Seaham Storm Baseball Club doing well in Newcastle Baseball Association competition

BATTER UP: Seaham Storm rookie Chad Lewis, 15, and catcher Rebecca Galbraith ready to play at Brandon Park. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts
BATTER UP: Seaham Storm rookie Chad Lewis, 15, and catcher Rebecca Galbraith ready to play at Brandon Park. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Baseball has been alive and well in Seaham for the past 26 years and it is showing no signs of slowing down.

During the cooler months on a Saturday and Sunday morning, Brandon Park, home to the Seaham Storm Baseball Club, is filled with baseballers looking to have a "hit and a giggle".

"We're a family orientated club," president Paul Durrell said. "We're here for fun.

"We have two mixed teams, men and women, seniors and juniors. They come out on a Saturday and have a hit, have some fun."

Seaham Storm was established in 1992 by Durrell, Ian McMurray, Paul Le Mottee, Tony Lydon and Tommy Wilson.

The group chose to establish a baseball club in Seaham as it gave cricketers a winter sport to play. Durrell said cricket skills were "transferrable" to baseball.

In its first year in the Newcastle Baseball Association competition, Seaham's two teams hit the field wearing tracksuit pants and t-shirts, going up against well established and resourced clubs such as Belmont.

Despite being the underdog, Seaham stormed its way into the semi-final that year.

Durrell said it was almost to everyone's surprise that Seaham beat Belmont in the semi.

Seaham started out in the social league (grades five and six) and is where it is currently graded.

But it has had a taste of the higher grades, going up to the minors (grades three and four) and the majors (one and two) throughout the years.

"We had major league here for four years running," Durrell said. "But we went down to minors because we couldn't attract major league players. They go to more powerful teams. But even in the majors, we've always been a social club. It's about playing the game."

Brandon Park has been called the most isolated ground in Newcastle baseball, but it has been home to at least one of Australia's big names in the sport.

Australian women's team pitcher Brittany Hepburn, from Raymond Terrace, got her start in baseball in Seaham.

In 2014 Hepburn became the first female to play first grade men's baseball in Newcastle. She now plays with the Boomerangs Baseball Club.

Storm coach Amanda Pike said baseball is one of Australia's fastest growing sports, and now more women are signing up to play.

"It's really great to see," she said. "When I started out, there wasn't many women. There weren't many accredited coaches. There are more now."

Pike and her husband Daniel, a secretary for the club, joined two years ago. They commute from the Central Coast to Seaham each week for training and games.

"Seaham is a lot like family," Pike said. "We love it here."

Seaham's grade five team sit on top of its competition ladder with Toronto Tigers and Lakers after seven rounds. The club's grade six team are second from the bottom.

Anyone interested in playing baseball can join Seaham Storm at Brandon Park on Thursdays from 6.30pm.