Gunnedah Giants ready to hit into new Tamworth Baseball competition season

Opening pitch: Grant Sippel, here in action last season, and his Gunnedah Giants side commence their 2017 Tamworth Baseball competition campaign on Saturday.

Opening pitch: Grant Sippel, here in action last season, and his Gunnedah Giants side commence their 2017 Tamworth Baseball competition campaign on Saturday.

Gunnedah Giants are hoping to be a force when the new Tamworth Baseball season gets underway on Saturday.

The Giants enjoyed one of their most successful seasons last year with both of the club’s grades reaching the semi-finals. 

Along the way they clocked up five or six wins – the most they have recorded for several seasons. 

Unfortunately they were unable to advance past the first weekend of the finals series after the weather intervened, but there were plenty of positives to build on.

They hit the diamond for a trial game two weekends ago, coming away in A grade with a narrow loss to last year’s runners-up Cougars.

It was an encouraging start stand-in president Brodie Cleal said.

He said the club have welcomed a few new additions to the roster this season.

“We’ve got a few new faces and we’ve got a couple of older fellas coming back that have previously played for us,” Cleal said.

A mix of players from Gunnedah and Tamworth, they will still be the one of the youngest teams in the competition with the average age around 17/18.

Cleal tipped batting as an area they should be better this season. 

“We’ve got a few decent hitters,” he said.

“We’ve got a few cricket players coming through.”

“They should be able to hit a ball.”

Matt  Bryant is one of those cricketing talents.

“He’s one our up and coming stars,” Cleal said.

“He’s got a lot of potential.”

Pitcher Grant Sippel will be another key player, Cleal also making mention of Angus Renton.

“He’s only played about two seasons,” he said.

“But he’s improved dramatically.”

They have also been fortunate to retain the services of two of their Taiwanese contingent. Cleal said they brought a lot to the club last year.

The opening round will be played as a double header in Tamworth with the two B grade games and then two A grade fixtures being played concurrently, and will see the Giants matching up against the Armidale Outlaws.

B grade will take to the diamond at 12.15pm with A grade following at 2.40pm.

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