by Ross Crawford
As the 2018 season drew to a close, the Granite City Oilers trudged off George W. Chalmers field in Aberdeen on September 16th knowing they had given everything they had in the clubs 1st taste of the Caledonia Cup. Yet they still came off the field defeated by the Edinburgh Giants, who advanced to the 1st ever Caledonia Cup final.
The Oilers had every right to be disappointed with the 9-6 defeat. However, a few months removed from the loss, the players that day can look back on the 2018 season with pride, a sense of achievement and hope for the forthcoming year. The club officials, players and supporters can be proud of the significant progress the club has made as a whole this year, coming along leaps and bounds in a number of areas.
The 2018 was the most successful year on and off the field for the Granite City Oilers. The teams 11-4 record was good enough for 2nd in the league table behind only Glasgow Galaxy, who won the league shield, but this was also the Oilers first ever season with double digit wins and first series sweep of an opponent. A fantastic achievement for a team whose roster was full of new players, playing together for the 1st time. The influx of new players added to the roster at the start of the season is a testament to the growth of the sport in Aberdeen and raised the quality of play amongst the team. The competition for places in the starting lineup could be seen at practices throughout the year and was a key factor to the team’s’ success. There was a fantastic spirit about the team this year, as practices were enjoyable and games were played in the right way. The clubhouse can become a problem for some teams when personalities clash, but the Granite City Oilers enjoy playing baseball together and have fun above all else.
The theme of firsts for the club continues. As for the first time, Aberdeen Baseball Club were able to play home games on there own baseball specific field. Constructing a mound, home plate and bases by handwere not the funnest training sessions for the Oilers, but definitely the most productive. The efforts of several players and members were vital to the creation of the field that the club can be very proud to call their own. George W. Chalmers field was a fortress during the regular season as the team went undefeated at there home ground, validating the players D.I.Y. skills with every win. The Oilers certainly have a strong home-field advantage, and with plans to further develop Chalmers field prior to next season, the aim is to make the home of Baseball in Aberdeen one of the best baseball fields in the UK.
Aberdeen Baseball Club members are extremely proud to have developed a youth programme in 2018. Another huge leap the club has taken to promote and advance baseball not only in Aberdeen, but in Scotland as a whole. The creation of Club President and Oilers ace Stephen Evans, the youth programme grew from small beginnings of 5 kids aged between 4 and 13, to 20 members in the space of just a few months. Practices were held at the clubs home ground, as a number of Oilers adult team players gave up a few hours of there Saturdays each week to go down and make sure the “Junior Oilers” not only learned the sport of baseball, but also had an absolute blast. Feedback from the programmes first year was extremely positive and there are plans for the club to re-start training sessions early in 2019 with the aim to have indoor sessions for the first time. The club has great hopes for the youth programme and truly is one of the clubs greatest achievements in 2018.
The on-field success of the Oilers also translated into off-field acknowledgement of the clubs success at the Baseball Scotland Awards night held in November. Several Granite City Oilers players won awards at the ceremony. Mafe Mastrocesare, David Johnson and Federico Gambedotti all won Gold Gloves. While Brennan Martin came away with a silver slugger award. The club would like to extend a massive congratulations to all Oilers players who won an award this year, and who represent the standard of play the club wishes to achieve across all positions. As well as congratulations for all award winner across all the different clubs. It was a competitive year, and the award winners are well deserving of their success.
The season would end on a sad note for Aberdeen Baseball Club. Not only did the team lose their playoff match, but they also lost a great member in Club President Stephen Evans. WIthout Stephen, many of the things the Oilers achieved this year would not have been possible. He was always down at the field as often as he could to make it look immaculate for game day. Stephen put his heart and soul into the club and will be sorely missed, and 2018 saw a lot his dreams for the club come true. The development of a youth team and the construction of the field among the biggest of these goals. There is no doubt that he will be missed but the club continues to grow even in his absence, a testament to the foundation established for the advancement of baseball in Aberdeen.
Overall, 2018 was Aberdeen Baseball Clubs most successful year, on and off the field. The performances of the Granite City Oilers, the construction of George W. Chalmers field, and the development of the clubs first ever youth programme highlight what an amazing year it has been for the club. Baseball in Aberdeen has never had a bigger footprint. The focus of the club going into next year will be to make sure we keep growing. 2019 is set up to be another huge year for baseball in Aberdeen, as even more exciting news is soon to follow! Be sure to follow the club on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with all things baseball in Aberdeen!
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