Ipswich baseballer completes impressive sporting double
GROWING up in Ipswich, allrounder Andrew Campbell dared to dream of winning a championship in two sports.
At 23, he's achieved the feat.
After sharing in Norths' historic 2014 Ipswich A-grade rugby league grand final triumph, the Yamanto sportsman completed his impressive double at the weekend.
He played a vital role in the Brisbane Bandits' 7-1 Australian Baseball League win last night that sealed the team its first Claxton Shield title in a decade.
"It's special for me,'' Campbell said amid post-game celebrations which continued today.
"It's at national level so it's more exciting.''
Campbell had played 191 ABL games, including 53 this season, before reaching the pinnacle of Australia's domestic competition.
After missing the Bandits' opening final series win 7-4 over Adelaide on Friday night, Campbell showed why he is such an important member of the side.
The 183cm outfielder made a decisive catch at the top of sixth innings in the wet and tricky conditions at Holloway Field.
His diving effort saved two runs and ended an Adelaide rally, consolidating the Bandits' 5-1 advantage.
"I was pretty happy with that,'' the Australian squad member said.
"I don't really do that, that often, so it was pretty fun to do in front of that crowd.''
Left-handed batter Campbell also scored a run in the next inning before sharing in the celebrations.
While savouring his first national title, Campbell appreciated the support from Ipswich, especially his parents Jon and Denise.
Former premiership-winning player Jon is Ipswich Musketeers club president.
Denise was busy helping out at the Musketeers grounds yesterday after watching her son's success the night before.
"Mum and dad have done it all my life, followed me across the world and taken me to training,'' Andrew said.
"They work really really hard to keep things alive and help the club.''
Ipswich Musketeers baseball and Norths Tigers rugby league teammates were also among the crowd in Brisbane.
"We had such a massive crowd last night. It's huge for baseball,'' Campbell said.
Another former Ipswich Musketeers player part of the Bandits team was assistant coach Shayne Watson. He played an important role assisting former Major League and Queensland Claxton Shield-winning catcher David Nilsson.
Ipswich-born and bred Campbell was too young to see the city's previous Claxton Shield-winning players like Peter Vogler, Paul Coogan, Peter Wood and Kim Jessop play.
That powerful Ipswich connection was part of victorious Queensland sides in 1987 and 1988.
One of those players - former Ipswich Olympian Vogler - was inducted into the Australian Baseball Hall of Fame during the weekend series.
As part of the current generation of elite baseballers, Campbell hopes the Bandits success inspires more young players. He's proven how Ipswich juniors can work their way through the Musketeers club to Australian Baseball League level.
Campbell was also part of Norths' 2014 IRL grand final victory - 42-16 over Brothers - which ended a 19-year top drought.
After overcoming a knee injury that cut short last year's footy season, he was back at the top of his game for the Bandits.