The need for speed
THEY may lack brawn, but speed is the X-factor for this year's Far North Coast Timberjacks side gearing up for a possible crackat national baseball opposition.
The group has held its first training session as it prepares for the Queensland Little League Championship.
Success there would earn the team qualification for the Australian titles and one step closerto a global tournament.
Head coach Scott McClelland said this year's Under-13 side had lost some big players from 2012, but was better equipped in other key areas.
"We lost some of the bigger, stronger guys but we have developed speed," he said.
"We do not have the guys who can throw or hit the ball hard - but they can move better."
The side enjoyed the first of its weekly training sessions on Thursday night at Lismore's Albert Park.
The four-day Queensland tournament will be played at Redlands Baseball Club in Brisbane.
McClelland said his side was aiming to build on its performance at last year's Australian titles.
"We got a bit of a touch-up," he said.
"We had a tough pool and copped two of the Melbourne sides, who are always hard.
"These players are the best in Australia for their age, so it was pretty tough.
"The kids were stoked to be there and it was great seeing them so excited."
Training sessions will soon be increased to twice a week as the intensive preparation continues.
A good performance at the nationals on the Gold Coast could earn a spot at the Little League world championship later this year.
Some of the finest young baseballers from across the world will participate in the Pennsylvania contest in the United States.
Former Queensland representative McClelland said he found the task of bringing the kids up to scratch highly enjoyable.
"It is rewarding," he said.
"When you see the kids enjoying themselves and doing something good in the field that you know you have taught them, it is rewarding.
"We have some guys who are raw (this year), but they can definitely play.
"With a bit of fine-tuning, we should be pretty competitive."