BALLARAT Gold Diggers will have extra incentive to excel in the Victorian Masters Baseball Carnival in Ballarat on April 4-6.
Gold Diggers, which were a driving force behind the formation of masters baseball in Victoria, are celebrating their 20th anniversary.
They have continued to play a major role in the carnival for over-35 and over-45 baseballers, which was first run in Ballarat in 1997.
Ballarat City Brewers Baseball Club was forced to give up hosting rights during drought years to Geelong.
Founding member of the Gold Diggers and carnival administrator Kingsley Collins said since returning to Prince of Wales Park in 2011, the carnival had experienced rapid expansion.
This year will feature 17 teams from Victoria and interstate.
The program will feature day and night games on the Friday and Saturday before title play-offs on the Sunday.
Collins said while the carnival emphasis had always been on participation, inclusion and healthy competitiveness, team lists included Olympians and former Australian Baseball League and state representatives.
The Gold Diggers will include former ABL and Victorian representative player Michael Gregory, who is in his 60s and has been a masters stalwart since the early 1990s.
“Baseball has been a leader in mature-aged sport for many years now,” Collins said.
“It is quite literally a sport for life, evidenced by the ages of our players - ranging from the minimum 35 years up to guys in their mid to late sixties.”
“There is no doubt that masters baseball has led to enhanced quality of life, to continued social connection and may even have extended life expectancy by enabling people to play on in their chosen sport,” he said.