Musketeers call on the cavalry
THE Ipswich Musketeers have received a welcome boost ahead of their Greater Brisbane League campaign starting early next month.
Club president Jon Campbell was happy to announce the back-to-back GBL grand finalists have added three international signings to the squad, who will link up with the team early in the 2017/18 season.
The imports Campbell hopes will add much-needed depth to the Musketeers' playing stocks, as they push to go one step further than the previous two campaigns.
Assuming the visa process goes smoothly, the American trio - JaVain West, Tanner Donnels and Jackson Royce - will likely arrive before November.
"JaVain West has played five seasons in the Independent Frontier League in America, and Tanner Donnels is an outfielder who played pro ball for the Detroit Tigers,” Campbell said.
"(Royce) was a starting short stop out of a Division 1 College in Indiana.
"He led the team in stolen bases and hitting last year. He's pretty excited to be coming.”
Their arrival will continue a tradition of bringing in American players on a year-long visa to bolster the senior team's stocks, and also help coach the junior grades.
"It is hard to get them out for more than one year, they get the working holiday visa but can only get that once in their life,” Campbell said.
"Then it becomes difficult because you have to sponsor them, so we usually look to add new imports each year.
"We'll use them to help coach the kids as well. It's especially important to the club for that reason.”
The arrivals could not come sooner for Campbell, who hopes to work with the trio before losing Wade Dutton and his son Andrew Campbell to the Brisbane Bandits.
Aside from the US cavalry, Campbell was happy to announce the team had secured the signatures of three former Surfers Paradise starters.
Ex-professional Bradley Wise, pitcher Dan Butler and Bandits-linked pitcher Reece Niit will join with the squad once their clearances are finalised.
"That'll give us a catcher, starting pitcher and valuable utility guy,” Campbell said.
"With those guys coming in as well as the Americans, I believe we could be stronger than last year.”
Last season's player-coach Josh Roberts is expected to miss the season with a broken leg. In the former Bandits' stead, fellow Bandits teammate Brad Dutton will step into the role.
"(Roberts) and Brad Dutton were two of the leaders of that Bandits team, so I expect Brad to step in to that role and do well,” Campbell said.
Musketeers incumbent Dean Jones is again expected to open the season as the team's lead-off pitcher. Young reliever Taliesin Tardrew returns to continue his promising GBL apprenticeship.