They’ve come from all corners, people of all ages, to be part of Orange sporting history.
There are the travellers from Sydney, Canowindra, Parkes, two from Blayney, the teenage softball-convert and the veterans who haven’t pitched for years.
They have donned outfits that have been stored under a house for 10 years to be part of a unique event at Wallerawang last Sunday. It was the revival of the Orange Raiders, Orange’s baseball team that has been dormant since the last pitch 10 years ago.
Secretary Terry Bruton said some of them were a bit rusty, others still learning the game, but one innings in the first game has them hoping for a bright future.
The Raiders lost their return game, the opening round of the season, to the Wallerawang Cougars 9-4 after the home team led 9-0.
“We had a really big rally. We came back with four runs in the last innings. Coming out of it we have a really strong team,” Bruton said.
He said now they needed to build on their first game achievements.
“Now it’s the gelling together, game experience, playing other people and getting them to know the tactics of the game. We will be competitive, you can put your money on that.”
He said the first game was a giant step into the unknown.
“We were really looking at using that game to find out where we were. At the start we didn’t know if we had any pitchers,” he said.
“We had a really good game. The talent actually surprised us.”
Bruton said the team had drawn players from far and wide with people travelling from Sydney and the Central West to play baseball.
Ages in the mixed team range from 15 to 49.
“We had 15 turn up for the game. We have about 22-23 players on the team.”
He said the youngest, catcher Kathryn Cox, 15, had been playing softball while others had limited baseball experience.
The Wallerawang Baseball Association consists of three local teams, the Lizards, Cougars and Raptors, the Bathurst Phantoms and the Orange Raiders. They also have a junior competition and the Raiders hope they can get the numbers for a junior team next year.
Orange’s next assignment is the Bathurst team at 1.15pm on Sunday.
“That will be a good game,” said Bruton.
“The Phantoms beat the reigning premiers, the Lizards, last week.”