Badgers back in action with clash against the Kings next Sunday
Bristol Badgers begin the defence of their AAA South crown when they host rivals Oxford Kings at Failand next Sunday (12pm).
The Badgers claimed the league title for the first time in their history last year after losing just three of their 24 regular season games.
The Failand-based outfit qualified for the end-of-season play-offs as a result where they were beaten at the semi-final stage.
"It was a great season for us considering we had struggled in the previous campaign," said co-manager Dan Looney.
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"To be top of the standings from pretty much the first week of the regular season until the last was a great effort from the guys.
"We never initially dreamed of winning the title, but as time progressed it became a reality, so when we finally clinched the silverware it was an amazing achievement.
"We've got a strong squad again this year, which we think is good enough to defend the title and to go that step further in the play-offs."
Badgers have kept the majority of last season's successful squad together with the likes of last season's Most Valuable Player (MVP) Jose Bobadilla and pitchers Jon Lansdown, Peter Pfennig and Brad Freedman all expected to be named in a 15-man roster today.
Catchers Matt Bray and Luis Balcazar are also expected to return and Looney added: "Pre-season training has gone well and we're all looking forward to getting under way now.
"We couldn't ask for a better game to start with as Oxford are one of our biggest rivals and we always have a tough game against them."
Badgers are set to hold an appreciation ceremony for former American baseball star Jackie Robinson before the start of Sunday's game.
Robinson, who died in 1972, became the first black player of the modern era to appear in Major League Baseball when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
"Jackie debuted on April 15 of that year, 65 years to the day of our game on Sunday," said Looney.
"He's an iconic figure in the game, who paved the way for ethnic and cultural diversity in the sport.
"We think that it is fitting to hold a short ceremony to appreciate those achievements."
Pitching duo Luke Looney and Gian Jimenez, meanwhile, have both been called up to represent Great Britain later this year.
Luke Looney, 17, is again part of the Great Britain Under-18 squad for this summer's European qualifying tournament in Toulouse, while Jimenez, 22, has been selected for the Under-23 squad scheduled to make a trip to New England for a series of games against teams from two competitive collegiate summer leagues.
The club, meanwhile, is still looking for players for a new second team this season. The Bristol Bats will play games twice a month on average around the South West region. The team will act as a springboard for players to graduate to the senior Badgers side.
Players of all abilities are welcome to turn up to a training session to try out. Sessions take place at the QEH Sports Ground in Failand on Saturday mornings (10am). For further details see www.bristolbaseball.co.uk