From the moment he set foot in Sunshine, import Bryce Aldridge has been ready to put in the work.
Like all imports to the Baseball Victoria summer league division 1, Aldridge arrived in the Eagles nest with big expectations, both on and off the field.
Aldridge is keen to deliver on both fronts and leave a positive legacy.
“That’s the biggest thing, trying to give back a little bit to the game,” he said. “It’s given so much to me, it’s provided me so many opportunities, for instance being able to come down here and work for six months.
“I’m trying to leave a good mark and make things better than how I found it.
“Try and pass on some knowledge and see if I can gain some along the way as well.”
Away from the diamond, Aldridge has been hands on in coaching and development.
The 23-year-old American coaches the Sunshine under 18 team, helps out with the women’s team and runs school clinics.
As much as Aldridge has put into the Eagles, he is getting it reciprocated in the form of new friendships and experiences.
“It’s been great so far,” Aldridge said. “The guys there have been more than welcoming.
“So far the baseball has been good and the atmosphere is really what makes the club so fun. “I’m very happy with where I’m at.
“A couple of the guys have been able to show me around a little bit and they’re helping me see the city.”
Aldridge is being used as a utility at Sunshine.
His primary position is catcher, but he has also played first base and corner outfield.
He has adjusted to the competition quickly in the batters box, though he needs a touch of luck for maximum impact.
“My first game, I had two lineouts, one to right field, one to centre field and both hard hit balls, but just right at the guys,” Aldridge lamented.
“It seemed to keep happening for the next three games.
“I’m starting to come around a little bit. “I’m hoping to catch a nice hot streak if I can.”
Aldridge, who hails from Bloomington, Indiana, and played his college ball with the University of Indianapolis and Wabash College, is excited by what lies ahead with Sunshine.
A finalist last season, Aldridge believes the team can take the next step if it maintains its current course.
“From what I’ve seen so far, if we keep our attitude right and keep things going and doing the little things, we absolutely have a chance of going to the finals and doing some things,” he said.
“We’ve got the talent, we’ve got the effort and the hard work, so it’s just a matter of putting it all together.”
Meanwhile, Sunshine Eagles came back from a game down to take the honours in its three-game series with Geelong Baycats in the Baseball Victoria summer league division 1.
After losing game one in a tight affair by one run, the Eagles came out with all guns blazing mid-week to record a 7-2 game two win.
The Eagles closed out the series with a thrilling 3-2 win in the series decider at Barclay Reserve on Saturday.
Sunshine has plenty of breathing space at the top of the ladder ahead of another tough three-game series with Blackburn Orioles starting on Saturday at Barclay Reserve.