GAME ON: Rockhampton softballers (from left) Ben Preston, Bryce Heal and Hayden Gillett are gearing up for the Queensland men's softball championships this weekend.
GAME ON: Rockhampton softballers (from left) Ben Preston, Bryce Heal and Hayden Gillett are gearing up for the Queensland men's softball championships this weekend. PAM MCKAY

Rockhampton to host state's best softballers this weekend

SOFTBALL: Rockhampton A player/coach Louie Cox has clear expectations for this weekend's Queensland open men's championships.

"I want a shot at the grand final,” he said.

"Last year we finished in the top four and we didn't end up having to play off because it got washed out so we've sort of got unfinished business there.”

Rockhampton will host Queensland's premier softball event this weekend.

Thirteen teams will take part in the three-day carnival, which starts at 8am on Friday at Kele Park.

Caboolture, Logan City, Mackay A, Redcliffe, Redlands, Rockhampton A and Toowoomba A will play for the Queensland Cup title while Hervey Bay, Ipswich, Mackay B, Maryborough, Rockhampton B and Toowoomba B will battle for the Open Championship and President's Cup.

Players will be vying for selection in the Queensland Patriots team to compete at the nationals in January.

Cox knows his side will face some quality opposition, in particular Logan City and Redlands, but is confident about their chances.

He said key players would be Australian Junior Steelers duo Jeremy Waters and Michael Ludkin and the experienced Bryce Heal.

"There's a lot of good players in the team and come Friday I think they'll be turning up to play,” he said.

"It's pretty exciting for the fellas to play for their home crowd... and I think the crowd will amp them up and make them perform better.

"Our batting line-up is pretty strong and we'll be looking to get some runs on the board.”

Heal, the team's catcher, is excited about the opportunity to play at home in what will be his ninth open men's championship.

"This is the best tournament to play all year so I can't wait to see what they bring this year.

"Logan City were the dominant team last year... but everyone's going to be hard to beat,” he said.

"If we play like a team we've got a good chance of being top four easy but we all need to connect and bat well.”

Sixteen-year-old Hayden Gillett will play with the Rockhampton B team.

"It will be good to have a state championship in our own backyard,” he said.

"It's going to be good competition this weekend so I'm looking forward to it.

"We just need to play to the best of our ability and hopefully get some wins on the board.”

Rockhampton teams both play their first games at 10am on Friday - A against Logan City, B against Ipswich.