Bendigo Baseball Association's under-14 representative squad is preparing to compete at this weekend's Victorian Winter State Championships.
To be hosted by the BBA at Albert Roy Reserve and Club Court, junior elite teams from across Victoria will converge on Bendigo for the tournament which begins on Saturday.
After several weeks of tryouts and training the 14-strong team is now ready to get down to business.
BBA coach Seb Smith said the under-14 squad included a mixture of new and experienced players.
"We've got a number of kids on the team where it may only be there first or second season playing baseball, while we have some who are about to start their fifth season," he said.
"In terms of experience it's widespread which will create a nice balance."
In total there will be 11 teams from across regional Victoria and from metropolitan Melbourne that will compete at the tournament, in addition to two all-girl All-Star teams that will be in action to celebrate the City of Greater Bendigo's women in sport week.
The format will see the teams divided into two different pools with a winner within each chosen via grand final matches to be played at 3.15pm on Sunday at ARR.
After interruptions in recent years due to COVID-19, the running of the tournament marks the first time Bendigo has hosted a junior baseball tournament of this scale in quite a while.
During the tryout phase Smith said more than 20 players trialled for the team, with the hardest decision being to reduce the squad down to 14.
"It's always hard to make the decisions on how to select the kids for the team," he said.
"But we are setting up for the years ahead as the team we create becomes the blueprint for the future."
More than anything Smith said having the opportunity to compete at a tournament of this level was beneficial to overall junior player development.
"This is the pathway for kids to get to the next level to play summer baseball in Melbourne where the standard is extremely high in addition to taking the skills they learn back to their home-clubs," he said.
Fletcher Cain (Falcons), Hudson Castle (Falcons), Ronan Clarke (Bendigo East), Charlie Dennis (Dodgers), Archer Etherton (Bendigo East), Fabian Gray (Dodgers), Chad Mannes (Dodgers), Darnel Marks (Dodgers), Asha Murphy (Bendigo East), Marcus Murphy (Dodgers), Callan Orr (Dodgers), Travis Shanahan (Dodgers), Deon Strahan (Falcons), Alaric Tibbett (Falcons)
Seb Smith (Coach), Zoe Murphy (Assistant), Kane Tieman (Assistant), Logan Vanderhagen (Assistant), Chris Murphy (Manager), Julie Jones (Scorer).
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