Potent pitching wins it for Muskets
DEAN Jones pitched "his best game all season" and Josh Roberts closed out the contest with consecutive strikes, as the Ipswich Musketeers re-routed the ship in a 5-1 home win over Padres at Tivoli on Wednesday night.
Last season's Greater Brisbane League grand finalists had found themselves in something of a form slump, losing five on the bounce heading into the Christmas break.
With the top four and a place in the finals slipping out of their grasp, the Musketeers needed to return from the break firing on all cylinders.
President Jon Campbell said there was renewed energy within the group heading into Wednesday night's contest.
"I think so, and there was a little bit of desperation in some respects because we're not in the top four at the moment and that's where we need to be," he said.
Veteran pitcher Dean Jones was the name on Campbell's lips; the right-hander throwing eight innings for just three hits and one run.
"Dean Jones was awesome, it was probably the best game he's pitched all year," Campbell said.
"Brad Dutton also had a blinder, he made 12 or 13 plays from short stop. He's carried on his form (from last year)."
The home side took an early lead in the first innings and never looked back; lead-off hitter Steve Greer finishing with two runs, two hits and three RBIs from three at-bats.
But it was the return of last season's captain Josh Roberts from a broken leg that had the biggest impact, according to Campbell.
"It was massive, just a big lift for everyone," the president said of the return to the mound of the former Brisbane Bandit and Australian representative.
"He's been there every game on the sidelines coaching, but for him to finally be back out there - he adds a lot to the team.
"He closed us out in the ninth innings; when he struck those last two guys out, it looked like he'd never been away."
Campbell knows there is still a long way to go before the Musketeers can consider themselves back in the hunt for the post-season, but with the path now laid out for the team, he has confidence they can return to the top.
"We needed that win, and now we need to win again (on Sunday)," Campbell said.
"If we can win these next three games, we'll be right back in touch."
The Musketeers host Padres at Tivoli on Sunday at 1.30pm.