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Chambers eyes off return to form
12/07/2017 8:04 PM ET

Injury has kept Steven Chambers on the sidelines for the first three rounds of the ABL, but after another season in Japan the pitcher is aiming for a return to Team Australia and a Championship with the Adelaide Bite proudly presented by SA Power Networks.

"Missing out on the Classic was very disappointing and frustrating," Chambers said.

"I'd had my best year to date in 2015/16 and then very quickly fell off the radar.

"I'd almost thought about giving it away then I remembered I'd spent the last 10-15 years working towards this and I never thought I'd get this far, so I told myself I'd keep going."

In his first season in Adelaide, Chambers went 8-1 as they nearly claimed a maiden ABL Championship, before injuries played their part last year.

"Even up to now I've been reflecting on my year… I was dealing with a few shoulder injuries and also a change in mechanics from when I had my best year to probably my worst year," he explained.

"I had a few sit downs with Davo [Nathan Davison] and Mintzy [Steve Mintz] and just rehashed what I was doing when I was doing well and to try and get back to that.

"I'm not worrying too much if I'm tired because I know I've put in enough effort at training so when I get out there in the game I can give my best and hopefully that'll be enough to help us win."

During our winter, Chambers pitched with Niigata Albirex in the Japanese Baseball Challenge League, playing alongside Josh Tols.

"This time I didn't have any plans to go back there until I'd spent two months in America at the Driveline Academy just working on my velocity," Chambers said.

"This year our team was a little up and down and our coaching staff was… I won't go into that. It was good to have Tols to bounce off and we were definitely happy in having another Aussie there to goof off with as it is a little more serious over there."

Mixed amongst the professionalism of Japanese baseball was the daily grind of training and travel in rough conditions which would challenge the best of players.

"I gotta give it to the Japanese, they adapt very well to bad conditions and our practice stadium was a dirt paddock that you wouldn't say to anyone oh yeah, you guys should go and train there," Chambers said.

"Every weekend we probably had 25-30 hours on bus trips 'cause you commute every day and would go four hours there and four hours back.

"Definitely credit to guys like Mitch Dening and Darryl George who made it out of there and got picked up by the affiliated clubs in Japan. That is the goal but not always possible, but you gotta give it a crack."

Chambers also has the unique experience as being one of the few players to pitch against marquee man, Chang Tai-Shan, although it was a very brief encounter.

"That was the year before in Shikoku Island. I only think I pitched against him once; I don't think it was my schedule in the rotation and I honestly couldn't tell you if he got a hit or I got him out," he said.

"I do know he was having a lot of fun, a very happy-go-lucky kind of guy and that's what I've heard. It'll be exciting to have him out here and a bit of common ground in both playing in Japan and foreign countries."

Having worked hard in Japan, on and off the field, Chambers is eyeing off a return to form with the Bite and with a good ABL season in mind he knows only good thing can follow, including achieving lifetime goals.

"Winning a Championship is a goal but… if I can play well enough to help Adelaide win a Championship then it's probably a good chance I'd get picked in the Aussie team again," Chambers said.

"Long term, the Olympics, that's been a lifelong dream and if we qualify and I'm available I'd love to make that team. But first things first, put on a good performance for the Bite and go from there."

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