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No hesitations in Deeble's return
08/16/2017 9:45 PM ET
 (Ryan Schembri / SMP Images / ABL Media )

IT'S with great excitement that the Melbourne Aces can announce that Jon Deeble will return to lead the Aces in the Australian Baseball League's (ABL) eighth incarnation in 2017/18.

One of the legends of Australian baseball, Deeble's return to the ABL last year saw the Aces turn a sixth place (20-35) 2015/16 season into a first placed (26-14) season in 2016/17 and despite the lure of future success, Deeble says it played no part in his decision to come back.

"I had no hesitations in wanting to come back this year.

"You want to win because you're competitive and losing the Championship Series last year hurts for sure, but it wasn't a motivating factor for me to want to come back.

"I just had such a good time last season with the players, the staff and the support we had from the Victorian Baseball community it just made it a really enjoyable environment to be around".

Despite claiming the minor premiership after their first winning season and earning the right to host the ABL Championships Series, the Aces season finished on a low note when they were swept by the visiting Brisbane Bandits in front of a boisterous home crowd, but Deeble says he has his eye on the bigger picture. 

"It's important to win, but I think it's even more important to build from within and give these young Victorian kids an opportunity. We'll approach this season with the next ten years in mind, not just the next six months.

"We had the U18 State Victorian state teams train with us last season and I'd like to include the U16s in that this year and have them train with us for the whole season.

"Like we did with Jarryd Dale last year, I'd love to give an opportunity to a Liam Evans or a Jackson Boyd or Jordan Barnett this year. These are some super talented kids and while we're not going to just give those guys a spot, there will some positions open this year and if these guys are going to step-up, they'll get opportunities".

Asked about where the 2017/18 Aces need to improve if they are to take that next step and become a Championship team, Deeble was resounding in his response.

"Plain and simple we need to be able to score more runs.

"If you look back to that Championship Series though, we only ever had three imports playing at any one time which may have hurt us in terms of winning the series but again it comes back to giving our kids an opportunity to step-up and that's where I see our improvement coming from this year".

Without giving too much away, Deeble has also hinted at some of the player announcements that Aces fans can expect in the coming weeks.

"We'll have some more Major League talent on show at Melbourne Ballpark this year and I think fans are going to be pleasantly surprised at the calibre of player we've been able to attract this season.

"We've had some meetings with the Braves and they want to send a left-handed pitcher that sits mid-90s and I have a meeting with the Japanese guys in the next few weeks so I'm happy with the way everything is tracking for this time of year".

Newly appointed CEO Justin Huber says Deeble's reappointment was a no-brainer for the Aces.

"We were rapt with what the guys achieved on the field last season and it really laid the foundations for us to have a successful season off the field as well" said Huber.

"There's not much he hasn't achieved in his career and as a Manager, you couldn't have asked for too much more than what he was able to deliver on-field last year, but the best thing about Deebs is his passion for wanting to play the kids and give them an opportunity.

"There's no shying away from some of the lean years we had, but the Aces have very quickly turned into a real destination Club and I don't feel like we've been given the credit for the culture we've created around the Club over the last 12 months which Deebs has been a massive driver of".

With Deeble now signed on and confirmed for the 2017/18 season, Huber has mirrored Deeble's sentiments about some of the prospects headed to Melbourne this summer.

"We're a long way down the road with some of our recruiting and I think fans will be blown away by some of the players that'll wear an Aces uniform this summer".

"It's going to be another exciting year to be around the Aces so bring on the Heat on the 17th of November".


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