If you build it, they will come

FIELD OF DREAMS: Mitchell Majors president Phil Minnitt founded the club to give his children a sport to play, has watched it grow over 20 years and has had the club's field, Minnitt Park, named after him.

by Jackson Russell

MITCHELL Shire’s own field of dreams is celebrating its 20th anniversary this weekend.

Mitchell Majors Baseball Club started in 1998 after president Phil Minnitt’s children decided they didn’t want to play football anymore.

With the closest team down in Mill Park, Mr Minnitt and Baseball Victoria development manager Grant Weir decided to have a come and try day in Kilmore.

Nearly 30 kids showed up to the first day on just two days’ notice. The second come and try day was had an even better turn out with 100 people showing their interest.

While the club had players, it didn’t have a home. With most fields in Kilmore taken, Broadford Secondary College let the club use their oval for its inaugural season.

Just one year later, thanks to some help from baseball fans within Mitchell Shire Council, the club found a home with a purpose-built diamond on Mollison Street.

“The council was really good to us. The field now was just a swamp and they said you could lease the land if you want to do something so we started building the ground in 1999 and they helped with grants to get the nets,” Mr Minnitt said.

Twenty years later, the club is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a Past Players Day on Saturday, June 14 as the club takes on Footscray.

Mr Minnitt said everyone’s invited, event those who haven’t had anything to do with the club before.

“It’s great because my kids started when they were 10 and I’ve played with my two boys and there aren’t many games where you can play with your kids,” he said.

“We had Troy pitching to my son Cam while I was on first base and it was just grouse.”

The club’s come a long way since those early days, moving into the Melbourne league after spending the first ten years in the Shepparton league, winning three premierships since the move.

“We’ve had players from Japan come and play for us, three Australian women’s baseballers have played with us, and we’ve had a good association with Footscray as a sister club,” Mr Minnitt said.

“We’ve probably had thousands of people come through the door. We had a grand final here in 2007 and there were 250 people here.”