CANBERRA, Australia – The Canberra Cavalry won the first game of the Australian Baseball League Championship Series on Friday against the Perth Heat 6-4. The win puts Canberra just a win away from their first ABL title.
Canberra starter Brian Grening (W, 1-0) pitched well to earn the victory tossing 7.2 innings allowing just two runs on six hits. He kept the Heat off the scoreboard until the eighth inning. Sean Toler (S, 1) tossed 1.1 innings of relief to earn the save, but gave up two home runs in the process.
The Cavalry got off to a quick start scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning. Jack Murphy (1-for-3) singled up the middle to drive in the first run of the game.
Canberra would pick up three more runs in the second inning. Michael Wells (1-for-3) and Aaron Sloan (2-for-4) started off the inning with back-to-back singles. After a sacrifice moved runners to second and third, Kody Hightower (3-for-5) singled up the middle scoring Wells and Sloan. The single went right through the legs of center fielder Corey Adamson for a three base error that allowed Hightower to come all the way around to score making it 4-0 Canberra.
Two innings later Canberra showed their power with a pair of home runs. Sloan led off the inning with a home run to center field. Three batters later Ryan Stovall (2-for-4) followed up with another long ball to make the score 6-0.
Perth battled back late in the game picking up a pair of runs in the eighth and ninth innings but fell just short. Tim Kennelly (1-for-4) and Luke Hughes (1-for-4) hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning to close the gap to two. And that is where it would end.
Heat starter Anthony Claggett (L, 1-1) didn’t pitch great going six innings allowing six runs (five earned) giving up 12 hits including two home runs.
Game 2 is Saturday at 7:00 pm local time as Canberra looks to win its first championship and Perth looks to rebound and force a final winner-take-all game on Sunday.
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.