Ipswich tribute for player who made a huge impact
BASEBALL: As Ipswich Musketeers honour a great at Tivoli on Friday night, the club's up and coming and senior players have been challenged to step up.
Musketeers coach Greg Suthers said the players would wear black arm bands and observe a minute's silence for former pitcher Kim "Lefty'' Jessop in their home clash with Pine Hills.
That Ipswich tribute and match at 7pm will follow a Baseball Queensland organised Memorial at Hendra All Stars on Friday afternoon.
Suthers was one of Ipswich's rising pitchers when Jessop dominated the mound during Musketeers' four consecutive premiership successes from 1986-89.
"He was good to everyone,'' Suthers said, when asked about Lefty's impact at the club.
"And I played with him at the Bandits as well (in the Australian Baseball League).
"He was always a good competitor. He hated losing.
"He didn't want to hand the ball over to anyone else.
"That's the way he played the game.''
Suthers said the Musketeers community was in shock after Jessop's recent passing, aged just 60.
"It's quite hard to believe to be honest,'' Suthers said, sharing the sad news with other family members and long-time teammates who were close to Jessop.
However, as Lefty's wonderful contribution to baseball will be remembered, Suthers said the Musketeers had to get on with the job in the Greater Brisbane League competition.
Musketeers host the Lightning on Friday night and on Sunday afternoon having just one win this season.
In last weekend's matches, Musketeers lost 12-4 and 3-1 to Narangba.
"We're just not scoring the runs,'' Suthers said.
"Last week in the Sunday game, we had something like 12 runners on base and only scored one run. We're not executing that final play.
"A couple of times with loaded bases with one out, you expect to score a run . . . but weren't able to do it.''
Musketeers' plight wasn't helped with regulars Josh Roberts, Greg Ellis and Anavai Fesolai unavailable.
However, Suthers praised Lismore-based catcher Andrew Carrol for driving three and a half hours to help the team in Narangba.
"He was a good help, making his way up from Lismore,'' Suthers said.
The Musketeers coach was also encouraged having young players like his son Jeremy, Campbell Twigg and Billy Cruice receiving some valuable A-Grade game time.
"Part of that is we haven't had a consistent roster,'' Suthers said.
"But it just means there's an opportunity for the young fellas to step up.
"A bit like in the days with myself and Kim. I got the opportunity to step up and I had a job to do. You've got to go do that job.
"It's that sort of stuff we've got to get into the kids coming through. They are the future of our club.
"We need to get them opportunities but also with that comes responsibility.
"They are working hard at training. They just have to play with confidence when they get out there.''
Suthers said the older players had to lead the way.
"They need to relax and just play their game,'' he said.
"They don't have to make up for someone else. They just have to be as good as they can be and the other stuff will take care of itself.''
Californian import Logan Grigsby is expected to start on the mound on Friday night, with Dean Jones resuming his regular Sunday pitching role.
GBL: Friday (7pm) - Ipswich Musketeers v Pine Hills Lightning at the Tivoli Sporting Complex.
Sunday (1.30pm): Musketeers v Lightning at Tivoli.