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Just miss season leaves hope for the future
Bandits will build on positives for next season
02/13/2013 2:21 PM ET
Bandits celebrate another big win
Bandits celebrate another big win (SMP Images)
After a 23-22 season that saw the team just miss out on a berth in the 2013 Australian Baseball League finals, the Brisbane Bandits take away several positives and fans who attended their games will have exciting game day memories to get them through the off season. The team was exciting to watch and with the exception of a couple of games, were never truly out of a chance to win any contest.

Highlights of the season were:

Josh Roberts becoming the first Australian born player to reach the 100 career hit plateau in the Bandits' season opening game against tough Sydney Blue Sox pitcher Chris Oxspring.

Chris Smith breaking the Australian Baseball League strikeout record when he whiffed fifteen Melbourne Aces during a 4-0 Round Nine Bandit win.

Chris Smith (16-19 November 2012, 13-15 December 2012 and 27-31 December 2012) winning three Delta airlines Player of the Week Awards.

Cody Clark taking out the Delta Airlines Player of the Week award for Round Four (22-25 November 2012) after a monster performance against the Adelaide Bite that saw him drive in nine runs and hit two home runs over the weekend.

C. J. Beatty also grabbed a Delta Airlines Player of the week award for the 10-13 January 2013 weekend after a three home run, eight runs driven in performance.

Statistically for the year, Hirotoshi Onaka (.308) and Cody Clark (.299) were the top Bandit batters average wise. Clark (50) had the most hits for the year along with leading the team in doubles (13) and runs batted in (28). C. J. Beatty (6) topped the home run hitters and Onaka (7) had the most stolen bases.

Several Bandit pitchers had a major role in keeping Bandit games close through the season. The Bandit pitchers were led by Chuck Lofgren and James Schult who finished with four wins each. Justin Erasmus (0.42), Chris Smith (2.31) and James Schult (2.47) had commendable ERA's. Smith also pitched two complete games and had two shutouts. Ryan Searle (4) and Justin Erasmus (3) topped the staff in saves. Chris Smith (65), Chuck Lofgren (59) and James Schult (41) topped the strikeout charts.

There were several positives taken from the season that will undoubtedly create a buzz through the off-season heading towards November. The Bandit broadcast mainstays Glen Long and Brett Montgomery looked back on the season with fond memories with Long citing the pitching of Chris Smith as one of his top highlights of the season. Montgomery broadcasted through an injury riddled season that saw him have ankle and hernia operations showed total dedication to the team,stating that he is ready to fill any role for the Bandits in the future from pitching staff through broadcaster, even on field enforcer if needed.

General Manager Paul Gonzalez was impressed with younger players Rory Rhodes, Andrew Campbell and Ryan Battaglia saying "the younger players showed maturity and look ready to lead the Bandits toward the Claxton Shield in the 2013-2014 ABL season". Gonzalez felt that "if the team continues to find strong imports as in the last two years, the team will contend".

Other fans enjoyed watching the big hits from Clark, Beatty and Roberts or the mound performances of Smith, Lofgren and Erasmus. Several new fans and families took away positive memories and looking forward to seeing more baseball next season. The avid fans can also follow various Bandits in their US Minor League seasons.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.