International boost for Ipswich team
WHEN Ipswich Musketeers complete their multicultural roster, they'll be a real threat in this year's Greater Brisbane League (GBL) competition.
That's the expectation of Musketeers club president Jon Campbell as his team welcomes another valuable addition for this weekend's home baseball series against Windsor Royals at Tivoli.
After splitting their previous series (6-4 loss, 4-3 win) to Carina Redsox, the Musketeers return to their Ipswich base with Canadian left-handed pitcher Fernando Fernandez-Beltran getting ready to play.
The Montreal-based Division 1 College recruit could pitch as soon as Sunday with Ipswich captain Josh Roberts likely to start tonight.
In-form Musketeers teenager Billy Cruise is also set to continue his important role this weekend.
Cruise is the grandson of all-Australian baseballer Joe McDonald. He's been pitching extremely well in recent games, including only conceding two runs from seven innings in Ipswich's 4-3 away win last weekend.
Joe has put a lot of work into Billy's left-arm pitching, helping the exciting youngster deliver in the GBL.
"He (Billy) will pitch at some point on the weekend. We just don't know exactly when,'' Campbell said, keen to look after the Ipswich talent.
The arrival of Fernandez-Beltran will bolster Musketeers pitching stocks, which will eventually feature three left-handers and three right-handers.
American leftie Chase Davenport is also due to arrive next week, joining Swedish pitching recruit Pontus Bystrom and Canadian Chandler McLaren, who are already playing.
Musketeers host this week-end's round with a two win-three loss record, a similar tally to Windsor.
But with three washed out games to catch up and more international players to arrive, former premiership-winning player Campbell was far from concerned.
"We can probably jump into second or third spot with two wins the weekend,'' he said.
"Everyone's beating everybody at the moment. It's pretty tight.
"Going forward we're going to be fine. Our offence is going to be pretty good and our pitching is now getting stronger.
"It's a multicultural team this year.''
Musketeers have Bandits duo Andrew Campbell and Wade Dutton available this weekend before they have trial games against a New Zealand side leading up to the start of the 2018/19 national league season.
The ABL duo will have limited Musketeers options after the series against Royals.
Sunday is also the annual Musketeers Old Boys (MOB) day, brought forward from the usual time this year.
Former club managers Robert "Bobby" Ellison and Brian "Ziggy" Zeidler have invited the MOB, their supporters and families to join in Sunday's get-together.
Foundation members Ken "Pud" Hogan and Neil "Tango" Bradley will open the day at 1pm.
The B Grade match starts at 10.45am with the A Grade encounter at 1.30pm.
GBL tonight (7.30pm): Ipswich Musketeers v Windsor Royals at Tivoli Sporting Complex (Church Street).
Sunday (1.30pm): Musketeers v Royals at Tivoli.