New arrivals make Musketeers the team to beat
A THREE and three start to the season and 7-0 win over the defending premiers would normally mark an exceptionally encouraging beginning for the Ipswich Musketeers.
But not this year.
Sunday's big win over Windsor was expected, according to player/coach Josh Roberts, who has spoken boldly about his team's prospects of taking their first Brisbane Major League title since 2001.
Only Dave Suthers remains from that team, but Roberts, who is rarely short on self confidence, has no doubt the title is his team's to lose.
His confidence comes from the team's roster this season, which has been boosted by three US imports and three quality players who have defected to the Muskets from other clubs.
The Ipswich Musketeers culture, where the players are a tight knit group of friends, has proven attractive to former Redcliffe brothers Brad and Wade Dutton.
"They're mates of mine who got sick of playing for Redcliffe," Roberts said.
"When we played them at home last season they stayed at my place and we had a good time.
"At Redcliffe the players don't hang around after a game and have a beer and they liked that we did."
The pair has brought with them former Gold Coast catcher Anthony Slag.
They have been joined at Musketeers by US imports Alex Rubanowitz and Mike Peroni with fellow US import Ryan Torrey, who spent the 2013-14 season with the Muskets, expected here shortly.
It seems the stars have aligned for the Muskets this season, with Roberts also able to commit to the whole season, having turned his back on the Brisbane Bandits and the Australian Baseball League after five seasons.
Premierships are won by pitchers and with club veteran Dean Jones complimented by Peroni and Ribanowitz with Torrey still to come, Roberts has no doubt the quality is there to match the best.
"We proved it against Windsor," he said.
"I think we've got the best hitting line-up in the comp.
"But it doesn't matter what I think.
"As long as our pitchers keep them close I think we'll score that many runs no-one will stick with us.
"It will take the opposition doing something special to beat us."
Perhaps Roberts' greatest challenge is maintaining team harmony, with the new additions likely to oust a number of Ipswich based players from the top side.
But Roberts believes competition for spots can only be a good thing.
"It is something we haven't had for a long time," he said.
"It's good to have depth. If people sit on the bench and listen they'll learn so much."
This weekend the Muskets take on Surfers Paradise at Tivoli, this evening and Sunday afternoon.
- Brad Dutton (Redcliffe - 3rd base)
- Wade Dutton (Redcliffe - centre field)
- Anthony Slag (Surfers Paradise - catcher)
- Alex Rubanowitz (US - pitcher/ utility)
- Mike Peroni (US - short stop/pitcher)
- Ryan Torrey (US- pitcher)