Baseball Victoria’s Division One competition turned back the clocks on Wednesday night to honour history for the League's inaugural All-Star game, with the Monarchs (Western Conference) and Reds (Eastern Conference) battling it out for the first time since the original Australian Baseball League disbanded following the 1998-99 season.
The Reds and Monarchs, previously the Waverly/Melbourne Reds and Melbourne Monarchs, were fierce cross-town rivals throughout the ten years of the original ABL competition that ran from 1989 to 1999. Ultimately it were the Reds who finished on top after the league disbanded, claiming a total of three championships to the Monarchs one.
All twelve division one teams were well represented. Five-time premiers Essendon with the highest amount of players representing them at the all-star game, with a total of nine players.
A healthy crowd attended the Melbourne Ballpark to watch the best of the competition battle it out for the first time, and to support the Monarchs or the Reds on this historic occasion. The turnout a nod to the affiliation the Victorian Baseball community has to the Reds and Monarchs of old.
In the first instalment of the all-star game, it was the Western Conference claiming bragging rights with a convincing 12-0 win over the Eastern Reds, led by strong performances at the plate (outhitting the Reds 19-0) and a combined no-hitter from the pitching staff.
No doubt the impressive win from the Western Conference will have the Eastern Conference back to prove themselves as the superior conference in Baseball Victoria’s Division One competition at the next all-star game.
Among those with strong performances at the plate for the Monarchs were Essendon’s Scott McIntyre (3-5, 3RBIs) and Tim Sullivan (3-4, 1RBI), Preston’s Mike Walker (3-4, 1HR) and Fitzroy’s Alex Turlea (2-2, 2RBIs, 1BB). For the Reds, Cheltenham’s Ben Leslie and Blackburn’s Nic Rossell were the only ones that reached base, each being walked once.
While on the mound the Monarchs utilised their entire pitching staff across the nine innings for a combined no-hitter, finishing with a total of six strike outs, no hits and earned runs allowed, and just the two walks.