Archive | Oceania

Australia Releases Final Roster to Face Diamondbacks and Dodgers

Baseball Australia has announced the final roster for the team that will meet the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 20 and March 21. The team, newly named Southern Thunder, is led by MLB pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith (Arizona Diamondbacks) and former MLB outfielder Trent Oeltjen (Sydney Blue Sox).

Joining Oeltjen in the lineup will be power hitting Stefan Welch (Boston Red Sox) and Mike Walker (Milwaukee Brewers). The team features several other players with MLB experience including Luke Hughes and Justin Huber.

The Southern Thunder will take on the Dodgers on Thursday March 20th before taking on the Diamondbacks on Friday March 21st.

1-top-roster
1-bottom-roster

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Baseball Australia Announces 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

There will be three new inductees into the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame in 2014.

The Baseball Australia Hall of Fame started in 2005 and recognizes players and coaches who have had an impact on the game of baseball at the highest level. The inductees must be of good character and have never brought the game into disrepute.

The Hall has seven eras of classification starting with Pre 1900. It continues with 1900 to 1918, 1919 to 1946 (start of American influence and the Claxton Shield), 1947 to 1967 (post war), 1968 to 1988 (Asia influence), 1989 to 1999 (first ABL), and 2000 to the present.

2014 Baseball Australia Hall of Fame Inductees:

  • Phil Alexander, South Australia.  Category:  Playing 1968 – 1988
  • Kaye Greenham, Western Australia.  Category:  Playing 1947 – 1967
  • Brendan Kingman, New South Wales.  Category: Playing 1989 – 1999 & 2000 onwards

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New Baseball World Rankings – USA Ends Cuba’s Four Year Reign

USA Baseball has ended Cuba’s 4-year reign at the top of the World Baseball Rankings after a productive year in 2013.

The International Baseball Federation has used the World Baseball Ranking system since 2009, and each year Cuba has been at the top.

Team USA had a disappointing second round exit at the World Baseball Classic, but then picked up gold medals at the 12U Baseball World Cup and the 18U Baseball World Cup. Also giving Team USA points this summer was its “Friendship” series with Cuba where the USA’s National Collegiate Team won all five games.

Also jumping up in the standings was Japan who went from the third ranked country to the second also surpassing Cuba in the process. In the big tournaments of the year, Japan placed third at the World Baseball Classic, second at the 18U World Baseball Cup, and third again at the 12U Baseball World Cup.

The Dominican Republic made one of the bigger jumps in the standings after its win at the World Baseball Classic going from 13th a year ago to 5th.

The Netherlands remain the top European country in the standings as they swapped places with Canada moving up to 6th place.

The Americas continue to be the strongest in the polls collecting eleven of the top twenty spots. Asia and Europe combined take up 40% of the top twenty with both continents placing four teams. The last top twenty team comes from Oceania with Australia coming in at 14th.

Africa’s top representative is South Africa in at number 31.

Men’s Baseball World Rankings Top 10:

1. USA
2. Japan
3. Cuba
4. Chinese Taipei
5. Dominican Republic
6. Netherlands
7. Canada
8. South Korea
9. Puerto Rico
10. Venezuela

Complete World Rankings

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Australia: ABL to Hold First Supplemental Draft

The Australian Baseball League holds its first supplemental draft for the 2013/14 season on Thursday. The six clubs will have a pool of players from Australia, the US, and other places to choose from.

The new season begins on Thursday October 31st as the Canberra Cavalry start the defense of their title against the Melbourne Aces.

For more information visit TheABL.com where you can read Tyle Maun’s article detailing the draft.

2012/13 Australian Baseball League Standings:

1. *Canberra Cavalry 27-19
2. Sydney Blue Sox 26-19
3. Perth Heat 25-21
4. Brisbane Bandits 23-22
5. Adelaide Bite 21-25
6. Melbourne Aces 15-31

*Won ABL Title after defeating the Perth Heat in the championship

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Texas Rangers to Hold Fundraiser for Christopher Lane Memorial Fund

Nearly a month has passed since the tragic death of Australian baseball player Christopher Lane was maliciously murdered by “bored” teens.

There have been numerous benefits set up to honor the teen who was playing college ball in Oklahoma. And now another is being set up by the Texas Rangers.

The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation and the Wives Club are going to hold a special fundraiser during a game with the Angels on September 28th. Part of the proceeds will go toward the Christopher Lane Memorial Fund.

The fund was set up by friends and the Essendon Baseball Club of Australia to help pay for funeral and travel costs to repatriate Christopher. However, the fund raised over $150,000 and will now create an ongoing legacy using the raised funds.

During the Rangers fundraiser fans will be able to purchase grab bags for $50, $100, or $200 that will contain autographed items from Rangers players. In addition to the grab bags, a silent auction is being set up for autographed jerseys of Australian born players Travis Blackley and the A’s Grant Balfour.

For more information you can visit TexasRangers.com.

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Memorial Fund for Slain Australian Baseball Player Chris Lane Set Up

Recently we wrote about an Australian baseball player shot at random , Chris Lane, by three teens in a small town in Oklahoma.

Lane, a 22-year old student, was here in the USA to earn his college degree and play baseball. He was in Duncan, Oklahoma visiting his girlfriend and her family before returning to school to start the new semester when he was shot at random by three teenagers.

It was first reported that the three teenagers did it because they were bored. There is another story coming out speculating that it might have been a gang initiation for the three teens who will now be tried in an adult court. It is still not clear why they decided to shot Lee in the back while he was jogging.

A friend of the family set up a fund to help support the parents travel to the US to bring their son home. The goal of that fund already has been overwhelmingly surpassed. The fund now sits at $130,000 and had an original goal of just $15,000.

The story has obviously touched the heart of so many and the support has been great even though I’d love to see more in the media.

You can also donate to the cause. The money will go toward paying for funeral expenses with all leftover money put into a foundation that will make donations to organizations in need. You can find the donation page below. Every little bit helps and will go to those in need.

Chris Lane was only chasing his dream of playing baseball and getting his college degree. Now we can only hope that this story and the foundation that is created will help others make the correct decision and chase their dreams.

A reminder too that the Essendon Baseball Club is also holding a memorial game this Sunday. As well, Australian baseball player Glenn Williams and Baseball NSW have set up an online auction to raise funds as well to be donated to the Chris Lane memorial fund. Items include signed hats and baseballs and are being auctioned off on eBay (Australia) for the next 10 days. Links to the items are below.

Johan Santana Signed Hat

David Nilsson Signed Ball

Graeme Lloyd Signed Ball

Justin Huber Signed Ball

Glenn Williams Signed Ball

Glenn Williams Signed Helmet

Hideki Okajima Signed Glove

If you can, please donate to the Chris Lane Memorial Fund. All money will go toward paying for the funeral expenses and anything over those cost will be donated to charity in his name. Every little bit helps.

Chris Lane Memorial Fund Donation Page

 Photo by Reuters

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Australian Baseball Player Chris Lane Killed by “Bored” Teens

In what was a senseless and uncalled for incident, three young men shot and killed Australian baseball player Chris Lane. Lane was just 22.

Lane was in Duncan, Oklahoma last Friday afternoon visiting his girlfriend and her family. He was out for a run on the streets of Duncan when he passed a house with three boys sitting on the porch. The boys then decided Lane would be their target and followed him in a car in order to shot him.

Why did they do it? They said they were bored.

The kids, and I do mean kids as the oldest was only 17, were in what was called a “wanna be gang”. Earlier they had killed an animal and stepped up their murder to people when they saw Lane jogging by.

Lane, a student from Melbourne, was attending college in the US on a scholarship at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. Lane was entering his senior year at the university where he started at catcher for 14 games last season.

Lane’s former club team in Australia is holding a memorial game this Sunday August 25th.

For more information on the Chris Lane Memorial Game or if you would like to donate to the Christopher Lane Memorial Fund, please visit the Essendon Baseball Club Website.

Photo: Essendon Baseball Club

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Australia: Brisbane Bandits Move to Holloway Field for Upcoming Season

The Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League are moving to a new home for the 2013/2014 season. They will now call Holloway Field home after spending the first three years at RNA Showgrounds.

Holloway Field offers many upgrades for Bandits fans. They will now be closer to the action, have better catering options, and the location might be the best part. Fans will now be able to easily access the stadium via car, train, bicycle, bus, or even on foot.

Plus Holloway Field is historic in Queensland, Australia. Over the years the field has seen Claxton Shield contests and gives the team a baseball only facility.

The field opened in 1964 and has long been the home to the Windsor Royals Sports Club. It was refurbished in 1982 and again in 1986.

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Major League Baseball Opens 2014 Season in Sydney, Australia

For the first time in MLB history, the season will open up in Australia come 2014 when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks open the season in Sydney.

The two-game series will take place at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22-23.

Both teams will open the doors to their training schedule as they will be in Australia for six days but play only two games.

This is a huge deal for Australia where baseball is slowly growing. There have been 31 Australian Major Leaguers over the years, and one currently plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Peter Moylan.

The Australian Baseball League was reborn during the 2010-2011 season. The league consists of six teams spread out around the country with one in Sydney.

The Major League games will take place after the 2013-2014 ABL season which runs from November to February. This will only hope to keep the baseball game growing both helping the ABL and the Australian National Team.

What it is guaranteed to help is the economy in Sydney. Bringing in money and improvements to the Sydney Cricket Ground which will be renovated to meed Major League standings prior to the opening series.

The games will also take place during the 100th anniversary of an exhibition game between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants that took place at the same venue.

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Baseball and Softball South Australia Receives $2 Million Grant

Baseball and softball in South Australia secured a grant of $2 million to use toward facility development.

The grant will help with the expansion and refurbishment of the Softball SA West Beach facility. Baseball South Australia will work with the Australian Baseball League and the Adelaide Bite to help provide a facility that can meet the needs of using the facility for professional games.

Complete Press Release from the Australian Baseball Federation

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Australian Signs with Japanese Pro Women’s Baseball League

Press Release by Australian Baseball Federation

Shae Lillywhite has signed with the Japanese Women’s Baseball League, becoming the first International player to do so.

Lillywhite, from Victoria, is a five time Team Australia representative and one of a group of Australian players who are taking Women’s Baseball to the next level.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, Shae said; “I am very lucky. I am going to be the first international player to get a contract.  A lot of people don’t realise women play. They think it is softball but there are huge opportunities for women now. I just love the game. You always keep learning every time you play and the best part is being in a team.”

Shae will now move to Tokyo for her six month contract and play infront of sell-out crowds in Japan.

Baseball Australia congratulates Shae on paving the way, not only for Australia’s female players, but for the International women’s baseball community.

Posted in Asia, News, Oceania, Women0 Comments

New World Baseball Softball Body Born at Historic Tokyo Congress

Marks Milestone toward Olympic Games Inclusion

New Olympic Campaign Logo, Theme, Social Media Platforms “PlayBall2020.com” and Vision to Give Every Boy & Girl Chance to Play Ball also Launched.

Join the PlayBall2020 Lineup on Facebook and show your support!

Press Release from World Baseball Softball Confederation

TOKYO — Baseball and softball players, supporters, and fans worldwide – from professional leagues to local clubs and junior teams – have come out ‘Swinging For The Fences’ and pitching for the Olympic Games, following the launch of a global campaign to get baseball and softball back into the Games

The campaign was launched in Tokyo, one of the global power centres for the two sports. It followed an historic vote by international baseball and softball federation leaders and delegates worldwide  – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, including China, India, Iraq, Russia, Brunei, Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan, Fiji, South Africa and many other nations – to ratify a landmark constitution that unites the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and International Softball Federation (ISF) as a single new international sporting federation, known as the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).

NEW WORLD BASEBALL SOFTBALL BODY BORN

The birth of the world’s newest international sporting federation is a milestone in the campaign to rejoin the Olympic Games sports program after being delisted in 2005.

“This is an historic day”, said IBAF president and WBSC co-president, Riccardo Fraccari. “We have brought a new level of worldwide unity and determination to our quest to return to the Games.  The 65 million currently playing baseball and softball around the world now have a single federation to rally behind.”

President Fraccari said the international baseball community was “honoured and humbled” to have the opportunity to rejoin the Olympic Games in 2020,  and thanked the IOC for guidance and trust provided in forming the new federation, which he said would “provide greater support and resources for the athletes and help to develop the sports”.

Fraccari continued: “We are on a great journey to return our global sport to the Olympic stage. We’ve been listening and learning from the Olympic Family and the IOC to understand what it takes to be included as a sport at the Olympic Games.”

“This is in the best interests of the athletes and putting the welfare of the athletes and the future of sport first, and inspiring young athletes to stand on the highest podium that an athlete can aspire to—the Olympic Games,” he said.

“We have reached a milestone in our journey to put baseball and softball back in the Olympic Games, and today I am proud to announce that the full membership of the International Baseball Federation voted to ratify the new Constitution of the World Baseball Softball Confederation.”

WBSC SHARED VISION TO REACH YOUTH

The WBSC also outlined its unique vision for the campaign. “Our vision is to give every boy and girl in the world a chance to play baseball and softball and to inspire them to take up the sport through the Olympic Games,” said ISF President and WBSC co-President, Don Porter.

“Baseball-softball is a game that anyone, anywhere can play.  There are no barriers to participation.  If you’ve got a bat and ball you can play, regardless of age, gender, social, cultural or economic stature.

“Baseball and softball help to empower women and provide pathways for women and young girls to experience and participate in sport in all cultures,” said Porter.

NEW CAMPAIGN SLOGAN, WEBSITE AND LOGO

The WBSC also revealed the theme for its Olympic Games campaign, “Swing for the Fences,” heralding a global call-to-action for baseball and softball players, supporters and teams to rally behind the Olympic Games bid.

A new website for the campaign was revealed: PlayBall2020.com. Social media platforms to engage and enable baseball and softball communities worldwide were also unveiled to highlight the massive following the sports have and to share the passion to rejoin the Olympic Games.

The WBSC’s new logo for the campaign was also unveiled. It symbolizes the unique appeal that has made baseball and softball among the world’s most watched, followed and commercially successful sporting brands and experiences.

The new federation and Olympic Games inclusion campaign, has the support of players worldwide, and was launched by two of Japans softball stars, Yukiko Ueno, who pitched the Japanese team to the Gold Medal at the Beijing Olympic Games, and Nana Okamura, a new rising star who pitched Japan to victory in U16 ISF Softball World Cup and became the youngest player ever on Japan’s national team.

ATHLETE AND PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE SUPPORT OF 2020 OLYMPIC CAMPAIGN

The WBSC’s Olympic Games campaign is also supported by professional baseball and softball leagues around the word, including Nippon Professional Baseball, Major League Baseball in the United States, Korean Baseball Organization, the Chinese Professional Baseball Leagues, and numerous league partners in Latin America, Australia and Europe, who are united in their desire to participate in the Olympic Games.

“I am sure that all of my counterparts in the professional leagues share our enthusiasm for Olympic baseball and softball,“ said Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner and former Japan US Ambassador, Ryozo Kato, who said in an emotional address to the Congress, telling delegates that baseball had helped Japan to recover and grow after the devastation of the second world war, and was a catalyst for peace, uniting nations and people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Worldwide respected Japan baseball legend, Sadaharu Oh, also made a strong personal appeal for support to get baseball back into the Olympic Games, while the President of the Japanese Olympic Committee and IOC member, Tsunekazu Takeda, said he would like to see the excitement and joy of baseball experienced by people all over the world, especially among young people.

Posted in Asia, Europe, Latin, MLB, N. America, News, Oceania, Tournaments0 Comments

Australia: Canberra Wins ABL Championship on Late Home Run

CANBERRA, Australia – The Canberra Cavalry took advantage of two Perth Heat errors and a late inning home run to win the 2013 Australian Baseball League Championship.

The Cavalry got down early as Perth jumped out in the top of the first with a pair of runs. In its half of the inning, Kody Hightower (1-for-5) cut the lead to one with a lead off solo home run.

An inning later, Canberra would take the lead with a four run second. The big play came with one out and a runner at first. Antonio Callaway (0-for-4/2 runs) reached on a fielding error by Perth second baseman Luke Hughes who mishandled a throw on a force play. That error opened the door for Canberra, and they walked right through. After a passed ball that allowed the runners to move up, Ryan Stovall (2-for-4/3 RBI) came up with a big single to drive in a pair of runs. His at bat was followed up by a walk and two more singles and before Perth could get out of the inning it had given up four unearned runs and the lead.

An inning later, Canberra would get a fifth unearned run after a throwing error by Heat third baseman Carter Bell allowed the inning to continue. Once again it was Stovall who came through with the hit after the error driving in another run.

Down 6-2 heading into the fifth inning, Perth battled back to tie it. With one out, Heat designated hitter Aaron Bonomi (1-for-4) got the rally going with a single. The next hitter, Ryan Khoury (1-for-3) followed suit with a single of his won. After a ground out put runners at the corners, Tim Kennelly (2-for-3) singled to cut the lead to three.

The next hitter atoned for his earlier error as Luke Hughes (1-for-4) tripled driving in a pair of runs. Allan de San Miguel (1-for-4) singled to knock in Hughes and the game was once again tied.

Canberra took the lead for good on a seventh inning solo home run by Michael Wells (1-for-4).

Perth would just manage one more hit over the game as the Cavalry bullpen shut them down. Brodie Downs (W, 1-0) picked up the win pitching 1.1 innings of relief, and Sean Toler (S, 2) got the save pitching the ninth.

Neither starter fared too well. Perth starter Warwick Saupold lasted just three innings giving up nine hits and six runs (one earned). Canberra starter John Holdzkom lasted a little longer but didn’t do much better. He pitched 4.2 innings giving up seven hits allowing six runs.

Jack Murphy (3-for-4 / 1 RBI) and Aaron Sloan (3-for-4) led the Cavalry offense with three hits apiece.

Michael Ohlman (2-for-3) drove in a pair of runs in the loss for Perth.

The win is Canberra’s first ever ABL Championship and ends Perth’s two year run as champion.

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Australia: Canberra Wins Game One; Goes for Championship Title Saturday

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.

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Australia: ABL Championship Preview

CANBERRA, Australia – The Australian Baseball League Championship Series kicks off this weekend as the Canberra Cavalry host the two-time defending champion Perth Heat.

Canberra finished first in the standings with a record of 27-19. This is the first time they are making the playoffs. Heading into the finals after having last week off, the Cavalry are riding a three-game winning streak. They owned the season series against Perth going 6-2 on the year. However, the two teams haven’t played since early January.

Canberra has the best offense in the league. They led the league in home runs (56), batting average (.295), slugging percentage (.465), doubles (94), and total bases (759 – more than 150 more than 2nd place).

Adam Buschini won the league’s triple crown leading the league in hitting (.363), home runs (15), and RBI (50). Also with big seasons were third baseman Jeremy Barnes (.343/7/32), shortstop Kody Hightower (.325/2/22), and Ryan Stovall (.320/7/24).

Canberra ranked in the middle of the pack in pitching. The pitching staff posted an ERA of 4.04, finished second in saves with 12, but ranked second in the league in strikeouts.

Leading the pitching staff is Brian Grening (4-2) who finished 8th in the league in ERA at 2.87. Sean Toler (2-0/2.84) led the team in saves with 11

Perth finished the season in third place, but they are riding a six-game winning streak after sweeping Sydney in the first round of the playoffs.

Perth finished second in the league in batting average behind Canberra at .267. They led the league in triples (11) and finished in the middle of the field in home runs (31).

The offense is led by outfielders David Amberson (.380/1/7), Corey Adamson (.321/1/18), first baseman Michael Ohlman (.317/6/27), and catcher Allan de San Miguel (.294/5/30).

Perth may be lacking in the big numbers of the Canberra hitters, but they have experience on their side.

On the hill, Perth is led by Anthony Claggett (4-5/3.31), Daniel Schmidt (7-3/3.72), and Warwick Saupold (1-1/2.79). Brendan Wise (2-1/2.14/3 saves) has done well closing out games.

Game 1 will feature Brian Grening against Anthony Claggett on Friday February 8. Game 2 is slated to feature John Holdzkom (4-3/4.10) against Warwick Saupold. If necessary, Game 3 will feature Chris Motta (3-3/5.93) against Daniel Schmidt.

Fans in the USA can watch the games on the MLB Network. Fox Sports 2 will be showing the games in Australia.

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Australia and Japan to Play Pre-WBC Series in Osaka

Team Australia will travel to Japan before the 2013 World Baseball Classic First Round to take on the Japan national team in a tw0-game set.

The series will take place in Osaka on February 23 and 24. The NPB and ABL have agreed to play in the Osaka Dome in preparation for the first round of the Classic.

Australia will use these games to finalize their starting lineup and as part of their final preparations before the start of the tournament. Australia opens their official camp on the 17th in Taichung, Taiwan.

Team Australia will play six games prior to the start of the tournament. In addition to the two games against Japan in Osaka, it will play four games in Taiwan with the teams to be announced at a later date.

Team Australia opens the WBC in Taichung against Taiwan on Saturday March 2.

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Australia: Perth Heat Advance to ABL Championship with Sweep of Sydney

The Perth Heat showed why they have won the first two ABL titles over the weekend with a two game sweep of the Sydney Blue Sox in the first round of the playoffs.

Game one saw a good pitching matchup between the two starters. Both went six innings allowing just a single run. However, it was the Heat bullpen that was up to the task. They allowed just three more hits over the final three innings and not another run. It wasn’t the same story for Sydney.

The Heat bats immediately took advantage when the leagues best pitcher, Craig Anderson, was lifted from the game. Anderson gave up just a single run in six innings. He was followed by Wayne Lundgren (L, 0-1) who quickly gave up three runs in an inning of work.

That’s all the Heat needed as Brendan Wise (S, 1) shut the Blue Sox down in the ninth inning to preserve the 4-1 victory for the Heat and Anthony Claggett (W, 1-0).

Michael Ohlman (1-for-3) drove in a pair of runs on a bases loaded single in the seventh inning. Tim Kennelly (1-for-5) drove in the first run of the seventh with a RBI single. Right fielder David Amberson (0-for-3) got the scoring started in the second inning with a sacrifice fly.

Game 2 was had a little more offense as Perth defeated Sydney 8-7 holding off a late inning rally to advance to the championship round.

Perth picked up 14 hits in the game scoring their runs in bunches. It started in the top of the first with a lead off double by Corey Adamson (2-for-6/2 doubles) who would later score on a sacrifice fly. The Heat loaded the bases scoring once on the sacrifice fly and once on a RBI single by Michael Ohlman (3-for-4).

After the Blue Sox tied the game in the bottom of the second, Perth came right back to take the lead again with four runs in the top of the third. Once again they loaded the bases, and with one out Carter Bell (2-for-5) drove in two runs with a single to left field. Then things got interesting. As David Amberson (0-for-2) was striking out, Ohlman and Bell perform a double steal with Ohlman stealing home for the Heat’s third run of the inning. Sam Kennelly (1-for-5) would cap of the four run inning with a single driving home Bell.

The Heat would add two more runs an inning later to make the score 8-2. Tim Kennelly (2-for-6/3 runs) and Allan de San Miguel (1-for-4/2 RBI) both homered giving the Heat a six run lead.

Sydney would fight back and make it interesting scoring a run in the eighth inning and three more in the ninth before being turned away. With the tying runner at third base and only one out, Brendan Wise (S, 2) gets James Robbins to ground into a game ending double play.

Sydney starter Brad Thomas (L, 0-1) took the loss pitching just 3.1 innings giving up eight runs on nine hits. Thomas had been pitching lights out of late, but the Perth bats got to him early and often. Perth starter Warwick Saupold (W, 1-0) picked up the win tossing six innings giving up two runs on three hits while striking out seven.

The win puts Perth into the championship series with Canberra where they will try to win their third straight ABL title. The Cavalry will host the Heat at Narrabundah Ballpark February 8-10 in a best-of-three series.

ABL Scoreboard:

Perth Heat 4, Sydney Blue Sox 1
Perth Heat 8, Sydney Blue Sox 7
Perth wins series 2-0

ABL Championship Schedule:

Friday February 8th 7;00 pm – Perth Heat vs Canberra Cavalry
Saturday February 9th 7;00 pm – Perth Heat vs Canberra Cavalry
Sunady February 10th 7;00 pm – Perth Heat vs Canberra Cavalry

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Australia: ABL Playoffs Begin Friday with Perth Visiting Sydney

The Australian Baseball League Playoffs kick off on Friday with the first round series between the 2-time defending champion Perth Heat, who finished in 3rd place, and the 2nd place Sydney Blue Sox.

Both teams have made the playoffs each year of the new ABL with Perth winning the first two titles and Sydney finishing 3rd each time.

Sydney has done it with pitching, and pitching they have.

Starter Craig Anderson, who will start Game 1 of the series, led the league in ERA (2.10) and wins (8). Anderson isn’t a strikeout pitcher, but he gets outs. In 81.1 innings, Anderson has given up 81 hits. But he doesn’t walk anyone, giving up only 5 on the year. With a WHIP of just 1.06, he makes you earn your bases which is why he has been so successful.

However, it doesn’t end with Anderson. Also in the rotation is Chris Oxspring who has gone 4-2 in 12 starts. With an ERA of 2.71, Oxspring ranked 5th in the league. Where he differs from Anderson is that he is a strikeout pitcher. He led the league with 86 strikeouts in 79.2 innings.

Also on the league leading staff is Tim Atherton (2-1 / 2.44) and Matthew Williams (2.14) who led the league in saves with 15.

Sydney might not have the top offense in the league, but they have some really good hitters. Mitch Dening is 2nd in the league in hitting at .347, hit 5 home runs, and drove in 32 runs.

Trent D’Antonio led the team in home runs with 6 and hit .304.

The Blue Sox are right in the middle of the pack in the league in most major hitting categories.

On the other side of the field stand the 2-time defending ABL Champion Perth Heat. The Heat take a four game winning streak into the playoffs after having stumbled down the stretch.

Game 1 starter Anthony Claggett was second in the league in strikeouts with 77 in 73.1 innings. In 12 starts he went 4-5 with a 3.31 ERA. Claggett has pitched well in his last three starts and will look to continue that on Friday night.

Starter Daniel Schmidt finished 2nd in the league with 7 wins posting a 3.72 ERA. Schmidt has struggled of late posting a good start after a not so good start. He will look to return to his early season form when he was posting solid start after solid start.

In the bullpen is Brendan Wise who is 2nd on the team in saves with 3 after posting an ERA of 2.14 in 21.0 innings.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Heat is lead by outfielders David Amberson (.380), Corey Adamson (.321/1/18), catcher Allan de San Miguel (2.94/5/30), and first baseman Michael Ohlman (.317/6/27).

The two teams split their 8 games this year, but haven’t played each other since mid-December.

The two teams play a best-of-three series in Sydney with the winner advancing to face Canberra in the championship.

You can watch Game 1 online through Blue Sox TV.

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Australia: Perth Wins and Advances to the ABL Playoffs; Canberra Claims First Place

The playoff picture is now set in the ABL. The top three teams in the league advance to the playoff round with the 1st place team advancing all the way to the championship. The 2nd and 3rd place teams will play a best-of-three series with the winner advancing to the championship team.

The Canberra Cavalry clinched the Australian Baseball League regular season championship with an 11-6 win over Adelaide on Sunday afternoon. This is the first time Canberra has made the playoffs in the three year history of the reformation of the league.

The Cavalry pounded Bite pitching for 13 hits, including three home runs on Sunday to power their way to the title.

Adam Buschini (2-for-2) walked twice, scored twice, and drove in two with his league leading 15th home run of the season in the 3rd inning. Designated hitter Josh Matavesi (1-for-5) hit his first home run of the season in the 5th inning, a solo shot. And Jeremy Barnes (2-for-5) drove in four runs including two on his 7th home run of the season in the 6th inning.

Every Cavalry hitter, except for one, picked up a hit on the day. Five hitters picked up two hits as well including Ryan Stovall (2-for-5) with a pair of doubles.

Ji-Man Choi had a big day for Adelaide who are still on the outside of the playoffs looking in. Choi went 2-for-4 driving in two runs including one on his 8th home run of the year. Ben Lodge (3-for-5) scored a pair of runs and drove in another in the loss.\

Both starters lasted just 3.2 innings giving up 6 runs each. Neither factored into the decision. Steven Kent (W, 1-1) picked up the win in relief. Reed Brown (L, 0-2) took the loss.

The win gives Canberra the 1st place spot in the playoffs. They hold the tie breaker with Sydney, so they will host the championship series.

Melbourne Aces 1, Perth Heat 11

The Perth Heat advanced to the playoffs with an 11-1 victory over Melbourne on Sunday. Perth got a great start from Jack Frawley (W, 3-1) who tossed eight shutout innings allowing just three hits to earn the win. Tim Kennelly finished off the game for Perth in the 9th.

Blake Cunningham (L, 0-1) took the loss for Melbourne pitching three innings and giving up two runs.

Michael Ohlman (3-for-5), Luke Hughes (0-for-3), and Ryan Khoury (2-for-3) all drove in two runs.

Carlo Testa (3-for-4) collected three of the four Melbourne hits on the day.

Brisbane Bandits vs Sydney Blue Sox

The game in Sydney was postponed due to bad weather and will not be made up. The best Sydney could do is a tie for 1st place, but Canberra holds the tie breaker. Brisbane needed Perth to lose in order to have a shot at finishing 3rd place.

Final ABL Regular Season Standings:

1. Canberra Cavalry 27-19

2. Sydney Blue Sox 26-19

3. Perth Heat 25-21

4. Brisbane Bandits 23-22

5. Adelaide Bite 21-25

6. Melbourne Aces 15-31

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Australia: Perth Holds Destiny in Their Own Hands; Win and Advance or Lose and Go Home

On the second to last day of the season with the playoff race heating up, all three games were very important.

With a win on Saturday, the Perth Heat now hold their destiny in their own hands. Canberra and Sydney have already qualified for the playoffs with the final team to be determined on Sunday. Perth holds a one game lead on Brisbane for the final playoff spot. If they win on Sunday, they are in. However, if they lose and Brisbane wins the Bandits will advance holding the tie breaker with Perth.

Brisbane Bandits 4, Sydney Blue Sox 2

Keeping their playoff hopes alive, Brisbane came through with a huge win on Saturday. Brisbane got a great start from James Schult (W, 5-2) who tossed seven scoreless innings giving up just two hits. Justin Erasmus (S, 4) picked up the save pitching 1.1 innings of relief.

Chris Oxspring (L, 4-3) pitched well, but took the loss when his defense couldn’t help him out. Oxspring went seven innings giving up four runs (1 earned) on five hits while striking out eight.

The Bandits got all four runs in the 4th inning. After an error by the Blue Sox third baseman, C.J. Beatty (1-for-4) blasted a 2-run home run, his 7th of the season. Then later the same inning, Logan Wade (1-for-4) doubled in a pair of runs to make the score 4-0.

Brisbane is still hopeful for a playoff birth. If they end up tying for 3rd with Perth, they will hold the tie breaker.

Canberra Cavalry 12, Adelaide Bite 2

Canberra pounded Bite pitching for 15 hits including four home runs. Adam Buschini (3-for-4) got the scoring going with a 2-run home run in the top of the 1st inning. He would add his league leading 14th home run later on in the 7th inning. Marcus Knecht (2-for-4) drove in a run with a solo home run in the 5th inning, and Ryan Stovall (3-for-4) drove in three runs including two with a 2-run blast in the 7th inning. Jeremy Barnes (3-for-5) pitched in with a pair of RBI.

John Holdzkom (W, 4-3) picked up the win pitching five innings giving up just two runs on six hits. Paul Mildren (L, 2-7) took the loss giving up seven runs (5 ER) in 4.2 innings.

Melbourne Aces 2, Perth Heat 6

Perth came into the weekend struggling, but they have now taken the first three games of the series against Melbourne putting them back into the playoff hunt.

Perth kept their playoff hopes alive with a big win on Saturday. Perth got a good start from Daniel Schmidt (W, 7-3) who went 5.2 innings giving up just two runs.

Perth got on the board quickly with a 2-run home run by Luke Hughes (1-for-3) in the top of the 1st inning. David Amberson (3-for-4) doubled in a pair of runs in the 5th to extend the Perth lead to 6-1.

With a win on Sunday, Perth will qualify for the playoffs once again giving them a chance to defend their titles.

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Interview: Australian Pitcher Daniel Schmidt

Recently Australian native and Perth Heat pitcher Daniel Schmidt took the time to answer some questions for us.

Schmidt has been pitching for the Perth Heat and has pitched in a few different independent leagues in the US over the past few summers.

Here is what he had to say about pitching in Australia and the US:

For the past 3 seasons you have been pitching for the Perth Heat in your homeland of Australia. What has it been like pitching in the ABL since its reemergence?

Every player loves representing their state and putting the team colours on. The only thing that makes it more satisfying is playing in front of your large home crowds. With the re-emergence of the ABL it has brought some fans back to the game. It is becoming more recognized as a professional sport again as we play on a weekly basis rather than a once a year tournament played over a couple of weeks. There are a lot of new experiences for most of our players as we have been getting a lot more media attention which involves radio interviews, photo shoots, appearances and in some cases TV interviews. It makes me realize that we are professional athletes and are the most elite players in the country at our sport. That is a pretty awesome feeling when you look at it like that.

During the first two championships seasons the Perth Heat have had the chance to play in the Asia Series against some of the top teams in Asia. Can you tell us a little about how your experience has been in the Asia Series and how it has helped the ABL to be a part of this yearly event?

I consider myself to be extremely lucky to be part of a team that has enjoyed so much success over the past 5 years. To be able to travel to a different country and play against some of the best talent around the world was incredible. The Taiwanese and Korean fans were crazy! They cheer like no other fans around the world I believe. They bring out their horns, whistles and clappers, draped big banners from the top deck and stretched it out over the lower seating. They have cheerleaders and singers chanting and dancing around in between innings, it was just unbelievable. We were treated like celebrities with massive hotels rooms to ourselves, police escorts to and from the field, people waiting in the hotel lobbies for autographs and big buffet meals waiting for us each day. Pretty special memories.

Being a frequent part of the Asia series is dramatically helping increase the popularity of the sport in Australia. This year each team has included live streaming of games on the internet which means that we are getting a larger following, especially from the fans of the places we have visited from the Asia Series.

You have also pitched in the USA in different independent leagues. How has that experience gone so far?

It has certainly been an eye opener playing Independent ball! It is very cut throat as they have so many players to choose from. In the 3 seasons I have played Indy ball, I have been a part of 4 different teams in a variety of different roles. You need to be very adaptable as you aren’t always going to have the same role on each team. People seem to think that Independent ball is a lower standard of baseball then the professional affiliated leagues and it’s simply false. A lot of the players in Independent ball are released guys from Pro Ball. You have ex- big league guys, guys that were number 1 draft pics and others that have come straight out of college. It is a very good standard of baseball.You visit some places that you normally wouldn’t have on your vacation list……..let’s put it that way!! It was also the first time I had really lived away from home by myself so I had to adapt by learning to cook a bit and manage my money better. Overall it has been an awesome experience, loved every minute of it. I’ve met some lifelong friends and created memories that will stay with me forever.

How different is the ABL compared to the independent leagues you have played in the States?

One of the major differences I have noticed is the travel. We are very lucky in the ABL that we get to fly to all our away series games. Having played most of my career in the American Association which is spread out over a large section of central America, we used to have anywhere from 6-12 hour bus trips. We used to jump on the bus straight after a game and drive to our next destination usually all night. Get into town late in the morning, get a couple of hours sleep before having to go to the field and play. The other main difference is that most of the players in the ABL have day jobs. We don’t make enough money yet as the league is still developing. We only play 3-4 days a week which is very strange for some of the imports we have come down here to play as they have so much down time during the week between series.

Once again you are putting together solid numbers in the ABL for Perth. Are you looking to play overseas again somewhere during the summer of 2013?

I’d love to get back to the US to play another season. I am currently looking at going back to the American Association for Independent ball where I played in 2 of the past 3 seasons. There are a few teams in Texas that seem promising at this point with my old manager from Grand Prairie now managing in Laredo. There is also the chance that I could possibly go back and play with the Fort Worth Cats that I played with in 2011. At some point I would also like to go and play in Italy or Holland to see a different part of the world.

The game of baseball is still growing in Australia. How did you get started in the game?

I was actually trying all sorts of sports when I was younger, trying to find the one I enjoyed the most. I had played soccer, basketball, athletics, swimming and Australian Rules Football. While I was training for football I could see the baseball players training on the other side of the field and thought I would give that a go the next season. I was really tall for my age and looked like the coach on most teams because of how much I towered over people! I had a really good first season as I had the strong-arm. My coach told me I should stick with baseball as I could end up going places if I stuck with it plus I really enjoyed it. My dad also played baseball in High School so there was that family connection too.

Pitching with the Heat you have had the chance to work with former Major Leaguer Graeme Lloyd. Can you tell us a little bit about how he has helped your game?

Lloydy and I have known each other for a long time now. He used to coach me up at the Australian baseball Academy up on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia which is a camp for young aspiring baseballers to try and get signed to a professional contract. He has a wealth of knowledge of the game based on his 10+ years of Major league experience. Speaking to a fellow lefty pitcher about the path he took throughout his career and the ups and downs he had, has given me a lot of hope and determination that you can actually prove the doubters wrong if you set your heart to it and give it 100%. He has helped me to keep things in perspective. Whether I am struggling to shake a mental lapse in the middle of the game or we bounce ideas back and forth in between innings about something that may have happened in that half inning. It’s been great to have someone like that to talk to.

You have worked with Teammates International in the past. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with them and why others should think about using their services?

Duane Erickson has done a fantastic job of bringing out quality baseball players to my local Perth state league club the Melville Braves for a number of years now. At the time I had been recently released by the Phillies and had been searching for a place to play somewhere overseas. I found it very hard to get my foot in the door being from another country as no one knew anything about me. Duane made contact and called teams all over the country for Independent ball, in Canada and in Europe to get my name out there. Without his help and Teammates International, I wouldn’t have had this once in a lifetime opportunity to play the game I love and meet amazing people. They made sure that I got the best deal possible, in a team that best suited me. It saved me so much money on international calls, dealing with the time difference and I was also kept informed of each teams thoughts and interests. I highly recommend to anyone that has the desire to see the world while doing something they love, to let Teammates International take care of you. They are professional, resourceful and informative which takes a lot of the stress out of organising something as important as this yourself.

What are your plans after your playing days are over? Are you interested in coaching in the US or Australia?

I certainly want to get into coaching when I hang up the cleats. When I had my Tommy John Surgery back in 2007, I spent a lot of my rehab time coaching junior teams here in Australia. It helped me to feel like I was still involved in the game and also help me keep my sanity from all the repetitiveness of rehab!!! I coached my local clubs Under 16’s team for 4 years, went away to the national championships as the State Pitching Coach for the U14’s and U16’s and I also was the pitching coach for the women’s state baseball team. I get great satisfaction and enjoyment out of seeing the improvements in people when they put the hard work in. I would be thrilled to be able to coach in Australia or the US.

I’d like to thank Daniel for taking the time to answer some questions for us. He is currently pitching for the Perth Heat of the ABL who are in a playoff race. He pitches tonight in the midst of the race which you can follow online at www.theabl.com.

You can also follow him on Twitter at @Big_Lefty23 . We wish him the best the rest of the way for Perth and this summer wherever he winds up.

Posted in Interviews/Reviews, Oceania0 Comments

Australia: Sydney and Canberra Clinch Playoff Birth

The Australian Baseball League playoff race continues to heat up as the weekend progresses.

The Sydney Blue Sox have a one game lead heading into the final two games of the season after routing the Brisbane Bandits 13-0 on Friday night clinching a playoff birth.

Sydney used a 5-run 4th inning to pull ahead 6-0 in the game and from there it was over. They added 4 more runs in the 6th and 3 more in the 8th on a 3-run home run by JaDamion Williams (1-for-1 / 3 RBI).

Chris Snelling (3-for-3) scored a pair of runs, while James Robbins (1-for-3) drove in 3 on the day. Zachary Penprase continued his hot hitting going 3-for-6 with a double.

On the hill, starter Brad Thomas (W, 3-2) was great going 6 innings allowing just 5 hits while striking out 8. Ryan Searle (L, 3-2) took the loss lasting just 3 innings. He gave up only 2 hits, but he walked 5 giving up 5 runs.

The back-to-back loses have dropped Brisbane into 4th place in the league on the verge of being dropped out of the playoffs.

Canberra, now a game out of 1st place, needed a win to keep pace with Sydney, and they got just that on Friday night topping Adelaide 8-7.

Canberra did it with power too hitting three home runs. In the top of the 1st, Jack Murphy (2-for-4) hit a 3-run shot, his 5th of the year, to give the Cavalry a 3-0 lead. Then with the scored tied at 3 in the 4th inning, Jeremy Barnes (1-for-4) hit a solo shot to give Canberra the lead once again. An inning later, Adam Buschini (3-for-5) put the game away with a 3-run bomb of his own.

Adelaide tried to fight back each time but fell short in the end. Ji-man Choi (2-for-4) hit his 7th home run of the year in the 2nd inning, a solo shot. Quincy Latimore added his 3rd in the 7th inning, another solo shot.

Robert Dickmann (W, 4-4) benefited from all the run support provided by his teammates picking up the win. Dickmann went 5 innings giving up 6 runs on 9 hits. Sean Toler (S, 11) picked up his 11th save finishing off the game.

Bite starter Gary Owens (L, 0-1) lasted just 4.2 innings giving up 7 runs on 6 hits including 3 home runs to take the loss.

With the win, Canberra clinches a playoff birth and still has a chance to finish in 1st place.

The final game of the night featured two-time defending champion Perth Heat against the Melbourne Aces. Perth had struggled coming into the weekend but won the fist game of the series. They would follow suit in game 2 with a 11-3 win.

Warwick Saupold (W, 1-1) picked up the win pitching 7 innings allowing just 3 runs on 9 hits. He was backed up by a Heat offense that pounded out 10 hits taking advantage of 3 Melbourne errors.

Allan de San Miguel hit his 7th home run of the season in the 8 run 7th inning Perth put up. Perth was trailing 3-1 heading into the 7th inning when the bats came alive. Perth put together an inning with a home run, 2 doubles, 3 singles, 5 walks, and a wild pitch to score 8 runs and put the game out of reach.

Kevin Reese (L, 2-6) took the loss lasting just 6.1 innings giving up 5 runs. He was relieved in the 7th inning by Kable Hogben who lasted just a third of an inning after giving up 4 runs including the 3-run home run.

ABL Scoreboard

Brisbane Bandits 0, Sydney Blue Sox 13

Canberra Cavalry 8, Adelaide Bite 7

Melbourne Aces 3, Perth Heat 11

Current ABL Standings

1. *Sydney Blue Sox 26-18

2. *Canberra Cavalry 25-19

3. Perth Heat 23-21

4. Adelaide Bite 21-23

5. Melbourne Aces 15-29

*clinched playoff birth

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Australia: Playoff Races Heat Up in Last Weekend of the ABL Regular Season

The final weekend of the ABL season kicked off on Thursday with five teams pushing to make the four team playoffs. Heading into the weekend the Brisbane Bandits and the Sydney Blue Sox were in the hunt for first place.

In the first game of the series, Sydney got the better of Brisbane winning 6-2. The Blue Sox used a 5 run 3rd inning to pull out the victory and take a 1 game lead in the standings over Canberra.

The middle of the order for Sydney really came through with the 2-5 hitters all pitching in with 2 hits apiece. James Robbins (2-for-4) doubled twice and drove in 2 runs. Shortstop Zachary Penprase drove in a pair of runs as well.

Craig Anderson (W, 8-2) tossed 7 innings giving up just 2 runs (1 ER) on 5 hits to help Sydney to the win. It was his league leading 8th win of the season and lowered his ERA to a league second best 2.10.

Chuck Lofgren (L, 4-3) took the loss for Brisbane giving up 5 runs in 5 innings of work.

The two teams will square off again on Friday night in game 2 of the 4-game series.

The two-time defending champion Perth Heat have been struggling of late dropping to 4th place in the standings and on the verge of falling out of the playoffs all together. However, they got a huge win on Thursday night that might just propel them into the playoffs.

Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th to the Melbourne Aces, Perth staged a comeback scoring twice on a walk-off single by Corey Adamson (2-for-5) to win the game.

Both starters pitched well but neither factored into the decision. Heat starter Anthony Claggett tossed 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 8 hits while striking out 14.  Aces starter Lewis Thorpe pitched just as well going 5.1 innings allowing just 1 run on 3 hits.

Brenden Wise (W, 2-1) picked up the win pitching the final two innings in relief. Zachary Arneson (L, 1-2) blew his second save and took the loss for Melbourne.

James Beresford had a big day for the Aces in the loss going 3-for-3 with a double, a run scored, and a RBI.

With the win and a Brisbane loss, Perth is now tied for 3rd place in the standings with 3 games to play. Melbourne is the only team that has been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

The last match up for the weekend is Canberra against Adelaide. Canberra started the weekend tied for first with Sydney in the standings. Adelaide is the team on the outside looking in currently in 5th place. However, they are only a game out of a playoff spot.

In their first game of the series, the Adelaide Bite got a pair of home runs from third baseman Stefan Welch (2-for-4 /3 RBI) and a stellar performance from starter Dushan Ruzic (W, 5-2).

Welch put the Bite on the board in the 2nd with a solo shot giving them a 1-0 lead. Then with the game tied at 2 in the bottom of the 8th, Welch connected again. This time it was a 2-run shot that gave the Bite the win.

Ruzic pitched 8 strong innings allowing just 2 runs on 6 hits while striking out 5. Andrew Kittredge (S, 6) picked up the save pitching the 9th.

Brian Grening started and pitched well for Canberra, but didn’t factor into the decision lasting just 6 innings giving up 2 runs. Reliever Brodie Downs (L, 0-1) took the loss.

Josh Cakebread picked up 3 hits in 4 at bats for the Bite in the win, and Aaron Sloan hit a 2-run home run for the Cavalry.

The loss drops Canberra a game out of first place. Adelaide is still one game out of a playoff spot with three to play.

ABL Scoreboard

Brisbane Bandits 2, Sydney Blue Sox 6

Canberra Cavalry 3, Adelaide Bite 4

Melbourne Aces 3, Perth Heat 4

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Australia: Heading into Final Weekend Five Teams Alive in Playoff Hunt

The Australian Baseball League is down to one final weekend of play before the playoffs, and four of the five teams are still in the hunt for a birth.

This past weekend the two top teams in the league faced off with one another splitting a four game set. Sydney jumped out in Game 1 with a 12-8 victory. Sydney pounded out 17 hits en route to the win. Trent D’Antonio went 5-for-6 driving in 4 runs and scoring 4 more. In the 3rd inning he blasted a 3-run home run, his fifth of the season. Mitch Dening added 4 hits of his own.

Craig Anderson (W, 7-2)  picked up the win going 6 innings allowing 7 runs (5 earned). Brian Grening (L, 4-2) took the loss lasting only 3 innings.

Canberra hit 3 home runs in the loss including one from Jeremy Barnes’  5th, Marcus Knecht’s  4th, and Kody Hightower’s 5th.

Canberra bounced back in Game 2 battling back from a 7-2 deficit to pull out an 8-7 win. Trent D’Antonio went deep for his 5th home run of the season driving in 2. Geoffrey Klein added 3 hits of his own driving in a run. Sean Toler (W, 2-0) picked up the win in relief.

In the loss, Michael Wells went 4-for-5, and Antonio Callaway homered. Adam Buschini hit his league leading 11th home run in the 7th, a 3-run shot.

Game 3 was a runaway win for Sydney who jumped out to a 4-run lead and never looked back winning 10-2. Mitch Dening had another big game driving in 4 runs going 3-for-5 a home run shy of the cycle. Brad Thomas (W, 2-2) went 6 innings allowing 2 runs to pick up the win.

Down a game in the standings, Canberra needed 12 innings to win and put the two teams in a tie for first. John Holdzkom pitched well going 6 innings striking out 7 and not allowing a run. Ryan Stovall had a big game going 3-for-5 hitting a 2-run home run and scoring 3 runs.

Sydney Blue Sox 12, Canberra Cavalry 8
Sydney Blue Sox 7, Canberra Cavalry 8
Sydney Blue Sox 10, Canberra Cavalry 2
Sydney Blue Sox 3,  Canberra Cavalry 4

In the match for third place, the Perth Heat and the Brisbane Bandits squared off in a weekend series. Perth took the first game and went up two games in the standings over Brisbane. After being held scoreless for the first six innings, Perth got on the board with a run in the 7th to make it 3-1. Then in the 8th they busted out for 4 more runs. Brenden Webb hit a home run, his 5th, in the 7th inning. Anthony Claggett (W, 4-5) picked up the win pitching 7 innings allowing only 3 runs. Brendan Wise (S, 3) picked up the save pitching the last 2 innings in releif.

However, that’s all Perth could manage in the weekend. On Saturday the two teams played a double header with Brisbane taking both games. In the first game of the day, James Schult (W, 3-2) pitched 6 shutout innings allowing only 2 hits, while Justin Erasmus (S, 2) picked up the save. The two teams combined for only 5 total hits.

The 2nd half of the double header wasn’t as close at it appeared. Brisbane won 8-5 but Perth needed a 4-run 9th inning to make it close. Brisbane powered its way past the Heat as David Sutherland (1st), C.J. Beatty (5th), and Ryan Battaglia (4th) all hit home runs. Daniel Schmidt (L, 6-3) took the loss, while Ryan Searle (W, 3-1) picked up the win pitching 8 innings allowing just 1 run.

In the final game of the weekend series, Brisbane once again took down Perth 8-2 to stretch their 3rd place lead to 2 games over Perth. Rhys Niit (W, 2-0) picked up the win pitching 6 innings and Rory Rhodes (3-for-5) and Logan Wade (1-for-3) each drove in a pair of runs.

Perth Heat 5, Brisbane Bandits 4
Perth Heat 0, Brisbane Bandits 2 (7)
Perth Heat 5, Brisbane Bandits 8
Perth Heat 2, Brisbane Bandits 8

In the other action of the weekend, Adelaide faced off with Melbourne with the two teams splitting the series. Adelaide won the final two games to stay within 4 games out of first place and only 1 game out of a playoff spot.

Adelaide Bite 2, Melbourne Aces 3
Adelaide Bite 2, Melbourne Aces 8
Adelaide Bite 12, Melbourne Aces 6
Adelaide Bite 9, Melbourne Aces 0

ABL Standings

1. Canberra Cavalry 24-18

2. Sydney Blue Sox 24-18

3. Brisbane Bandits 22-20

4. Perth Heat 21-21

5. Adelaide Bite 20-22

6. Melbourne Aces 15-27

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