AFTER several years in decline, baseball in Ballarat is poised for a resurgence under an invigorated new board, with a commitment to developing the sport at all levels.Existing clubs Ballarat City Brewers and Mounties Youth Centre have been joined by former powerhouse Alfredton Eagles, who have re-formed after three years in recess.The three clubs have formed a board of management, comprising enthusiastic and experienced people committed to the cause. Understanding that the lifeblood of any amateur sport is its juniors, the Ballarat Baseball Association is putting in place several initiatives that it believes will secure the future for baseball in the city.Board chairman Tom Hipke, previously involved in programs when Ballarat baseball had a golden era in the 1990s, is excited about the initiatives."We are currently conducting `come and try' days in local schools," he said."The idea is to present baseball to young people as an attractive sporting option."Those sessions are being linked to baseball information days in the region."Although junior competitions are still in the planning stage, Hipke is confident that, with the support of Baseball Victoria and local schools, baseball will again become a popular option for youngsters in the region."We are still in negotiations, but we are well on the way to setting up a primary school under-12 competition, starting in the second or third week of February 2010," he said."There has been a terrific response and we are expecting at least four but possibly eight or more teams competing."Concurrent with that project, a secondary schools under-14 competition is scheduled to start during February, with at least five teams competing."From that competition we'll be able to select a team to represent Ballarat at the Under-14 State Championships," Hipke said.With the junior programs in place, the clubs that play in the Geelong Baseball Association winter competition are expected, over time, to develop greater depth as younger players beginning filtering through to senior teams."It's a really exciting time for us," Hipke said."And the timing could not have been better."The City of Ballarat is currently considering upgrades that will improve Prince of Wales Reserve and make it one of the most attractive baseball venues in the state."With the new Australian Baseball League to start in November next year, we are expecting a resurgence of interest in baseball. What better place for us to start than at junior levels?"