NEW SILVERWARE: The Ipswich Musketeers defeated Pine Hills Lightning 14-4 on Friday night to take home the Armed Services Community Appreciation trophy.
NEW SILVERWARE: The Ipswich Musketeers defeated Pine Hills Lightning 14-4 on Friday night to take home the Armed Services Community Appreciation trophy. Contributed

Beltran brings the Lightning, downs Pine Hills

THE IPSWICH Musketeers are inaugural winners of the Armed Services Community Appreciation trophy, following a dominant 14-4 display away to Pine Hills Lightning on Friday night.

After conceding four runs in the opening innings, the Musketeers held their hosts scoreless while adding 14 of their own - including 11 in the final three innings - to add a fresh piece of silverware to the trophy cabinet.

With Gaythorne RSL coming on as a major sponsor of the Lightning, and the Musketeers' connections with the RAAF base at Amberley, the two clubs hope to make playing for the trophy an annual event.

Again it was the live wire arm of Canadian import Fernando Beltran who proved the difference, pitching a full game and leaving 13 strikeouts in his wake.

In a return to Pine Hills for Sunday's double-header, the Musketeers won the first match 4-1 before falling 2-1 in the afternoon.

The 2-1 overall series result was still good enough to solidify the Ipswich ball club in third position on the GBL ladder.

Club president Jon Campbell missed the series as he was in Canberra supporting son Andrew and the Brisbane Bandits.

But he was suitably chuffed with the pitching efforts of his bullpen, especially considering that was a key area of concern heading into the season.

"Because Steven Greer has come back to play for us, that strengthens our offence which allows Pontus (Bystrom) to consolidate and concentrate a bit more on his pitching,” Campbell said.

"He'll still hit the plate for us, but he can also lock down a pitching spot.

"That will be especially important come finals. When you have three games, you want three genuine starters and he's showing he can be one of those.”

Tomorrow night's home clash against Carina will be a good litmus test of the Muskets' finals preparedness, with the Redsox coming off a resounding 2-0 series win over league-leaders Windsor last round.

"They're a good team, but we're a lot stronger than we were when we first played,” Campbell said, referencing the 4-6, 4-3 series split in October.

"They beat Windsor in both their games at the weekend, so they're going well. But I think we can beat them.”

A positive result against the Redsox could lift the Muskets into equal second on the GBL ladder going into the Christmas break.

That would set up a juicy return to fixtures on January 9, when the Ipswich ball club hosts Windsor at Tivoli.

Greater Brisbane League Division 1

Game 1: Musketeers 14 def. Pine Hills 4. Game 2: Musketeers 4 def. Pine Hills 1. Game 3: Pine Hills 2 def. Musketeers 1

Next series: Wednesday (7pm) - Musketeers v Coomera Cubs at Tivoli; Sunday (1.30pm) - Musketeers v Coomera Cubs at Tivoli



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