Results tagged ‘ Matt Roxburgh ’
The Brisbane Bandits outfielder is heading to Germany in September to play for Team Great Britain
By Alexis Brudnicki
In September, the Brisbane Bandits outfielder will head to Germany for the first of the World Baseball Classic qualifying rounds this year.
The 26-year-old will be competing at the national level for the first time in his career, but he won’t be sporting his home country’s green and gold. Instead, Roxburgh will be playing for Team Great Britain, the country in which both of his parents were born.
“I was just searching on the Internet and I was looking at the WBC and I noticed that Great Britain was playing in the qualifiers,” Roxburgh said. “I knew one of my old coaches played for them and coached them a couple of years ago so I just asked him what the team was like and what he thought my chances were of making the team and it went from there.”
The native of Brisbane was told that the British team is made up of quality players, but also that he had a pretty good chance of making the squad. Roxburgh put together a video of himself taking batting practice, shagging fly balls and completing other baseball activities to send to the team. From there, all he had to do was wait.
“About a month ago, I got a call from my old coach,” Roxburgh said. “He’s actually going to be on the coaching staff again this year and he said for me to pack my bags.”
Brisbane’s centre fielder was ecstatic to hear the news, and can’t wait for what lies ahead.
“I was so excited when he told me,” he said.” It’s the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Europe and to be involved in the WBC qualifiers.”
This season has seen some outstanding performances by some of the new breed of players. Using the ABL’s definition of *’Rookie’ we have taken a closer look at some of the young players who attracted attention this season.
Roxburgh, in his rookie season, hit .283/.333/.396 with 3HR, 3 doubles and 16 RBI over his 28 games this year. He ended the season even better than he started, batting .414/.514/.690 over his last 10 games and finished the year on a 6 game hitting streak.
Older than most rookies, the 25-year-old Roxburgh was representing his club ball team in a Brisbane All-Stars game against the Bandits prior to the beginning of the ABL season, and put on a show impressive enough for manager Kevin Jordan to add him to the Bandits’ lineup. Obviously a good call by Kevin.
Sookee was signed by the Angels after his appearances in the 2009 U18 National Championships in Perth. In 2010 he appeared in 14 games with the Angels’ Rookie League team for a W1-2 and a 4.60ERA and in 2011 he had an almost identical season, throwing in 14 games for W3-3 and a 4.63ERA.
He had a less than impressive introduction to the ABL last season when he appeared in 4 games but did pick up a win but also a 24.92ERA. Not too much should be read into that number of course as ERA’s can jump all over the place in such a small number of games. However, this year he has appeared out of the pen in 7 games for a season ERA of 5.40. Whilst again not too much should be made of such a high ERA what is encouraging is that in 3 of his games he threw scoreless innings, twice against the hard hitting Cavalry and once against Adelaide. Scouts comment on his smooth delivery and steady personality so provided he can bring that ERA down a little you can expect to see a lot more of him in the future.
Younis was signed as a 16yr old by the Twins veteran scout Howie Norsetter in 2010 but had to remain in Australia to finish his HSC and attended the MLBAAP on the Gold Coast. He has represented both NSW and Australia at the Junior Level, principally as a short stop.
In his 1st season with the Twins in Rookie Ball he hit .219 in 105 ABs. This season for the Blue Sox he played in 37 games for 131 ABs and has gone .252/.319/290. That’s a lot of game time for a Rookie so the Blue Sox clearly think he has the talent to develop into a 1st class infielder.
*Rookies must be Australian Residents and have had less than 50ABs or 8 pitching appearances in previous Australian senior national competitions (Claxton Shield or ABL) and/or the Senior National Team (WBC, Olympic Games, World Cup events only).
Matt Roxburgh got his chance with the Bandits and made the most of it this season
By Alexis Brudnicki*
When opportunity knocks, someone still has to get up and answer.
The 25-year-old outfielder was representing his club ball team, the Windsor Royals, in a Brisbane All-Stars game against the Bandits prior to the beginning of the Australian Baseball League season, and put on a show impressive enough for manager Kevin Jordan to take an interest.
“I got a call from KJ and he asked if I was available to play in the upcoming series,” Roxburgh said. “I had a chat to my bosses because I knew it would mean taking some time off work and they were really supportive and allowed me to play. I was pretty excited about the opportunity to play in the ABL because I knew it would be the highest level of baseball I will get to play in and I got a little taste of what it’s like to play professional baseball.”
While facing a higher calibre of competition would be somewhat of a challenge for any player coming from A-grade baseball to pro ball, the biggest adjustment Roxburgh had to make was getting used to going from having two games and one practice per week to having up to five games plus training and batting practice with the Bandits.
“It’s been awesome being able to play at such a high level of baseball against guys that are in Double-A and the big leagues. It’s exciting,” Roxburgh said. “It was tough the first few series, as I wasn’t used to playing so many games but I eventually got used to it and so did my body.”
Roxburgh also had to make amendments to his schedule for the Bandits, fitting more baseball into his already hectic days, in addition to working full-time as an account manager for Ready Towing, looking after trade customers who move construction and hire equipment machinery from job site to job site.
“I work 10 hours a day, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday,” Roxburgh said. “When we have a home series, I finish at four o’clock so I can be at the field in time for stretching.”
Dedication to the game and to a full-time job can be a difficult task, but it was something that the young fielder handled well, managing his time and priorities efficiently.
“It can be hard sometimes, especially working all day and then having to go straight to the field for a game,” Roxburgh said. “And then you don’t get home until 11 or 12 at night and try and cook some dinner and get to bed just to be back up at seven again for work. It’s a little easier on the road, as you don’t have to work so you can get a bit more sleep in, but with my job I still get phone calls on the road about work and still have to sort out issues.”
Roxburgh has a great appreciation for the allowances he gets to play ball and to take time away from his workplace for the sport.
“My bosses are fantastic with allowing me time off, as they are both heavily involved with baseball,” he said. “And they are sponsors of the Bandits and also have a corporate box, so they are always at the games cheering myself and [fellow employee Ryan] Searle on.”
Roxburgh, in his rookie season, hit .283/.333/.396 with three home runs, three doubles and 16 runs driven in over his 28 games this year. The Brisbane native made the necessary adjustments to the league and ended the season even better than he started, batting .414/.514/.690 over his last 10 games and finished the year on a six-game hitting streak. The outfielder’s inaugural season in the ABL was significant enough to garner him a spot on the ballot for Rookie of the Year voting.
The most memorable moment for the Bandits left fielder this season came in his first series against the Sydney Blue Sox at the RNA Showgrounds.
“[The highlight of my season] was probably my first professional home run in the second game I played in,” Roxburgh said. “My family was there to see it so it was pretty special.”
Roxburgh’s family are baseball supporters and are also the reason that he got into it in the first place. A five-year-old Roxburgh saw his older brother playing the sport and began following him around before eventually getting his own start in the game. But the biggest enthusiast and follower of his game has been Roxburgh’s dad.
“He’s followed me my whole life and watched nearly every one of my games,” the 25-year-old said of his father. “And he is always supporting me and giving me advice on things I need to work on.”
What Roxburgh is going to work on this off-season, after finishing out the club ball season with the Windsor Royals, is coming back and vying for a spot in the Bandits lineup again for next year.
“I hope so,” he said of potentially being back in the ABL next season. “I’ll try and stay in shape and get in the gym during the off-season and hopefully get another chance to come back and play.”
*Alex Brudnicki is a young Canadian sports journalist who was embedded with the Brisbane Bandits for this ABL season. She writes for the Toronto Blue Jays and Baseball America.