Four standout players in Victorian grassroots baseball will suit up for their hometown ABL team in the 2020/21 season.
The Melbourne Aces announced the signing of four young up-and-coming local players to add roster depth to the team Australian Baseball League season.
Jordan Young, a 27-year-old native of Victoria, will be entering his second season in the ABL after playing three games last season for the Auckland Tuatara. Across three games in round two against the Aces, he recorded one hit while playing third base and right field for Auckland.
Young, a utility player who plays for Sunshine Baseball Club, would be the third in his family to play for the Aces. His brother Jeremy, 25 years old, signed to pitch for Melbourne this season after spending parts of four previous seasons with the Aces. Jamie, 20 years old, played for the Aces in the 2017/18 season and is currently in the United States playing collegiate baseball. In last season’s Victorian Baseball Summer League, Jordan hit for a .345 average and drove in 11 runs over 24 games for the Eagles.
Zak Skinner served as a development player for Melbourne last season and saw time in four games, including a spot on the round 10 roster when the Aces traveled to Perth. In five at-bats, he recorded three hits (.600 average) and drove in one run. While his primary position is catcher, the 19-year-old saw time for the Aces in the outfield and can also play in the infield.
Skinner committed to playing collegiate baseball in the U.S. at Clarendon College in Texas back in March. He has previously represented Australia at the 2019 MLB College Showcase in the U.S. and at the 2019 Australian Youth Championship in Lismore. Locally, he plays for Sandringham Baseball Club, hitting .326 in 22 games last VSBL season for the Royals, driving in 11 runs with one home run.
Charlie Collins will be in his first season for the Aces, coming from Blackburn Baseball Club with experience on the Victorian State Team as well. The 17-year-old outfielder hit .253 across 21 games for the league-champion Orioles in the 2019/20 VBSL season, driving in nine runs.
In the 2020 Australian Youth Championship, Collins was named the U18 hitting champion, hitting .517 (15-for-29) with five doubles and nine runs batted in for the Victoria Blue team that went 5-3.
Reece Longstaff joins Melbourne for his first ABL season, with previous experience for Waverley Baseball Club and the Victorian State team. Now 18 years old, the utility player hit .287 in 23 games last VBSL season for the Wildcats, connecting for two home runs with 13 runs batted in.
He played for U18 Victoria Blue in the 2019 Australian Youth Championship and for Australia at the 2019 U18 Baseball Series in Lismore. In 2016, he represented New Zealand in the WBSC U-15 World Cup, where he recorded five hits in seven games, while also making two appearances on the mound as a pitcher.
With these four additions, the Aces roster stands at 26 players, including 17 Australians and 13 position players.
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