Michael Wells and Aaron Sloan are the youngest and oldest members of the Canberra Cavalry. Photo: Melissa Adams
Not that long ago, Canberra Cavalry rookie Aaron Sloan had Michael Wells on a pedestal, dreaming of following in his footsteps to the big stage.
He admits, then, that it will be surreal when the pair join forces to ensure Canberra is etched on the Claxton Shield for the first time in its 78-year history.
At 40, Wells, the Cavalry's elder statesman, may consider retiring on top should the Cavalry beat Perth in the Australian Baseball League championship series at Narrabundah this weekend.
Having begun his career with Melbourne in the old national league more than 20 years ago, it's the first time the designated hitter will play in a decider.
The youngest player on the Cavalry roster, Sloan is on the other end of the spectrum and gets to contest a championship series in his rookie year.
Born and bred in Canberra, the 19-year-old said he remembered when, as a child, he was inspired by Wells' hitting while watching him play in the local competition.
''It inspires me more to even win it for him as well,'' infielder Sloan said.
''I've grown up around him watching him play and it will give me extra [motivation] to give him the win.
''When I first stepped up to A-grade he used to just crush the ball, he's a person I looked up to when I was that young.
''I had my ups and downs and watching him always helped me persist with what I'm doing and get to the point where I am now.
''He was a role model, now I'm playing with him for a championship.''
Not one for a Churchillian speech, Wells' long journey to a championship series is enough to motivate the young players to treat it like it could be their last chance.
He said the result will have no impact on whether he opts to play on next year, but conceded family commitments will be the decisive factor.
''Definitely, I've got a young family [two-year-old daughter Skyla and four-year-old son Bayden] and I'm not getting any younger,'' he said.
''Other priorities are going to take over sooner rather than later, so I'm sort of mulling over that a bit.
''It's obviously getting about that time. Hopefully some of the younger guys like Sloaney can step up, and hopefully there's a few more ACT guys in the team over the next year or so.
''You've got to take these opportunities when you get them. They don't come around that often, and I guess I've proved that.''
ABL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Canberra Cavalry v Perth Heat at Narrabundah Ballpark. Games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if required) from 7pm.
Tickets available at www.canberracavalry.com.au/tickets. Reserved: $25 adults, $20 children. General admission: $20 adults, $8 children.