Sport

Bandit has ammo for World Classic

SLUGGER: Josh Roberts aims to impress in the Australian Baseball League this summer.
SLUGGER: Josh Roberts aims to impress in the Australian Baseball League this summer. File

JOSH Roberts hopes another standout season for the Brisbane Bandits will secure him a place in the Australian team for the World Baseball Classic next year.

The Ipswich Musketeers star played all three games for Australia in their recent series against the ABL's Sydney Blue Sox but despite winning two of three games, the 26-year-old was disappointed with his own form.

Roberts is renowned for his power hitting but failed to connect during the series.

The outfielder remains hopeful that good form in the ABL season will ultimately decide who makes the trip to Taiwan.

"I think it will come down to how I go in the ABL season," Roberts said of his chances of realising his international goal.

"I'm sure they have an idea of the team they want but if you have a really good ABL season, you're a good chance to make the side.

"I've been working hard to prepare and getting a few hits for the Muskies but it's a completely different thing when you face an ABL pitcher."

That challenge continues this weekend as Roberts and Muskets team mate Andrew Campbell hit off their Bandits season with a three-game away series against the Sydney Blue Sox.

Roberts was looking forward to getting into the season after a frustrating first week where the Bandits and the Melbourne Aces had first round byes.

"We just can't wait to get out on the field," Roberts said ahead of last night's opening game.

"The whole league played last week but we just sat around and played club ball and had a few games during the week."

Those club games may keep ABL players fit but Roberts said the talent difference at national level meant regular ABL games were a must.

"A guy like Chris Oxspring for Sydney has pitched in the major leagues in both Japan and America," he said.

"So the ABL definitely requires a different mindset, you have to prepare for what they can throw.

"You need to understand what they can and can't do, there's no swinging and hoping at this level.

"A lot of players in the league have been around a long time so I look to talk to them and get information.

"It helps you understand what to look for and where you might be able to get a hit."

If Roberts can find the form that saw him finish in the league's top 10 batters last year then a spot in the national team in March seems assured.

Australia is in Pool B of the World Baseball Classic with the Netherlands, Taiwan and a yet-to-be-decided qualifier.

Games will be played from March 2-5 next year.

Topics:  brisbane bandits, josh roberts



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