.
Turn your car off Soak
    Cam “The Soak” Scott had a lot going through his mind on Thursday. As mentioned above, dinner was his priority for the Ranger guys and girls. So much so that in all his haste to get out and get organised left his car ignition on for the duration of training and dinner. Soak got a nice surprise when his battery was flat and wondering how he would get back to Yarrawonga. Lucky for him Steve “Fernando” Peruzzo and Mr 300 had not left.  Mr 300 made a call to Rob “Butts” Seymour who like a superhero swept in, started the car up and swept out again into the Wangaratta night. So if you live out of town  remember to turn your car off…..Soak.
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The Doc, Sarah and Rossco are back! 
    With the start of a new season, it is always great to see some new and old faces. This year has seen the return of the “SW’s”, Sean “The Doc” Warfe and his wife Sarah Warfe. The Warfes spent the past year away in Bendigo and have returned  to Wangaratta. Sarah had her first game over the weekend against Porepunkah and was able to get on base in her first at bat. The Doc was his usual colorful best in the field, turning some very neat plays at third base. Another to return was Ross “Rossco” Johnson. Rossco was sure he was going to come off the bench just to ease himself back into playing. However due to a late change he was thrown behind the plate at catcher. He looked like he had never been away. The glove was working and his gadget legs were up to the task of stretching a single into a double. All day Rossco hit the ball hard and his work behind the dish was immaculate. Welcome back to Wangaratta Baseball Club. There are a couple of others to mention too but can’t put everything into the one edition can we? More to come on those characters over the next few weeks.
Footwear for training? Who needs it? Not Beaker! 
    It was noticed on Thursday night that an older player, who has been known to wear a bike helmet at times, was out in the field running around in some interesting footwear. Rob “Beaker” Barbour had wandered into training in his usual manner and many thought he was just down for a look being in thongs and all. This was not the case. He dispensed of the thongs and just went in bare feet on the new infield turf. Brave from a man who has the uncanny ability of getting hit anywhere on and off the diamond by a baseball.
Canteen a huge success
    Special mention needs to go out to new man of canteen and man of many hats Daniel “The Griff” Griffin for his running of the Rangers canteen over the weekend. From all reports the club sold out of most things and the roast beef rolls were a huge hit. Big thanks to his minions, those Esmond Street men who got in and gave him a hand too. Many hands make light work. Next home game is a few weeks away so get out on the diamond next week Griff.
The Tin returns
    Don’t forget out there that the tin is back in operation in season 2018. So if you make an error then make sure you pay your dues to the tin. It is a bit of fun, and light hearted banter is what we all want. There will be a couple of dollars owing from the weekend just gone, so the tin will be present on Thursday night. Those who choose to go on the end of season ramble do get a benefit from the tin.
Now for the club stuff
  • Committee meeting this Thursday 19 April after training. All are welcome to attend.
  • Insurance needs to be paid via the members login on the Wangaratta website. www.wangarattabaseball.com
  • it can also be done via the app www.teamapp.com look for Wangaratta Rangers and click on insurance and registration.
  • Fees to be paid to Scotty “The Beard” Jenkins. For more information just have a chat to Scott.
  • Dinner this week is a snag in bread for $5 click on the poll on the Facebook page if you wish to take part
  • Training from 6pm on Thursday. Targoora Park.
  • Training shirts available for $35 Beanies $25. Butts is looking into more playing caps too.
  • Follow us on the Game changer app. Just look up Wangaratta Rangers and both teams are there.
  • If unavailable please place it on Teamapp to let the coaches know well in advance.
  • Games in Wodonga this week. Good luck to all.
That is enough of a ramble. Apologies if I have left anything out this week. Like a new season, it takes a few games for Line Drive to get into it.
Till next time
Go Rangers.
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