Nightcliff Baseball Club
|Full name||Nightcliff Baseball Club Inc.|
|League||Darwin Baseball League / Baseball NT|
|Home ground||Nightcliff High School|
|Anthem||"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor|
|Head coach||Jason Ellery|
|White base with black pinstripe & black/gold trim|
Nightcliff Baseball Club Inc. is an amateur baseball club located in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. Also known as "the Tigers", the club was formed in 1969 and competes in the Darwin Baseball League (DBL), latterly known as Baseball NT. It is also an affiliated member of the Nightcliff Sports Club.
Historically, baseball in Australia has been an amateur sport. As such, the club operates or functions under a constitution by a committee of volunteers, elected each calendar year. The club derives its income from player registration fees, sponsorship, grants, donations and fundraising activities. Because the club is an incorporated body, it operates as a legal business entity.
Established in 1969, Nightcliff's origins stemmed from the Darwin Chinese Recreation Club (DCRC) Red Sox. The Red Sox disbanded earlier the same year, but several former players adopted the new club. Bob Melville was elected as the inaugural President, but resigned shortly afterwards following a disagreement with another committee member. Bob was replaced by Alan Smith, who remained President for the remainder of the season.
Nightcliff dominated the competition throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. This period was known as Nightcliff's 'Golden Era' in which the club played in 12 consecutive Grand Finals, winning 9 of them.
Many critics argued that if Nightcliff had not entered and played 2 teams during the 1972/73 season, they would have easily won that premiership. The 2 teams finished second and third. The 1974/75 season was cancelled following Cyclone Tracy and most of the clubs records were either lost or destroyed in the cyclone. However, in late March 1975, an unofficial Grand Final was played between Nightcliff and representatives of the other 5 clubs. Although Nightcliff won this game, it was not officially recognised by DBL.
Nightcliff Baseball Club was a foundation member of the Nightcliff Sports Club, but the committee held its regular meetings at the Seabreeze Hotel to discuss the affairs of the club. These meetings became well known as "High Masses" and continued until the Seabreeze Hotel was destroyed during Cyclone Tracy in December 1974. Thereafter, the club held its meetings at the Nightcliff Sports Club.
In the mid to late 1980s, the club suffered both competitively and financially, arguably from the competition swapping, in 1984, from wet-season to dry-season. Nightcliff did not compete in the inaugural 1984 dry-season competition due to lack of players, but rejoined in 1985. In 1988, the club faced financial crisis and considered bankruptcy as the DBL threatened expulsion from the league. However, a lifelong Nightcliff supporter, Kay Thrupp, provided a financial lifeline and two major fund-raising efforts secured the clubs financial position.
Between 1985 and 1989 the club entered a 'Rebuilding Era' with an emphasis on junior player development. Ultimately, the strategy proved too successful with several home-grown players subsequently pursuing baseball careers in southern states, where their opportunities were greater. Since 1990, the club has remained competitive. The period between 1990 and 2000 was known as the 'Kendray Era' in reference to Nightcliff's star player who dominated the competition, coached and led the club. During the 1990s, Nightcliff played in seven Grand Finals, winning a further 3 premierships.
In 1989, the club built a permanent baseball field at Nightcliff High School. In 1997, the club became an incorporated body, to reflect the changing way amateur sport was being administered in Australia.
Between 2000 and 2006, Nightcliff played in 6 of the possible 7 Grand Finals, but failed to win any. This period was known as Nightcliff's 'Bridesmaid Era'. This era officially ended in 2007, when Nightcliff won the Grand Final against their long-time rivals, Tracy Village, 11 - 4.
In 2010, Nightcliff created a first in Northern Territory baseball history when the club appointed a woman, Narelle Gosstray, as their senior club coach. Gosstray, a former Australian women's baseball representative and Aussie Hearts coach, was also the first woman appointed to coach an Australian junior baseball side. Gosstray was among the recipients of the 2010-11 Australian Sports Commission's Sport Leadership Grants and Scholarships for Women to further her development as a high performance baseball coach. In her first year as coach, the Tigers made the 2010 grand final after finishing with the wooden spoon the previous year. In the final however, Nightcliff lost to their long-time rivals, Tracy Village 6 - 2.
In 2015 Nightcliff signed another woman player, 27-year-old left-hand pitcher Amy Collins, who won a bronze medal with the Australian women's team at the 2014 World Cup in Japan, where the opposition included baseball giants the USA, Canada, Venezuela, Japan and Chinese Taipei. In her first game with the Tigers, Collins pitched a 26 - 5 winning game over the Palmerston Reds.
(13) - 1970/71, 1971/72, 1973/74, 1975/76, 1976/77, 1977/78, 1978/79, 1979/80, 1981/82, 1991, 1993, 1999 and 2007.
(16) - 1969/70, 1972/73, 1980/81, 1990, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2012 & 2013.
The constitution allows for Life Membership and is awarded on the basis of outstanding volunteer service to the club. At least 10 years of predominantly non-playing service is generally considered necessary to achieve Life Membership. Current Life Members with their year of induction follow:
- 1974 - Gus Arthur
- 1977 - Steve Cubillo
- 1978 - Fred Schmidt †
- 1978 - Fred Bush †
- 1979 - Gary Giumelli
- 1981 - Malcolm Kinter
- 1982 - Neil McCormack
- 1986 - Graeme Halprin
- 1988 - Kieran Cassidy
- 1988 - Leigh Halprin
- 1993 - Bill Fryar
- 1997 - Andrew Kendray
- 2001 - Gary Hodgson
- 2002 - Paul Rider
- 2006 - Brett Edwards
- 2007 - Marc Green
- 2008 - Bob & Brenda † Kendray
- 2009 - Brett Hagan
|Season||MVP||Batting Ave||RBIs||Gold Glove||Stolen Bases|
|1969/70||Fred Bush||Fred Schmidt||Peter Goodchild||Fred Schmidt||Fred Bush|
|1970/71||John Lewis||Fred Bush||Peter Goodchild||Robin Cullen||Robin Cullen|
|1971/72||Gary Giumelli||Gary Giumelli||Gary Giumelli||Mike Buisak||Robin Cullen|
|1972/73||Gary Giumelli||Gary Giumelli||Fred Bush||Fred Schmidt||Gary Giumelli|
|1973/74||Grant Baker||Fred Schmidt||Gary Giumelli||Fred Schmidt||Gary Giumelli|
|1974/75||No award||No award||No award||No award||No award|
|1975/76||Wayne Longstaff||Gary Giumelli||Gary Giumelli||Fred Schmidt||Gary Giumelli|
|1976/77||Wayne Longstaff||Wayne Longstaff||Neil McCormack||Fred Schmidt||Gary Giumelli|
|1977/78||Leigh Halprin||Leigh Halprin||Gary Giumelli||Mal Kinter||Gary Giumelli|
|1978/79||Wayne Longstaff||Wayne Longstaff||Kieran Cassidy||Mal Kinter||Gary Giumelli|
|1979/80||Nick Bear||Nick Bear||Fred Bush||Nick Bear||Paul Rider|
|1980/81||Lance Schmidt||Bill Fryar||Gary Giumelli||Bill Fryar||Bill Fryar|
|1981/82||Lance Schmidt||Kieran Cassidy||Fred Bush||Leigh Halprin||Kieran Cassidy|
|1982/83||Bill Fryar||Bill Fryar||Garry Haigh||Bill Fryar||Bill Fryar|
|1983||Kieran Cassidy||Garry Haigh||Kieran Cassidy||Bill Fryar||Bill Fryar|
|1984||No award||No award||No award||No award||No award|
|1985||Lance Schmidt||Lance Schmidt||Leigh Halprin||Leigh Halprin||No award|
|1986||Lance Schmidt||Leigh Halprin||Shane Higgins||Andrew Kendray||No award|
|1987||Andrew Kendray||Andrew Kendray||Andrew Kendray||Bill Fryar||Bill Fryar|
|1988||Greg Cran||Andrew Kendray||Andrew Kendray||Bill Fryar||Bill Fryar|
|1989||Andrew Kendray||Neil Curnow||Andrew Kendray||Bill Fryar||Bill Fryar|
|1990||Andrew Kendray||Andrew Kendray||Scott Lawson||Bill Fryar||Darren Kimmorley|
|1991||Peter Cole||Peter Jackson||Andrew Kendray||Peter Jackson||Bill Fryar|
|1992||Andrew Kendray||Andrew Kendray||Peter Cole||Bill Fryar||Bill Fryar|
|1993||Andrew Kendray||Andrew Kendray||Andrew Kendray||Bill Fryar||Scott Farrer|
|1994||Ashley Kendray||Andrew Kendray||Mark Van Pelt||Andrew Kendray||Tom Keily|
|1995||Andrew Kendray||Darren Kimmorley||Andrew Kendray||Adam Keily||Bill Fryar|
|1996||Greg Cran||Darren Kimmorley||Andrew Kendray||Erv Moyd||Sean Ferme|
|1997||Andrew Kendray||Andrew Kendray||Greg Cran||Sam Tibbits||Brett Beaton|
|1998||Adam Keily||Andrew Kendray||Andrew Kendray||Jason Duncan||Adam Keily|
|1999||Darrin Wilson||Andrew Kendray||Andrew Kendray||Warwick Southwood||Jason Duncan|
|2000||Brett Niddrie||Andrew Kendray||Andrew Kendray||Jason Duncan||Jason Duncan|
|2001||Brett Niddrie||Brett Beaton||Brett Beaton||Kieran Bush||Brett Beaton|
|2002||Chris Davies||Tim Wells||Warwick Southwood||Warwick Southwood||Chris Davies|
|2003||Brett Beaton||Brett Beaton||Brett Beaton||Jamie Wakelam||Joel Harvey|
|2004||Lachlan Burrows||Lachlan Burrows||Ashley Kendray||Brett Beaton||Lachlan Burrows|
|2005||Brett Niddrie||Brett Edwards||Anthony Zamalo||Ashley Kendray||Drew Hodgson|
|2006||Brett Beaton||Brett Beaton||Brett Beaton||Drew Hodgson||Drew Hodgson|
|2007||Brett Niddrie||Ashley Kendray||Brett Beaton||Brett Beaton||Anthony Zamolo|
|2008||Joel Harvey||Joel Harvey||Brett Beaton||Brett Beaton||Brett Niddrie|
|2009||Narelle Gosstray||Joel Harvey||Brett Beaton||Adrian Handford||Bernard Kelly|
|2010||Daniel Conway-Jones||Daniel Conway-Jones||Daniel Conway-Jones||Adrian Handford||Daniel Conway-Jones|
|2011||Jason Ellery||Joel Harvey||Sean Mumme||Adrian Handford||Levi Blanchette|
|2012||Daniel Conway-Jones||Kieran Bush||Kieran Bush||Rich Williamson||Jason Ellery|
|2013||Jason Ellery||Jason Ellery||Jason Ellery||Matt Vickers||Joel Harvey|
|2014||Mitch Green||Jason Ellery||Jason Ellery||Matt Vickers||Joel Harvey|
|2015||Joel Harvey||Jason Ellery||Jason Ellery||Amy Collins||Mitch Green|
- 23 November 1969 - Nightcliff defeat Blue Jays 53 - 1, a Darwin Baseball League record that still remains to this day. Fred Schmidt, Fred Bush and Peter Goodchild all star for the Tigers.
- 17 January 1971 - With scores tied at 6 all after 9 innings, Pints score 1 run in the top of the 13th. With one out in the bottom half of the inning, Fred Schmidt singles and Peter Goodchild ends the game with a walk-off Home run and 8 - 7 win against Pints. Fred Bush pitches all 13 innings for the win.
- 17 March 1974 - In the 1973/74 Grand Final against Waratahs, Gary Guimelli walks and scores before another pitch is thrown. Nightcliff win the Grand Final 14 - 2.
- 13 March 1977 - In the 1976/77 Grand Final against Oilers, Wayne Longstaff hits the leadoff hitter with the first pitch of the game. He then retires the next 26 hitters in a row, before allowing a bloop single with 2 out in the 9th. Nightcliff win the Grand Final 6 - 0.
- 15 October 1978 - Wayne Longstaff throws 18 strikeouts in a 7 innings (mercy rule) game against South Darwin to tie the league record of 18 strikeouts in a 9 innings game.
- 29 October 1978 - Wayne Longstaff throws an 18 strikeout, no-hit, shutout, in a 7 innings (mercy rule) game against Northern Districts, to tie his own league record.
- 3 December 1978 - Gary Giumelli steals 7 bases in one game from 1 hit and 4 walks, to set a new DBL record and Wayne Longstaff throws 15 strikeouts, to help defeat South Darwin 9 - 1.
- 9 March 1980 - With 1 out in the top of the 9th inning, Kieran Cassidy hits a 2 run Home run to tie the game at 3 all. Nightcliff go on to score 5 runs in the top of the 11th inning and win the 1979/80 Grand Final against East Darwin, 8 – 3.
- 14 March 1981 - Behind all game and down 5 – 3 with 2 out in the bottom of the 9th inning, Bill Fryar & Fred Bush both double to win the Preliminary Final 6 – 5 against Pints and qualify for their 11th consecutive Grand Final appearance.
- 6 October 1983 - Lance Schmidt throws 17 strikeouts and 17 walks in a 5 hour rain soaked ‘night ball’ Grand Final against Rebels. Nightcliff eventually lose 19 – 17. Nightcliff players Gary Giumelli, Paul Rider & Gary Lambert are all ejected from the game.
- 16 August 1987 - In the upset of the season, cellar-dwellers Nightcliff defeat league leaders and eventual Premiers, South Darwin, 4 - 1. Lance Schmidt throws a complete game for the Tigers while Andrew Kendray hits a 2-run Home run and Bill Fryar hits 2-sacrifice flys.
- 9 September 1990 - Nightcliff finish the regular season as minor premiers, ending a 6-year drought of not appearing in the finals.
- 29 September 1991 - Already down 1 game in the best of 3 Grand Final series and behind early in the second game, Andrew Kendray hits a three run Home run to tie the score at 4 all. Nightcliff never look back and go to win the game 6 – 5.
- 6 October 1991 - Playing with a broken right hand (after being hit by a pitch the week before), Peter Jackson goes 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs to help win game 3 and the Grand Final against Tracy Village, 8 – 5.
- 18 September 1993 - Behind all game and down 7 – 2 in the top of the 8th inning, Nightcliff turn a triple-play to end the innings. In the bottom of the 9th inning, Nightcliff rally with 4 runs to win game 1 of the Grand Final series, 8 - 7. They go on to win the 1993 Premiership the next day against Tracy Village, who until now, had only lost one game throughout the season.
- 8 May 1994 - Playing in his 300th 'A' grade game, Bill Fryar goes 5 for 5 with 4 RBIs, 3 stolen bases and 2 runs scored, to help seal a 6 – 4 win against Pints.
- 29 May 1994 - With the scores tied at 8 all after 9 innings, Bill Fryar tripled to lead-off the bottom of the 14th inning, and scored on a walk-off base hit by Hamish Cameron defeating Pints 9 – 8, ending the longest game in DBL history. Peter Cole throws all 14 innings for the win.
- 18 May 1995 - With 2 out in the last innings of a night game, Andrew Kendray ends the game with a walk-off Grand Slam and a 5 – 3 win against Tracy Village.
- 19 September 1999 - Needing to win the final game of the regular season against Pints to finish [Minor premiership|Minor Premiers], scores are tied at 4 all after 4 innings until with 1 out in the bottom of the 10th when Andrew Kendray doubles and scores on a single by Brett Edwards to end the game 5 - 4.
- 13 August 2000 - With scores tied at 3 all after 9 innings, Brett Beaton doubles with 1 out in the bottom of the 11th and advances to third on a sacrifice fly to right field. Warwick Southwood picks up the game-winning RBI with an infield hit and 4 - 3 win against Palmerston.
- 17 September 2000 - Needing to win the last game of the regular season to make the finals, Nightcliff thump league leaders Palmerston, 26 - 1. Pitcher Brett Niddrie throws a 2-hitter for the Tigers.
- 10 September 2006 - In the Elimination Final against Palmerston, the Reds have a 6 - 5 lead late in the game. In the bottom of the 7th inning, Nightcliff send 16 hitters to the plate and score 10 runs (all earned) against 3 Palmerston pitchers. The Tigers win the game 15 - 7 and advance to the 2006 Grand Final.
- 20 May 2007 - In one of the tightest games of Nightcliff's history, the Tigers defeat Palmerston 1 - 0 after they score in the 6th inning following safe hits by Tim Rolland and Danny Dong. Pitcher Brett Niddrie throws a 2-hitter for the Tigers.
- 16 September 2007 - Tiger pitcher Brett Niddrie scatters 7 hits, in a stellar 128-pitch complete game. He also doubles in the game-winning RBI in the 8th inning, to win the Preliminary Final against the Palmerston Reds 4 - 3, as Nightcliff advance to their 10 Grand Final appearance in 11 years.
- 23 September 2007 - Nightcliff score 6 runs in the top of the 9th inning to break the game open and go on to win the 2007 Grand Final against Tracy Village, 11 - 4.
- 19 December 2009 - Former Australian women's baseball representative, Narelle Gosstray, wins the Tigers "Most Vavuable Player" award, becoming the first woman to achieve that feat.
- 25 July 2010 - Nightcliff pitcher Daniel Conway-Jones throws 14 strikeouts in a 7 innings game and also picks up 3 safe hits in a great individual performance, but the Tigers lose the game 3 - 1 to Tracy Village.
- 6 April 2014 - Nightcliff score 13 runs in the 4th innings in a 22 - 2 win over Palmerston, with Joel Harvey and Mitch Green leading the offence.
- 15 June 2014 - In a hard-fought game, Nightcliff eventually outslug Pints in a 23 - 21 victory with Jason Ellery, Joel Harvey and Mitch Green leading the Tigers offence.
- 17 April 2015 - Australian women's player, left-hand pitcher Amy Collins, pitches a 26 - 5 winning game against the Palmerston Reds.
- 24 May 2015 - Nightcliff race to a 10 - 2 lead, but are pegged back by the Palmerston Reds who tied the game at 11 - 11 at the end of the ninth inning. The Tigers scored a run at the top of the 11th and held the Reds hitters to earn the win.
- 1981 - Bill Fryar, Lance Schmidt, Leigh Halprin & Wayne Longstaff
- 1982 - Bill Fryar & Dennis Kerin
- 1983 - Bill Fryar, Lance Schmidt & Paul Rider
- 1984 - Bill Fryar
- 1985 - Lance Schmidt
- 1986 - Nil
- 1987 - Bill Fryar
- 1988 - Andrew Kendray & Scott McCormack
Several Nightcliff registered players have represented Australia and they appear below.
- 1983 - Bill Fryar (Australian Invitation team to play 3-game series against Japanese amateur champions, Toshiba)
- 1987 - Andrew Kendray (Under 18 National team to tour the United States)
- 1997 - Andrew Kendray (Australian Provincial team tour of Europe)
- 1999 - Andrew Kendray (Australian Provincial team tour of Europe)
- 2001 - Andrew Kendray & Greg Cran (Australian Provincial team tour of Europe)
- 2003 - Ashley Kendray (Australian Provincial team tour of Europe)
- 2005 - Ashley Kendray (Australian Provincial team tour of Europe)
- 2007 - Ashley Kendray (Australian Provincial team tour of Europe)
- 2009 - Ashley Kendray (Australian Provincial team tour of Japan)
- 2014 - Narelle Gosstray (Assistant Coach - Australian Women's National Team - World Cup - Japan - Bronze)
The constitution allows for a player’s uniform number to be retired, if that player has played 15 or more seasons at ‘A’ grade level with the club. Players with their corresponding retired number follow:
- 13 - Fred Bush (career. 1969–1983)
- 11 - Kieran Cassidy (career. 1972–1988)
- 14 - Leigh Halprin (career. 1973–1989)
- 21 - Bill Fryar (career. 1980–1999)
- 12 - Andrew Kendray (career. 1985–2001)
- List of baseball teams in Australia
- Baseball in Australia
- History of baseball in Australia
- Northern Territory Buffalos
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