BANDITS DON’T WANT A REPEAT OF LAST YEAR
The Brisbane Bandits know there is only one way to avoid a repeat of the shambolic finish to last season’s Australian Baseball League season – make the finals says Greg David at the Courier Mail.
Brisbane’s four-game series against Canberra, which was originally postponed because of January’s floods, was cancelled by the ABL because both teams were out of playoff contention. It was a strange end to a promising summer when the ABL was reborn with the significant backing of Major League Baseball. Perth beat Adelaide in the grand final of the revamped competition while the Bandits’ players, staff and supporters watched on at a function at the Breakfast Creek Hotel.
Brisbane wants to be a part of those high-stakes contests this time around and have been working away feverishly in the off-season to assemble a squad capable of mounting a serious tilt at the title.“We want to make the top four. We want to be playing for the Claxton Shield this year,” Bandits general manager Paul Gonzalez said.Australian baseball legend Dave Nilsson has stepped down as head coach because of family commitments but is still involved in the club in a part-time consultancy role.He has been replaced at the helm by former Bandits player Kevin Jordanwho won the ABL Most Valuable Player and hitting awards in 1993.
Jordan played for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1995 to 2001 and was a Bandit from 1993 to 1997. He has been a coach in the Phillies organisation since retiring as a player.“We’ve got a lot to be excited about here in Brisbane,” Jordan said after guiding the Bandits to a 6-3 win over a Brisbane All-Stars team at the RNA Showgrounds on Thursday night.Pittsburgh Pirates major league player Xavier Paul heads the list of imports.
The outfielder played 121 games for the Pirates last season, hitting at an average of .254.Italian pitcher Alessandro Maestri and five Fukuoka Southbank Hawks – Keiji Nakahara (outfielder), Kenta Imamya (shortstop), Taisei Makihara (shortstop), Ayatsugu Yamashita (catcher) and Yohei Yanagawa (pitcher) – round out the imports.