Ipswich ‘powerhouse’ vision drives coach’s twin challenge
OVERSEEING the continued progress of one grand final-winning side is challenging enough.
Guiding two promising teams and playing as well would test anyone's stamina.
Ipswich Musketeers baseball supporter Lyndsey Campbell welcomes the mission.
Having led the Ipswich women's team to an historic Greater Brisbane League (GBL) premiership last season, Campbell is co-ordinating two Musketeers teams in 2020/21.
Musketeers Red comfortably won its first two matches - 16-4 over Redlands and 14-9 over Wests. Musketeers Blue accounted for Beenleigh 8-5 first-up before last weekend's bye.
Preparing for two Musketeers games again this weekend, Campbell was upbeat about the challenge.
"I actually really enjoy overseeing both teams,'' she said.
"I want all the girls to improve so the women's program improves as a whole.
"I want Ipswich to be a powerhouse for women's baseball, which is difficult as Redcliffe Padres have five teams. Eventually I want to be able to compete with that.''
This season's Ipswich squad looks strong, with only three 2019/20 players not returning.
"To retain the bulk of the girls was really good to see,'' Campbell said.
Softballer Judith Earthorne has joined the Musketeers, providing a further boost.
"She is a very high quality catcher,'' Campbell said.
"She has a ton of experience and is a very welcome asset to the club.
"I did a bit of poaching and got a young girl Alana Russell over from Wests. She has so much potential and her work ethic is second to none. She will be a player to watch.
"I also got a few girls who have natural athletic ability who are trying baseball for the first time.''
Campbell said she worked to make the Musketeers Blue and Red teams as even as possible.
"Most of the team from last year is in Muskies Blue,'' she said.
"Only myself and one other are in the Red team. So I have taken most of the newer girls in my team.
"In the future, Baseball Queensland are going to make it division by ability. When this happens I will shift to an experienced team and a development team.''
The sporting all-rounder said women's baseball was growing because it was something different to try.
"There is also talk of a women's ABL in the near future,'' Campbell said. "So having more girls to pick from will increase the talent and increase the success.
"Also, the social aspect of our women's squad is great.''
Campbell is happy to focus on teaching the newcomers improve their skills.
Although Musketeers are defending champions, Campbell said having an expanded GBL would ensure Ipswich wasn't the only team in the firing line.
"I think it's difficult for us to be targeted as the competition now has 17 teams across North and South divisions, which is huge growth from 12 teams last season,'' she said.
"I think other clubs know we have two strong teams but it won't be as easy as it was last year.
"I know the girls from last year are keen to continue our winning form. Backing up as undefeated premiers is a huge name to live up to, so we just train hard and play hard.
"To get three wins so far in the season is a very good start.''
Campbell is assisted on game days by Joe McDonald and Daniel Howells.
Having a new batting cage installed at the Tivoli Sporting Complex last season has been hugely beneficial.
"Our best asset in both teams is our ability to hit,'' the coach said.
"We have used the batting cages every session so the girls can see a lot of strikes. So we get a lot of swings in and have an understanding the strike zone.
"Teams tend to struggle with lack of pitching, so if we can continue to be disciplined in the box, we will have much more success.
"The new cages have been a great training tool for us.''
This year's GBL season is eight rounds before finals. Musketeers are in the South Division.
Women's state titles are also planned, giving the baseballers more opportunities to progress in the sport.
Campbell appreciated the support she had received from the Ipswich Musketeers committee and volunteers.
"They are all on board with what we are trying to achieve,'' she said.
"At the end of the day though, I just want to girls to have fun and be happy with their own individual improvement.''
STATE OF PLAY
Rd 1: Musketeers Red def Redlands Rays 16-4, Musketeers Blue def Beenleigh Hawks 8-5.
Rd 2 (last weekend): Musketeers Red def Wests Bulldogs 14-9; Blue had bye.
Next games on Saturday: Musketeers Red v Southern Stars at Tivoli; Musketeers Blue v Wests at Wests.