Redemption on the mind for Werribee Giants

Darryl George will be looking to have a big impact with Werribee when he is not on duty with the Melbourne Aces. Picture Shawn Smits

Last season’s heartbreaking semi-final exit continues to burn the Werribee Giants six months later.

The Giants were swept out of the playoffs by eventual premier Moorabbin in two nail-biting one-run games.

The hurt that lingers from that series has driven the Giants during the pre-season.

The message from Giants president Ben Bavdek is simple.

“No more semi-finals, no more semi finals – we definitely want to redeem from last year,” he proclaimed emphatically.

Charles Thompson has stepped up as coach to replace Justin Charles at Werribee.

Thompson was a playing assistant coach last summer and has long wanted to coach a team in his own right.

“He’s been really champing at the bit to have a head coach role,” Bavdek said.

“It was a benefit for the club to get to know the guy before he started and he’s definitely passionate about the game.

“He’s brought a different mindset than last season.

“He’s not afraid to sit down and discuss everyone’s ideas on the game.”

Werribee lost talented young pitcher Wes De Jong to college baseball in the US.

The make-weight for De Jong’s departure is the arrival of import Trent Evins.

Evins, who hails from Oregon, is no stranger to Australian baseball, having played with Geelong in division 1.

“He’s a nice right-handed pitcher that throws about 92 mile per hour,” Bavdek said.

“It’s good for us – an extra pick-up with Wes going to college, so you lose one and you gain one.”

Just as exciting are the returns of club MVP Josh Lee and Melbourne Aces star Darryl George.

Meanwhile, the Werribee women’s section will also take on a new look with club veteran Emma Lowe taking over as coach.

Tony Culph spent a long time in the position and felt it was the right time to hand over the reins to his successor.

“Tony’s been the go-to-guy for the women’s baseball in Werribee for years,” Bavdek said.

“For him to step back, as much as it hurts him, you can see how much he loves the club and loves the team … he knew it was time to go.

“He’s left a good legacy and now it’s Emma’s time to pick the ball up and run with it.

“Emma has played for the last 10 years with the women’s team.

“We’ve turned that corner to a new generation of coaching and we’re pretty excited with the way it’s going to go.”