BILLY THE KID: Ipswich Musketeers junior Billy Cruice is getting ready to tour Sydney and Canberra after being named in the Queensland under-14 schoolboys baseball team.
BILLY THE KID: Ipswich Musketeers junior Billy Cruice is getting ready to tour Sydney and Canberra after being named in the Queensland under-14 schoolboys baseball team. Inga Williams

Musketeer thrown Queensland call-up

AS ONE Ipswich baseball star gets ready to represent his country, another future prospect has earned selection in Queensland’s youngest representative squad.

This weekend, Ipswich Musketeers and Brisbane Bandits outfielder Andrew Campbell will take his place in the Australian national team, The Southern Thunder, for the international Haarlemse Honkbalweek tournament in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile back home in Ipswich, 14-year-old Billy Cruice is hard at work in the club’s batting cages as he prepares to join the Queensland Schoolboys under-14 state team.

Following in the footsteps of former Ipswich greats like Peter Vogler, Steve Hinton and now Campbell, the St Edmund’s College student is in training to become the next generation of baseball successes.

Softly spoken but fiercely determined, the young pitcher was greatly surprised by his first state selection.

“I was shocked,” Billy said. “I’m really looking forward to the experience and just the chance to play baseball.

“I know most of the team from playing against them and I met a few while I was with the Brisbane Bandits development squad.”

Baseball runs deep in the blood of the Cruice family.

The field Billy trains on at the Musketeers home ground at Tivoli was named after his great-grandfather and club life member Thompson McDonald.

Billy’s grandfather Ross “Joe’’’ McDonald also represented Queensland and Australia during the 70’s and 80’s.

With a family legacy in the sport, it was Billy’s parents who encouraged him to take up the sport he now loves.

“I practice at home with mum and dad and train once a week,” Billy said.

“Every second day we just throw pitches and practice my batting. I just love playing the game.

“I have a few friends at school who play as well. It just happened that they were also playing baseball and that’s the only sport I play.”

Selected from the Met West side which came fifth in the Queensland School Sport State Championships in Cairns last month, the eager teen will join the Queensland camp in Carina in two weeks.

Once the young players have been presented with their new Baseball Queensland jerseys, the side will then embark on a tour of Sydney and Canberra where the young players will have opportunity to meet the Canberra Cavalry state senior side.

While looking forward to meeting some of the stars of the Australian Baseball League, Billy said his biggest hero was fellow pitcher Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“David Suthers put me on the mound for my first game in under 12’s,” he said.

“I loved it straight away and now I have a slider and a fast ball pitch.

“My favourite player is Kershaw because he just pitches really well and I enjoy watching him.”



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