THE agony of falling a game short of the Australian Baseball League play-offs will remain for some time among the Brisbane Bandits.
But for Ipswich's Andrew Campbell, there are enough positives to ease the pain a little.
The Bandits headed into the final round of the ABL in third place but were overtaken by defending champions Perth Heat for the third and final play-off spot at the weekend.
The Heat clean swept their four game series against Melbourne while the Bandits lost their three-game series to Sydney 2-1.
The fourth game of the series was washed out but it proved irrelevant, with the Bandits needing to win at least three of their four games to finish level with Perth.
When Brisbane went down in the first two games, before winning the third, it meant the end of their season.
"It was a bad way to go out," Campbell said.
The Brisbane players flew out of Sydney on Sunday unaware of the final result from the Perth-Melbourne series and whether or not their own season was over.
But the bad news was waiting for them when they landed in Brisbane.
"We were hoping Melbourne had won," Campbell said.
Sydney justified their second place finish, behind minor premiers Canberra, beating Brisbane on Thursday (6-2) and Friday (13-0).
"They've got good starting pitchers," Campbell said. "We could have done a bit better. If we'd played the way we did against Canberra, it would have been a different story."
They didn't, with both hitters and pitchers on the receiving end.
"We got knocked around a bit," Campbell said of the Bandits' pitchers.
"But their hitters hit pretty well.
"All together it added up."
In previous seasons the Bandits' fourth place finish would have earned them a playoff spot but a change to the rules meant only the top three qualify.
Despite the disappointment, Campbell was pleased with his personal and his team's improvement this season.
"It was a good season," he said.
"It was the first time we finished over 500 (more wins than losses).
"If it had been a four game playoff series, we would have been in it and I reckon we would have been in the final.
"It's been our best year so far.
"We've got a good bunch of imports."
It could be said the leadership within the team has lifted it as well, though Campbell is reluctant to heap too much praise on good mate and captain, fellow Ipswich product Josh Roberts.
"He's alright," Campbell said of Roberts.
"He makes sure it's all about the team. He doesn't like selfishness.
"He'll let you know if he thinks you're not supporting the team."
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