Outlaws swing into season

LEAD THE WAY: Josh Shaw is coaching the Outlaws A grade team this season.
LEAD THE WAY: Josh Shaw is coaching the Outlaws A grade team this season.

Armidale Outlaws hit the ground running in their first year of the Tamworth Baseball competition in 2016 but are eager to make a bigger impact when the new season gets underway on Saturday. 

They travel to Tamworth with an aim to start their year with a victory when they take on the Gunnedah Giants. 

The league’s newest outfit have added a few fresh faces to their lineup and have a new coach in star pitcher Josh Shaw who believes they are set to be stronger in 2017. 

"We have got a good, strong core of players staying around from last season but we have a good injection some guys who have played before coming in,” he said.

"We have one in particular who is from Japan, an international student, and he played at university level over there so he is a good, strong pickup but on the other side of that as well we have four or five guys who have never played before which is really encouraging for the sport in the area and Outlaws as a club.”

The Outlaws were denied a fairytale finish in their inaugural season after bowing out to the Cougars in the elimination final. 

The current squad are keen to make up for missing out on the decider by stepping up another gear this year. 

"A lot of the guys were a bit disappointed in the way we finished off the season, we all had high expectations of a final finish but that wasn't to be,” Shaw said.

"That puts a lot of pressure on the guys, a bit of unfinished business. 

"We are pretty confident we will do better than last season so we are just excited and looking forward to week one.” 

Gunnedah finished on the bottom of the ladder last year but have a host of players who will be back for this season and Shaw said they will be stronger for it. 

"Last season they had a pretty new squad but they did have a good core of guys from overseas and they stayed on and will be playing again this season so they will be a lot stronger this season coming than they were last season,” he said.

The Outlaws will be on their home pitch on April 29.