Gladstone quartet showed some top form in championship
SOFTBALL: Despite a 10-4 loss in the 2018 Open Men's Queensland Cup and Open Championship, Gladstone's Michael Ludkin has received yet another accolade.
The World Cup-winning Australian Steeler has been selected in both the Queensland Patriots and under-23 state teams Open Men's team ahead of the John Reid Shield in Canberra from January 13-19.
Ludkin, along with fellow Gladstone player Brock Finlay, represented Rockhampton A on the weekend in the Queensland Cup category.
But in a bitter-sweet campaign, Ludkin and Finlay's efforts weren't enough in the grand final against a powerful Redlands outfit which claimed the Queensland Cup.
"I was pretty rapt and it was definitely unexpected," a modest Ludkin said of his dual state selection.
"There were a lot of good players in the men's open competition."
Brisbane-based Redlands capitalised on a fast start and even though Ludkin had tried to load up the bases to potentially close the gap to 10-7 and give Rocky a sniff - Redlands defended superbly at the crunch.
"Redlands are just a hitting team and they batted from one to nine," Ludkin said.
He pitched for one innings while Ryan Smith pitched across six innings in the final
Ludkin was massive in the grand final qualifier against Logan City.
Ironically it was also Gladstone's Lochie Martin who represented defending champions Logan City and who faced pitcher Ludkin.
Martin was the last man out as Rocky A held on to win 3-2.
Rockhampton A coach Louie Cox was proud of his team and in particular Ludkin and fellow pitcher Ryan Smith.
"They showed a lot of guts," he said after the grand final.
"They pitched all weekend and did a great job in the middle.
"We had one bad innings and it just away from us.
"We had to play three games each day so our pitchers were worn out and a bit and Redlands were able to capitalise on that."
With a plethora of promising juniors in both Rocky and Gladstone waiting in the wings, Cox expects Rocky A to be up in contention for a period of time.
"There's a lot of good juniors coming up who are keen to get into the team," he said.
Martin enjoyed a solid tournament for Logan City while Finlay improved with each game and he hit a home run in Rockhampton A's 5-0 win against Caboolture in a preliminary-round game.
Gladstone's other player of promise Josh Ferguson played a crucial role and guided Ipswich to a 5-1 win against Toowoomba in the final of the Open Championship.