James Linger batting for Australia in the Olympic qualifying tournament last year.
James Linger batting for Australia in the Olympic qualifying tournament last year.

Lismore stage for talented baseball youngster

WITH preparations for the Diamond Anniversary Claxton Shield baseball game in Lismore tonight complete, local junior James Linger is preparing for the opportunity to show his talent to a home crowd.

Linger began his representative career for Queensland on the same ground just four years ago when he played in the AA National Baseball Championships.

At just 14, Linger turned in an amazing performance, topping the batting averages for the tournament and leading the field in a number of the statistics by which the game is measured.

Linger’s efforts were a pre-cursor to what was to come. He moved on to top the stats year in year out, achieving selection in the bronze medal winning Australian Under-17 team, through to his selection in the Claxton Shield side in 2007.

He signed a professional contract with the Atlanta Braves in the United States and his ultimate achievement was to become the youngest ever member of an Australian men’s team – an achievement that fell short of Olympic representation when the Aussie side failed to qualify last year.

Linger still pinches himself at having achieved so much in such a short time.

When speaking of his selection in the Australian squad, Linger said: “It was a really big surprise at the time. Another guy and I were told we would be the future guys for the team, but if we played really well in the Claxton we might make it.

“I hit really well from then and out of the blue was told I would be the back-up shortstop. I was in shock at the time. So was my family.”

Linger has started all 10 games Queensland has played this year, with his primary position being shortstop, as well as stints in the outfield. He has been a little unhappy with his batting so far, hitting just .206 from 34 at-bats.

“I played with some of these pitchers in the Australian side, so they know what sort of pitches I have problems with,” he said.

“I am adjusting to this. I am gradually getting back to form. I hit well against the Under-18s squad the other night and I’m looking forward to some form in Lismore.”

Linger will be in action for the Queensland Rams against the NSW Patriots tonight and tomorrow in a three-game series.

On Sunday the teams will travel to Brisbane for the final game at Newmarket.

The game at Albert Park, Lismore, tonight starts at 7pm with gates open at 4.30pm. Saturday’s game time is 5pm with gates open at 3pm.

Adult admission is $10 and children $5. Tickets can be purchased online at www.baseball.com.au
For more information on the game, go to www.fnc.baseball.com.au or phone John Bancroft on 0427-664596.


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