North Coast takes Qld trophy
Ten years ago Geoff Baxter began coaching his son Ahren with a group of young players from six clubs in the Far North Coast region. The group has shown exceptional talent but fell short of that elusive State Title.
But as of Saturday, that is all in the past.
Competing in the inaugural Under 23 Queensland State Championships, they brought home the title with a hard-fought 17-12 win over the Brisbane combined regional team, the Westros (made up of Brisbane Metro and West).
For the locals the win was the first since the Under 14s took their State Title in 2008, but as the first in this age group it is a significant contribution to the region’s reputation as an exceptional breeding ground for high quality baseballers.
James Linger is already well on his way as a professional baseballer in the Atlanta Braves organisation in the US and his talent was obvious when he took out the batting trophy for the tournament for the most hits.
Pitcher Jason Britt earned his place in the mind of Queensland selectors, taking out the pitching award after an exceptional performance on the mound all weekend.
With the trophy firmly in the grasp of coach Baxter, the players will now look forward to the announcement of the Queensland team to contest the Australian invitational series in April. With the Queensland-based selectors often unfamiliar with local talent, the tournament was their only opportunity to press their claim and there is little doubt that head coach and former Major League baseballer Luke Prokopec will have his hands full as he tries to find a place for the local talent. With the series win in hand, it will be hard for him to go past the likes of Vidler, Britt, Nathaniel Steele and Dan Muggleton, to name but a few.