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Sydney stars named for Team Australia
Local talent to take on the World
12/15/2016 12:54 AM ET
 (Joe Vella/SMP Images)
 (SMP Images)

Four players from the CompassMarkets.com Sydney Blue Sox roster have been named to Team Australia for the Australian Baseball League (ABL) All-Star Game, being played at Melbourne Ballpark on Thursday December 22nd 2016.

Craig Anderson, Trent D'Antonio, Luke Wilkins and Josh Guyer have been named to the Southern Thunder roster, which will take on a World All-Stars team next week.

Club stalwart Craig Anderson has again been picked for Team Australia. Anderson first appeared for Team Australia in 1999 in Taiwan and this was followed by a winning start against South Korea at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Representing your country is always a milestone, according to the 36 year-old lefty.

"It has been a career highlight of mine, whenever I've been lucky enough to wear the Green and Gold," Anderson reflected.

Into his seventh consecutive year with Sydney, Anderson leads the ABL with three wins (from four starts), whilst only allowing four walks across 21.1 innings pitched.

Anderson has experienced a wide-range of clubhouse dynamics and feels the current crop has a special vibe.

"There is a good feeling around the clubhouse and we've had a pretty good start to the season," Anderson stated.

"But we know we've still got a lot of work to do."

Blue Sox mainstay, Trent D'Antonio has also been named to the roster for Team Australia, after appearing for the National side earlier this year at the World Baseball Classic Qualifier.

D'Antonio currently leads the Blue Sox with 11 runs scored and 14 walks. The versatile veteran has set his personal goals at a high level, coming of a huge season last year, where he hit .344, with 32 RBIs and 32 walks. These numbers act as good motivation as he looks to help the Blue Sox back to the ABL playoffs.

"There is a lot of excitement in the clubhouse right now. Everyone is having fun, we have each other's back and that is why we have done so well this year." D'Antonio stated.

"We are right there this year and everyone has chipped in for the team."

"But I don't think we have played our best baseball. So it will be fun to see what happens for the rest of the year."

Addressing the ABL All-Star Game, D'Antonio knows the experience is one to remember and treasure.

"I had lots of fun down there last year and this year should be no different."

Starting pitcher, Luke Wilkins has been lights out in the first half of the 2016/17 season, posting a miserly ERA of 1.40 (third in the ABL). Whilst his performances for Sydney have been outstanding, Wilkins knows that the call-up to Team Australia is a special moment and one that should be cherished.

"It's a huge honour to be named on Team Australia," Wilkins said.

"Any time you get the chance to wear the Green and Gold, it's nothing short of sensational."

With a 2-1 record, including a complete-game shutout and 14 strikeouts, Wilkins is buoyant about the current position the Blue Sox are in.

"This season so far is excitingly positive and the team is firing well together. The vibe in the Clubhouse is great this year. It's a vibrant collection of personalities and talent," Wilkins stated.

"We will continue to get better through the season and be in the hunt for the Championship, no doubt."

Rising star, Josh Guyer will appear for the first time for the Southern Thunder, having been an exceptional performer at the U-23 World Cup in November. Guyer was named to the WBSC U-23 All-World Team 2016 as the Relief Pitcher. A remarkable accomplishment, which also featured two other Blue Sox players in Guy Edmonds (DH) and Jacob Younis (SS).

For Guyer, the announcement to the National team is nothing short of amazing.

"I'm over the moon, it's a very surreal feeling and I honestly can't believe it," Guyer revealed.

"I have always dreamt of playing baseball for Australia and never thought it would actually become a reality."

"At the same time, I'm pretty nervous as there are high expectations playing at that level," Guyer admitted.

"I want to do the Blue Sox, my friends, my family and my country proud."

Looking at the Blue Sox current form, Guyer has been impressed with how the team has performed thus far.

"We have started the season very strong and playing some really good baseball right now."

"We're right where we want to be at this point of the season. A big series coming up against first-place Melbourne. It will be a tough series but the boys are prepared and ready to get after it."

Guyer himself has made strong contributions to the Blue Sox. Into his fourth year with Club, the 22-year old righty (1-0) has struck out nine across 8.0 innings of work, only allowing six hits, with an 2.25 ERA, whilst earning one save.

The ABL All Star Game, presented by Boral, will take place at Melbourne Ballpark on Thursday December 22nd 2016. First pitch at 7:30pm local time.

This fixture is the final chance to see the Southern Thunder on home soil, before they compete at the World Baseball Classic in March 2017.

For more information and to book your tickets click here.

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