Tag Archives: Luke Wilkins

The Adelaide Giants Win The Claxton Shield

After a 43 year drought, the Adelaide Giants have brought the Claxton Shield to South Australia. Their Australian Baseball League championship is Adelaide’s first in the modern ABL era.

The Adelaide Giants with the Claxton Shield

Earlier this season, Indy Ball Island reported on their record-setting 12 game win streak which featured current and former indy ball players… many of whom I have personally gotten to know and see play over the years.

For the last two years, I’ve had what I consider the best post I’ve ever written saved in drafts never to see the light of day. That post is ready to go whenever the Washington WildThings win their first Frontier League championship.

It highlights players such as Quincy Latimore, Luke Wilkins and Nick Ward… players who were all integral parts of both the Washington WildThings and Indy Ball Island.

The 2022-23 Adelaide Giants have three former (and one current) Washington WildThings on their roster Latimore, Wilkins, Ward and current player Ian Walters who joined the Giants after the Christmas break.

The Giants had six current or former Frontier League players and 14 total players with American indy ball experience on their roster at some point this season.

2022-23 Adelaide Giants with Indy Ball Experience

  • Adam McKillican – Quebec (Frontier League)
  • Bubby Rossman – Sioux City and Cleburne (American Association), York (Atlantic League)
  • Josh Tols – Trinidad (Pecos League), Kansas City and Kane County (American Association)
  • Luke Wilkins – WildThings (Frontier League), Fargo-Moorehead, Sioux Falls and Chicago (American Association)
  • Miguel Cienfuegos – Quebec (Frontier League)
  • Quintin Torres-Costa – Gastonia (Atlantic League)
  • Todd Van Steensel – St Paul Saints (American Association)
  • Luis Aviles Jr. – Sugar Land (Constellation Energy League – COVID Season)
  • Nick Ward – WildThings (Frontier League)
  • Quincy Latimore – WildThings (Frontier League) High Point (Atlantic League)
  • Ian Walters – Southern Illinois and WildThings (Frontier League)
  • Michael Martinez – Lancaster and High Point (Atlantic League)
  • Joe Johnson – High Point (Atlantic League)
  • Sam Street – Kansas City (American Association)

During the season, it was announced Mitch Neunborn would be joining them as he signed a contract with the Quebec Capitales in the Frontier League.

Also during the season, two Adelaide players left “Indy Ball Island” and signed affiliated contracts: Nick Ward (Phillies) and Miguel Cienfuegos (Padres).

Nick Ward

Along with the signings, there were some career milestones and highlights reached.

Latimore hit his 250th professional homerun. He is currently 71 games away from 2,000 career professional games played.

Quincy Latimore

Van Steensel and Wilkins, both native Australians, have been playing in the ABL together for 13 years. This championship is the first for both of them. Additionally, Tols and Street hail from Australia.

Todd Van Steensel and Luke Wilkins
13 years in the making

And even though this website is based around independent baseball players, it would be a shame not to recognize some of the other players who had such an impact for the Adelaide Giants this season.

Jordan McArdle, a former Diamondbacks prospect, is South Australian through and through. “The Captain” has been called the “heart and soul of the Giants” and it is extremely evident when you watch him play. McArdle was named the MVP of the championship series with some clutch hitting including multiple homeruns in the three game series.

Championship Series MVP
Jordan McArdle

Since the Giants are lead by manager Chris “Tank” Adamson, a coach for the Jersey Shore BlueClaws in the Phillies organization, the team is a winter (Australian summer) destination for many Philadelphia Phillies prospects.

Pitchers: Starlyn Castillo, Jordan Fowler, Austin Ross, Bubby Rossman
Catchers: Arturo De Freitas, Anthony Quirion
Infielders: Nikau Pouaka-Grego, Rixon Wingrove
Outfielder: Jared Carr

6 additional players are in other affiliated organizations:
Adam McKillican (Colorado), Jack O’Loughlin (Detriot), Riley Yeatman (San Diego), Luis Aviles Jr. (Miami), Ryan January (Los Angeles), and Liam Spence (Chicago Cubs)

This team was something special to watch. The guys played with heart and passion. They had FUN, and it was a blast getting to watch them play. They absolutely left it all out on the field night after night.

Congratulations to the 2022-2023 Australian Baseball League Claxton Shield championship winners, The Adelaide Giants! Hell of a ride!


Adelaide Giants Win Record-Setting 12 in a Row

Indy Ball Island rarely endorses a specific team.

It’s unfair.

It’s biased.

But it’s hard not to be when one team contains numerous players that have played independent baseball.

This single team has so many guys that I have met throughout my years watching and covering independent baseball… Guys who have supported this site (and me) unconditionally and have truly made Indy Ball Island what it is today.

It’s really hard for me not to love the Adelaide Giants.

Oh and by the way… the Adelaide Giants, with a roster of nine players with American independent baseball experience, just set a modern day Australian Baseball League (ABL) record with 12 wins in a row.

Long time readers of the site might remember a blog series, “Aussie in America“, which featured pitcher Luke Wilkins.

Or maybe even the crazy live tweeting from Josh Tols on a 12 bus ride with no AC.

But let me introduce (or reintroduce) you to the 9 independent league baseball players who helped bring Adelaide to a historic 12 game winning streak.

Quincy Latimore – the “seasoned” veteran of this group, Quincy has been playing professional baseball since he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007. And in 2007, you wouldn’t have met a more die-hard fan of the entire Pirates organization than myself. (That’s right… if you do the math, I’ve known Q for 15 years). After his time with the Pirates was over in 2012, he landed with the Cleveland Indians organization to begin 2013; however, he ended the season in Washington, PA with the Washington Wild Things. I still hold that 2013 team close to my heart. Getting to see Quincy enjoy baseball at the indy level was a joy, and I still love watching him play this great game.
This game has taken him all around the world where he has hit 249 career homeruns (here’s to 250 coming soon!) and played in almost 1,900 professional games. His latest indy stint in America has been with the High Point Rockers in the Atlantic League where he has played since 2019. Currently, Quincy has reached base in all 20 games he’s played in with Adelaide this season.

Luke Wilkins – another former Washington Wild Thing, Luke played here during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Our blog series “Aussie in America” became a huge hit and helped me gain a lot of followers from down under (G’day mates!) In 2019, he returned to America to play in the American Association with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, Sioux Falls Canaries, and the Chicago Dogs. This is Luke’s 12th season in the ABL with the majority coming with the Sydney Blue Sox. He is a versatile part of the pitching staff in Adelaide and for Team Australia where he can start or come in as relief when needed.

Nick Ward – the final Washington Wild Thing on the list (who just re-signed here for another season), Nick was a Frontier League All-Star in 2022 putting up numbers that placed him in MVP contention. He finished the season 3rd in the league in average (.349) and amassed 61 RBI and 19 HR while leading the Wild Things to first place in the West Division. Prior to his three seasons in Washington, Nick was a prospect in the Oakland Athletics organization and won an NCAA Division 2 National Championship. He is also a member of the Great Britain national team that qualified for the World Baseball Classic. So far in Adelaide, his MVP numbers have not slowed down. He is leading the Giants in Average (.385), SLG (.756), OPS (1.229) and HR (6).

Josh Tols – one of my original Pecos boys, Josh has experienced some of the harshest conditions American indy ball has to offer. After a 5-0 record with the Trinidad Triggers in the Pecos League, Josh was able to move up and spend two seasons with the Kansas City T-Bones in the American Association before signing with the Philadelphia Phillies organization. He returned to the American Association in 2021 with the Kane County Cougars. After spending five seasons with Melbourne, Josh returned to his hometown of Adelaide for his ninth season in the ABL. He has been one of the best pitchers in Australia during the last decade and is a member of Team Australia.

Todd Van Steensel – another staple of Team Australia’s bullpen, Todd has played multiple seasons in America with the Phillies and Twins organizations as well as a season in the American Association with the St. Paul Saints. After pitching for a decade with the Sydney Blue Sox, Todd is closing out games for a second season in Adelaide. He has already earned 4 saves with a 0.00 ERA in 7 appearances this season.

Miguel Cienfuegos – the second 2022 Frontier League All-Star on the list, Miguel was absolutely lights out for the Frontier League champs, the Québec Capitales. In his second season with Québec, he finished the regular season with a 10-2 record and 1.79 ERA in 131 innings. His stellar season led him to win the Canadian Baseball Network’s 2022 Claude Pelletier Award, as top pitcher in the independent/foreign ranks. Miguel has continued his winning ways in Adelaide with a 3-0 record in 5 starts, including one complete game.

Adam McKillican – another Frontier League Québec alum, Adam pitched in just 6 games with Québec in 2021 before being signed to the Texas Rangers organization. But his breakout season happened after making the switch to the Colorado Rockies organization. During the 2022 season, Adam pitched in 32 games for the High-A Spokane Indians with a 3-0 record and 1.64 ERA earning him the title of the Rockies’ organizational all-star relief pitcher. He has been a solid addition to the back end of Adelaide’s bullpen where he has earned 2 wins and 3 saves while striking out 12 and walking none in 10.1 IP so far this season.

Quintin Torres-Costa – a former Milwaukee Brewers prospect from 2015 – 2021, Quintin turned to indy ball for the 2022 season looking for another shot to prove himself after having Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2018 season. While with the Gastonia Honey Hunters, he compiled a 4-2 record with a 2.76 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 49 innings. He currently has a 3-1 record in his first ABL season.

Luis Aviles Jr – taking advantage of independent baseball’s ability to play during the COVID season, Luis played 12 games for the Sugar Land Lighting Sloths in the Constellation Energy League while in between affiliated stints for the Milwaukee Brewers organization (2013-2019) and Los Angeles Angels organization (2021). Last season, Luis split time between AA and AAA with the Miami Marlins. He continues to see the ball well at the plate with a .313 average and .835 OPS while making great defensive plays in the infield for Adelaide.

The Adelaide Giants are looking to keep their winning streak alive with their next set of home games December 16th – 18th against the Perth Heat.

All ABL games can be streamed live for free at https://baseball.com.au/