'All for one, one for all' as club prepares for title tilt
BASEBALL: Buoyed by four Californian ring-ins, the Ipswich Musketeers are hoping to progress all of the way to their fourth grand final in five years this season.
The Musketeers will take on the Windsor Royals on Friday night and Sunday this week at Newmarket's Holloway Field after opening the campaign with a 7-4 loss to Redlands last weekend.
President Jon Campbell said the club's success in finishing runner up last season had been aided by the presence of a large contingent of imports but that number had been reduced to four this year.
Campbell said two of the imports had only just arrived prior to the opening match and were suffering severe jet lag, while another was still to land on Australian soil.
He said the game gave players who had not picked up the bat for sometime a chance to blow out the cobwebs and the result was not at all concerning at this early stage of the season.
"They played quite well considering," he said.
Cambell said the A-grade line-up was entering a rebuilding phase this year and would look to blood four promising teenage players in the top flight this season.
But he was confident the squad would come together under the astute coaching of the experienced Greg Suthers in pursuit of a common goal and do the club proud.
Campbell said the four-time consecutive premiership winning Windsor outfit had lost some of its most damaging prospects and he was confident the Musketeers could avenge last season's loss in the best of three decider.
"They don't look as strong on paper," he said.
"They still do have some quality players who are in the Australian team but I think we can knock them over this weekend."
In a good sign of depth, the Musketeers will enter four senior men's teams in divisions one, two, five and Masters.
For the first time in history, the Tivoli club will field a women's team.
Campbell said it was announced a women's competition would be held and 13 locals who were keen to try the sport immediately came out of the woodwork.
"We had a lot of interest," he said.
"We have got the numbers and we're ready to roll."
Campbell said junior numbers were healthy and the Musketeers would field teams in every age group except for under-16s but was always looking to unearth fresh talent.
He said the club had been running programs at local schools, including Raceview and Central in order to recruit new players.
"The numbers are not too bad," he said.
"There are not massive amounts of kids.
"We have been running a program at Raceview and Central schools to advertise baseball and try to get some of the kids interested in the sport."
In a coup for the club, a number of brand new batting cages have been completed at the Tivoli Sporting Complex.
The project cost a total of $180,000 to complete and was made possible with the assistance of a $150,000 government grant and an Ipswich City Council contribution of close to $30,000.