THE Bandits' Andrew Campbell is in the ABL's top three for batting averages. He's also an A-grade rugby league player. SMP Images.
THE Bandits' Andrew Campbell is in the ABL's top three for batting averages. He's also an A-grade rugby league player. SMP Images.

Soupy Campbell dines out at plate for the Brisbane Bandits

BASEBALL: Ipswich product Andy "Soupy" Campbell's impressive summer for the Brisbane Bandits is all the more remarkable when you consider he's also an A-grade footballer.

Campbell is third overall on the list of ABL batting averages, hitting at .355 with just three regular-season rounds to go, the next one away against Canberra starting Thursday night.

The 22-year-old has put the disappointment of being cut from the Cleveland Indians' farm system in 2013 well and truly behind him, after spending some time at the Major League club.

Campbell has performed so well at the plate this season, he even has a better average than Jack Murphy - Canberra's AAA-level recruit, who is hitting at .354 in two less appearances (30 games, with Campbell playing 32).

"I've just relaxed more this year. I'm not a home run hitter, I'm just a contact hitter so I've just been using that to my advantage and keeping my swing short," Campbell told APN.

The young all-round sportsman has excelled under Aussie baseball legend and Bandits head coach Dave Nilsson this summer.

"Dave's pretty cool and he just lets you do your thing. He doesn't say much. If you need a minor adjustment he'll say something but he just lets you do what you need to do," Campbell said.

Campbell is still not giving up on his dream of re-gaining an MLB contract playing affiliated ball.

The Norths Tigers A-grade rugby league player in the Ipswich competition still has high hopes on the football field too.

"I'd like to see myself go somewhere with baseball. I'm only 22 so I'd like to go to America, and with footy I'd like to make the (Ipswich) Jets in the Queensland Cup," he said.

Campbell's speed in the outfield and around the bases has been a feature of his game this season, so far stealing four bases in 2014/15.

He sees rugby league as a help rather than hindrance to his dreams of playing pro ball in the US again.

"I can get pretty worn out. We played the grand final in footy and went straight into club ball and the Bandits," Campbell said.

"It's non-stop, but you're only young once.

"It (rugby league) keeps you fit for the baseball season."

After splitting their series 2-all with reigning champions the Perth Heat last weekend, the Bandits will be challenged once again versus the 2013 Asia Series winners and 2012/13 champions the Cavalry, starting Thursday night.

"Canberra is a good side. They've probably hit our pitching around the most and got a few wins," Campbell said.

Campbell said former Bandits pitcher Tristan Crawford will be a danger man in this series, which looms as a pivotal one.

The Bandits are in second place, but just one win ahead of the third-placed Perth, two ahead of Canberra and three ahead of Sydney.

Only the top three sides in the six-team competition will play in the finals.

Crawford started and threw seven innings for just three hits and two runs, in the Cavalry's 8-2 win over Brisbane when both teams met on December 20, as part of a 2-all series split.

"He (Crawford) was just really tidy around the plate - he hit his spots all night. That weekend he was probably their best pitcher," Campbell said.

"It's a shame he went down there, but we'll try and get him (in this series)."


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