The Sydney Blue Sox have finalised preparations for the 2017-18 Australian Baseball League season with a pair of wins against state league opponents over the weekend.
The Blue Sox reclaimed the Terry Lewis Cup with a 4-1 win over the State League All-Stars on Saturday, before trouncing the State League Imports 8-0 on Sunday afternoon.
Former Olympian Gavin Fingleson is a new recruit to the Blue Sox in 2017-18 and said it was a good hit out to start the season.
“The weekend was good, the new imports got out here and got some at bats, it was good to see the team gel pretty quickly over the two games,” he said. “It’s a good vibe in here and good group of guys.”
“I hope to bring a little bit of experience, a change of culture from what they’re used to in the past and a little bit of experience as well. I’m a 41-year-old kid so I want to bring the fun back into it.”
The Blue Sox start the season against Adelaide Bite at Blacktown International Sportspark on Friday night.
Young gun Jacob Younis said the Sox were better placed this season with more experienced recruits.
“You’ve got Gav who’s an Olympian, you’ve got AA and AAA guys that have a lot of experience and you just feed off that,” he said.
“There’s a good vibe in the clubhouse this year I think Tony [coach Harris] brings with him. There are a lot of changes happening and hopefully it works for the best.”
The Blue Sox had a disappointing season in 2016-17. where they finished fifth and missed the finals for the second straight season.
It was a great opportunity for State League players to get a taste of professional action against the Blue Sox.
Blacktown Workers’ Ben Martin, 24, said it felt pretty good to be named in the State League All-Stars
“I’m just happy to be out here and see what I can do against the professional team in Sydney,” he said.
“It makes it interesting to see if you can keep up with what they’ve got and what’s required to get up to the next level as well.”
For Martin, it was the first time he’d played in the game.
The Blue Sox may have won 4-1 but they didn’t have it all their own way against the State League side.
Martin has played the sport since he was “six or seven” and joined Blacktown about six years ago.
The outfielder and designated hitter from Minchinbury said Blacktown are doing well in State League in a tough competition.
“The league is really good this year,” he said.
“As the coach says, there is no margin for error and you can see that in the results as well, which is always a good thing as well.”
The Sydney Blue Sox kick off the ABL season at home against the Adelaide Bite in a four match series with matches on Friday (7.30pm), Saturday (3.30pm and 6.30pm) and Sunday 1pm.