Team Australia was announced on Friday, and the Brisbane Bandits will be well represented by right-handed pitcher Ryan Searle and power hitting outfielder Josh Roberts.
The 23-year-old Searle, who first gained international attention in 2007 when he signed with the Chicago Cubs organisation at age 17, is about to enter his seventh year in the minor leagues.
2011 was a fantastic year for Searle; boasting a 1.59 ERA in 16 games with the Daytona Cubs which saw the righty promoted to the Cubs AA Affiliate Tennessee Smokies where Searle recorded a 5-3 record with a solid 3.51 ERA in 23 games with 66 strikeouts which earned him a place in the 2011 World Baseball Cup. In the Cup he dominated the opposition from Nicaragua and Canada, finishing 2-0 with a 0.74 ERA.
Searle is one of 63 players currently under contract with professional clubs and is tipped to be among the next group of Australians to join Grant Balfour and Travis Blackley in the major leagues.
The 2013 World Baseball Classic roster features eight former Major Leaguers and two Olympic Silver medalists. 26-year-old Josh Roberts is a home-grown hero and a consistent performer who divided four years between Australia and the USA during his time with the Cleveland Indians organisation.
In 2006, Roberts reached High-A ball and found success as a catcher, infielder, first baseman and even on the mound. Roberts joined the Brisbane Bandits in 2010 for the inaugural Australian Baseball League season. Hitting the Bandits first ever home-run on Nov 26. Roberts also walked away from the season with MVP honours, leading his team in hits, walks, doubles and home-runs.
Both Roberts and Searle have represented Queensland in baseball at every level including the Queensland Rams and their local clubs in the Greater Brisbane League competition.
"It's always an honour to pull on that green and gold uniform," said Roberts to Fox Sports last week. "And I've enjoyed every opportunity I've had to play for Australia."
The Australian national team did not advance past round one in 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics although they did showed promise by defeating Mexico 17-7 and breaking the record for most hits in a game with 22.
Hopefully, a fifth place finish in the 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup points to Australia performing well come March.
The tournament will be played from March 2nd to the 19th in three venues; the first stop will be in Taichung, Taiwan in Pool B against Chinese Taipei, South Korea and The Netherlands.