STEPPING STONE: Ipswich baseballer Josh Roberts is focused on another big performance for Team Australia later this month.
STEPPING STONE: Ipswich baseballer Josh Roberts is focused on another big performance for Team Australia later this month. CONTRIBUTED

Top Ipswich pair shoot for stars

IPSWICH products Josh Roberts and Andrew Campbell will play together in Australian colours for the first time on December 18.

The pair has been chosen for Team Australia for the annual Australian Baseball League All-Star Game in Melbourne.

The national team roster features the best talent from the ABL.

The World All-Stars roster boasts the ABL's best-performing international players this season, from the United States, Canada, Taiwan and Korea.

Roberts, the Brisbane Heat captain, has become a regular in the Team Australia roster in recent years.

It served as a stepping stone that led to his selection in the full Australian side that contested last year's World Baseball Classic.

Roberts believes it could prove a similar step in the rise of Campbell, who will make his international debut.

Campbell has been a member of the Bandits squad for three years but this is the first in which he has received regular game time.

He has been one of the few bright notes in the Bandits' poor recent run in the ABL.

"It's good reward for the hard work he puts in," Roberts said.

"There's a couple of guys doing well and he's one."

Campbell has spoken about taking more responsibility for the Bandits this year and perhaps that's the key to his form.

But his Bandits captain Roberts sees him as the same Soupy (as in Campbell's soup) he has known since he coached him as a child.

"He's the same as every year," Roberts said.

"He's just getting a bit of an opportunity this time.

"He's got a pretty good work ethic.

"He just needed the chance to prove it."

Roberts is looking to the All Stars game as another chance to put on his national colours.

"It's good fun," he said.

"The world team will have some great players playing for them."

Which means the Aussies will be fired up to prove they are more than a match.

"Every time the Australian team gets together, we don't like to lose," Roberts said.

"It's always a good challenge."

The game doubles as a virtual selection trial for the Australian team to play two games against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney in March.

The Brisbane Bandits host the Perth Heat in the ABL this weekend in a series Roberts believes could make or break their finals prospects.



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