'Soupy Slam' seals series sweep for Bandits
IPSWICH Musketeer Andrew Campbell recorded his first ever Australian Baseball League grand slam to help the Brisbane Bandits record a clean sweep over Canberra Cavalry.
The "Soupy Slam'', as ABL media have dubbed it, broke the 1-1 deadlock in the fourth innings and proved the difference as the reigning premiers ran out 5-2 winners on the night.
Campbell's four-run homer lifted the Bandits to a 3-0 start to the season - their best opening in team history - as they chase a record three ABL titles on the trot.
Campbell's heroics with the bat at Holloway Field secured him another starting berth in the team set to face the Heat in Perth tomorrow night.
It means he will be on the opposite side of the country when the Musketeers host Coomera Cubs at Tivoli, also tomorrow night.
"I was a little disappointed with how I was swinging the bat in the first couple of games, so I spent a good hour or two in the cages perfecting my swing,” Campbell said.
"I knew what I had to do coming into that game.
"As a left-hander facing a lefty, I just hoped I could do the job and I got the right pitch and put it away.
"I wasn't trying to hit a home run, just a sacrifice fly to get some runs in but it ended up over the fence.”
Musketeers teammate and original Bandit Wade Dutton was instrumental with the bat for the Brisbane side through the three-game series. Campbell praised the veteran for his influence.
"Wade is one of the original Bandits, he played in the very first team in 2010,” Campbell said.
"He's back with us this year, and he's a major asset to the side.
"I believe he's one of the best Australian players in the league, he's very versatile and just an awesome hitter.”
A new-look Bandits team, built almost entirely of home-grown talent, faces championship fancies Perth Heat tomorrow.
Campbell said the West Australian side would present a number of challenges, courtesy of some talented US imports.
"Perth have a lot of young guys who really know how to play,” he said.
"They got some Tampa Bay Rays guys across that usually we would have, but we didn't need them this season because we have some great Australian guys.
"We just have to be a wary of their young, confident hitters - our pitchers will need to be on the ball, because we know our hitters will do their job.”
A series win in Perth would go a long way to boosting the confidence in the Bandits camp, as the team vies for a rare three-peat.
"After we won the first championship two years ago, we had a lot of belief we could go back-to-back,” Campbell said.
"Now we've won two in a row, we have the belief we can do it three times.
"From the very top, the coaches are filling our minds with the determination to win.
"We have a really good side, and the best thing is most of us are Australian.”
Despite the absence of Dutton, pitcher Rhys Niit and himself from the Musketeers tonight, Campbell had every faith the depth of the team would hold them in good stead.
"The old man (Campbell's father and Musketeers president Jon Campbell) does a good job of getting some talented imports in,” Campbell said.
"We have Tanner (Donnels) and Jacko (Jackson Boyce) who add a lot to the team.
"I have no doubt we'll be in the top three teams at the end of the season.”