Cavalry sweep Brisbane in Saturday’s twinbill

Robbie Perkins homered in both games as the Cavalry swept the Bandits [Photo: Ryan Schembri - SMP Images]

Robbie Perkins homered in both games as the Cavalry swept the Bandits
[Photo: Ryan Schembri – SMP Images]

Canberra Cavalry 6, Brisbane Bandits 1 (7 innings) – Round 8, Game 2

Canberra Cavalry 8, Brisbane Bandits 2 – Round 8, Game 3

BRISBANE – The Brisbane Bandits struck first in the second game of their Saturday doubleheader,, scoring a run in the second inning, but the Cavalry continued their hot hitting and won the finale, 8-2.

After the Bandits dropped the first game of the doubleheader to the Cavalry earlier in the day, Brisbane tried to get their bats going early in game two. Second baseman Mitch Nilsson put the Bandits on the board in the second on a sacrifice fly to centre field to score Granden Goetzman, giving his team an early 1-0 lead.

In the fourth, Canberra catcher Jack Murphy hit his fifth double of the season to bring in Christian Lopes and Marcus Lemon. With a 2-1 lead, the Cavalry brought in three more on an L.B. Dantzler double and a Robbie Perkins home run. The fifth inning ended with Canberra holding a 5-1 lead.

After Canberra added one run in the sixth and one run in the seventh, the Bandits came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh trailing 7-1. First baseman David Sutherland lessened the lead when he hit his second home run of the year to make the score 7-2.

The Cavalry scored one more run in the ninth inning for the final margin.

In Saturday’s opener, Canberra turned to their power bats. The Cavalry blasted five home runs on the way to a 6-1 victory.

The Bandits now trail the series 3-0, pending league review of game one due to a protest of Canberra’s import quota. Game four is set for 1:00pm Sunday afternoon.

Game 1 Box Score

Canberra (14-12) 003 101 1 6r 7h 0e

Brisbane (14-12) 001 000 0 1r 9h 1e

Canberra: T Atherton (W, 5-0) 5ip 7h 1r 6k 1w J Brown 2ip 2h 0r 1k 1w to J Murphy and R Perkins.

Hits: A Hudak 2 (hr) C Lopes 1 (hr) LB Dantzler 1 (hr) M Walding 1 J Sloan 1 (hr) R Perkins 1 (hr).

Brisbane: R Searle (L, 2-1) 6ip 6h 5r 4er 9k 2w J Erasmus 1ip 1h 1r 0k 0w to M Tissenbaum.

Hits: J Field 1 T Coyle 2 M Tissenbaum 1 G Goetzman 1 A Campbell 2 D Sutherland 1 L Wade 1.


Game 2 Box Score

Canberra (15-12) 000 501 101 8r 13h 1e

Brisbane (14-13) 010 000 100 2r 4h 1e

Canberra: T Crawford (W, 2-2) 7ip 3h 2r 6k 2w W Ough 2ip 1h 0r 3k 0w to J Murphy.

Hits: M Lemon 3 C Lopes 2 J Murphy 3 LB Dantzler 1 J Sloan 1 K Bradford 1 R Perkins 2 (hr).

Brisbane: M Takashio (L, 1-2) 6ip 8h 6r 6k 0w M Goto 1/3ip 1h 1r 1k 1w J Erasmus 2 2/3ip 4h 1r 1k 1w to K-W Yang.

Hits: A Campbell G Goetzman 1 D Sutherland 1 (hr) L Wade 1.

Heat sweep unlucky Aces in afternoon double header

Mike McClendon went seven innings in his fourth consecutive quality start PHOTO : BRETT CROCKFORD SMP IMAGES

Heat’s Mike McClendon went seven innings in his fourth consecutive quality start

Perth Heat 2, Melbourne Aces 1 (7 innings) – Round 8, Game 3

Perth Heat 2, Melbourne Aces 1 – Round 8, Game 4

By Alexis Brudnicki / Melbourne Aces

MELBOURNE – Despite two impressive starts from Melbourne Aces hurlers on Saturday, the home squad was outduelled by the visiting Perth Heat, losing both games of the afternoon doubleheader at Melbourne Ballpark.

The Aces got another strong performance out of 21-year-old Sam Gibbons in the first game of the day, who squared off against former big leaguer Mike McClendon, but the Aces dropped the matchup 2-1 to the Heat. The young righty went seven innings in his fourth consecutive quality start, allowing just two runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

“We felt like we had to go right at them with Gibbons pitching,” Heat manager Steve Fish said. “He’s had a very successful year so far and we pretty much had to say, ‘We’re going to put our best guy against your best guy.'”

Perth did their damage against Gibbons (2-1) in the fourth frame of the seven-inning game, when shortstop Joey Wong and third baseman Tim Kennelly led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Wong came around on a base hit from Luke Hughes, and Allan De San Miguel drove in his 12th run of the year with an infield single.

The Aces were on the board first, plating one run in opening frame, but that would be all for the home team. Catcher Chace Numata hit a one-out single and eventually came around to score on a fielding error from first baseman Matt Kennelly.

In McClendon’s first start for the Heat he went five innings, allowing one unearned run on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts. McKenzie Acker came on in relief of McClendon (1-0) and recorded his second save of the year with two innings of work, allowing just one hit and fanning two.

“[McClendon] just got here,” Fish said. “He’s on a bit of a pitch count, so we just wanted to make sure we monitor that going forward here. He’s ready to start stretching it out a little bit more but he was fantastic today. We had to match him up against Gibbons. He’s showed up and given us a great amount of new energy.”

The second matchup of the day featured more of the same from both teams, with stellar starting pitching from Makoto Aiuchi on the home side and Shawn Sanford for the visitors.

“[Aiuchi] was great,” Fish said. “[He and Gibbons] throw four pitches for strikes and they kept us at bay…The Japanese pitchers do a great job of shutting down the running game. They throw strikes with four pitches and they were great.”

With only one run on the board through the first eight innings of the game, the Heat outlasted the pitching duel – including three shutout innings for relievers Chad Robinson and Jorge Marban – for another 2-1 victory to cap off the night. Sanford scattered nine hits and used just 79 pitches to get through six innings of work, allowing one run and a walk, adding four strikeouts.

“We thought about [leaving Sanford in longer],” Fish said. “But we have trust in our bullpen. We’ve had a couple rough breaks but we’ve got to get some of these guys some innings. Chad did a fantastic job for us tonight. He was awesome. He got a couple clutch outs for us; pitched two scoreless innings.

“Then Jorge came in and gave us the lift we needed. So we’ve got to make sure we use all of those guys out of the bullpen regardless and keep everybody sharp.”

Robinson (1-3) earned his first win of the year for the Heat (12-14) with his two-inning appearance, allowing just three hits and striking out one. Marban notched his second save with a perfect ninth.

Tim Brown came out of the bullpen in the seventh for the Aces and posted two scoreless frames before Perth got to him in the ninth. The right-hander allowed two runs on two hits in 2 2/3 with two walks and three strikeouts. Matt Wilson came on in relief of Brown (0-3) and allowed one hit in his one-third of a frame.

Melbourne (9-17) opened the scoring in the bottom of the fifth inning, after Justin Huber led off the frame with a single and eventually came in on a fielding error from third baseman Tim Kennelly. Perth came back in the top of the ninth for two, thanks to RBI-singles from Jordan McDonald and a pinch-hitting Taishi Nakagawa who drove in the go-ahead run.

“It’s nice having those guys in the eight- and nine-holes [in the order],” Perth’s skipper said. “McDonald has been great for us all year and Taishi is probably hitting .750 as a pinch-hitter this year. He’s had some big hits for us.”

Kellin Deglan led the offence on the home side, with four hits over the two games, including two bunt singles to beat a shifting Heat infield. Huber had a single and a double in the nightcap, and second baseman Scott Wearne added two hits of his own.

The two teams meet for the final game of the five-game series on Sunday at 2:05PM local time. Melbourne will send southpaw Eric Kline to the mound in his first Aces appearance of the year, and Perth will counter with converted pitcher Ben Shorto.

Game 1 Box Score

Perth         (12-14) 000 200 0 2r 6h 2e

Melbourne (9-17) 100 000 0 1r 6h 0e

Perth: M McClendon (W, 1-0) 5ip 5h 1r 0er 6k 1w M Acker (S, 2) 2ip 1h 0r 2k 0w to A de San Miguel.

Hits: J Wong 1 T Kennelly 1 L Hughes 1 A de San Miguel 1 M Kennelly 1 T Nakagawa.

Melbourne: S Gibbons (L, 2-1) 7ip 6h 2r 4k 0w to C Numata.

Hits: A Engel 1 C Numata 1 B Harman 1 K Deglan 1 D George 1.


Game 2 Box Score

Perth          (13-14) 000 000 002 2r 7h 1e

Melbourne (9-18) 000 010 000 1r 12h 1e

Perth: S Sanford 6ip 9h 1r 4k 1w C Robinson (W, 1-3) 2ip 3h 0r 1k 0w J Marban (S, 2) 1ip 0h 0r 2k 0w to M Dixon and A de San Miguel.

Hits: T Kennelly 1 T Smith 1 A de San Miguel 1 B Pointer 2 J McDonald 1 T Nakagawa 1.

Melbourne: M Aiuchi 6ip 4h 0r 5k 2w T Brown (L, 0-3) 2 2/3ip 2h 2r 3k 2w M Wilson 1/3ip 1ip 0r 0k 0w to K Deglan.

Hits: A Engel 2 S Wearne 2 K Deglan 2 J Davies 1 D Cozens 1 J Huber 2 A Sayers 1 B Leslie 1.

Adelaide continue their march toward the Postseason with another victory over Sydney

Chris Adamson homers in his return to the Bite lineup as the home team wins game three over the Sydney Blue Sox SMP Images

Chris Adamson homers in his return to the Bite lineup as the home team wins game three over the Sydney Blue Sox
SMP Images

Adelaide Bite 4, Sydney Blue Sox 2 – Round 8, Game 3

ADELAIDE – The Adelaide Bite were aiming for their third win in a row against the Sydney Blue Sox, and they succeeded, taking game three of the four game series 4-2 at Norwood Oval on Saturday night.

Ben Lodge continued his great hitting form, getting the scoring underway with his second home run of the season in the bottom of the second to give the Bite a 1-0 lead.

Both starting pitchers had strong outings for their respective clubs. Blue Sox starter Craig Anderson struck out nine and gave up three earned runs in his 5.2 innings of work on the mound. Morgan Coombs went six innings deep for the Bite, striking out five and giving up only four hits in another solid outing for Coombs.

The big hits kept coming for both sides, with Chris Adamson nailing only the second home run of his ABL career with two runners on base to extend the Bite’s lead to four runs in the fifth. The Blue Sox weren’t to be outdone with long balls. Back-to-back solo shots from Alex Glenn and David Kandilas in the top of the sixth cut the lead in half and gave the Sox some hope heading into the later innings.

From there, Aaron Sookee and Will Mathis put in some strong relief work for their respective sides, however the damage was done for Sydney as Adelaide’s Tyler Brunnemann came in claim the last two outs of the ball game. Brunnemann recorded his league-leading fifth save of the 2014/15 ABL season.

Adelaide manager Brooke Knight was delighted for Adamson after his three-run bomb.

“It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy,” says Knight. “Everyone in a Bite uniform got around him because they know he’s a leader on the team, and he pulled through in his first start of the season.”

Matt Williams (1-2/3.82) takes to the mound for the Bite in game four, while Luke Wilkins (2-3/2.75) is the Blue Sox starting pitcher in game four, which takes place Sunday afternoon at 1pm.

Sydney  (12-15) 000 002 000 2r 5h 1e

Adelaide (18-9) 010 030 00x 4r 5h 1e

Sydney: C Anderson (L, 2-5) 5 2/3ip 4h 4r 3er 9k 2w A Sookee 2 1/3ip 1h 0r 2k 0w to A Howe.

Hits: J Dean 1 D Kandilas 1 (hr) A Glenn 1 (hr) T D’Antonio 1 T Bortnick 1.

Adelaide: M Coombs (W, 5-1) 6ip 4h 2r 5k 1w W Mathis 2 1/3ip 0h 0r 0k 1w T Brunnemann (S, 5) 2/3ip 1h 0r 1k 0w.

Hits: M Dening 1 A Miller 1 B Lodge 2 (hr) C Adamson 1 (hr).

Grant Balfour still Australia’s Major League Baseball hero

Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

By Paul Malone/News Corp Australia

GRANT Balfour, Australian baseball’s $6 million a year man, pricked up his ears when he was told there was an Australian to have played more Major League Baseball seasons than he has.

Mind you, we do have to go back more than 100 years to find him.

Balfour, a Sydneysider who is about to enter his second year of a $12 million contract with MLB team Tampa Bay, has clocked up 11 seasons with the Rays and three other clubs.

Graeme Lloyd, who pitched for the Yankees in a World Series, played 10 MLB seasons. Queensland great David Nilsson, who played in an MLB All-Star game, as Balfour has done, could go no further than eight.

His career longevity is, Balfour says, his greatest achievement in the game.

“I knew some of the guys had lengthy careers. Some people had made me aware of it (his has been longer),’’ Balfour said in Brisbane on the fourth leg of his promotional tour of Australia.

Website credits Sydney-born Joe Quinn with having played 17 seasons from 1884-1901.

One hundred years after Quinn played his last game, Balfour, now 36, made his debut as an MLB pitcher for Minnesota in 2001.

“Seventeen? Did he play 17 seasons in the big leagues?,’’ he said in a tone combining surprise and suspicion.

“I’ve heard of him but 17 years … that’s even more impressive.

“I’ve got 13 seasons, but 11 years of service time. You look at 17 seasons, does it mean 17 seasons of service time? You have to have 172 days for it to count as a full season. Eleven is what MLB counts towards pension plans.

 Australian Grant Balfour has played 13 seasons in MLB. Picture: Jono Searle.Source: News Corp Australia

Grant Balfour has played 13 seasons in MLB. Picture: Jono Searle.Source: News Corp Australia

“I had tommyjohn (elbow) surgery and I had shoulder surgery all in 2005 and I came back in 2006 and was pitching in the minor leagues, on a big league contract trying to get back to the big league clubs.

“I was very happy I came back. I missed two seasons in the big leagues and went to the Milwaukee Brewers and pitched with them in the big league (in 2007).’’

The modern era of baseball is considered to be from 1901 by MLB, as it was the first season with both of the existing Major Leagues in operation and in that time four Australians have played in postseason games, finals in the Australian vernacular.

Balfour has played in more post-season games, 17, than any of them.

In 2013, Balfour became the second Australian to play in an MLB All-Star game.

Speaking to Bandits fans and sponsors on Thursday night, he compared his All-Star experience to “your wedding day _ it’s gone before you know it’’.

Asked to nominate the next Australian MLB player, the 36-year-old said only that “there are a handful of guys knocking on the door’’.

“We have had a few guys who have been in the Major Leagues and they have had that achievement and some of them are currently playing,’’ he said.

“There are some younger guys on their way up and I wish I knew them more personally. I’m the old guy now.’’

Nilsson, who played alongside a 19-year-old Balfour in a winning Australian team soon after his MLB retirement, tried to set him straight when the Tampa pitcher said he wished he could find a way to play for his national team more.

“Every day you are pitching in the big leagues, you are representing again,’’ Nilsson assured Balfour with Bandits fans listening in.

Umpire OK after taking a bat to the face

Australian Baseball League umpire Greg Howard takes a hit from CJ Beatty’s back swing during the 2014 ABL All-Star Game presented by Levi’s. Howard was taken to a nearby medical centre for precautionary reasons, and returned to the ballpark before game’s end.

Twins invite James Beresford to Spring Training

beresford14AThe Twins today announced 18 Spring Training [Big League camp] invites to those on Minor League contracts including James Beresford.

He has now succeeded at every level of the minor leagues. Though he played almost exclusively at second base in 2014, he can play three infield positions. He played the whole 2014 season in AAA where he hit .276 over 131 games and 507 ABs with 47 RBI.

Canberra erupt in the 13th to clinch a series-opening victory over Brisbane

Jack Murphy slammed a three-run homer  PHOTO JAMES WORSFOLD, SMP IMAGES.COM

Jack Murphy slammed a three-run homer

Canberra Cavalry 11, Brisbane Bandits 4 (13 innings) – Round 8, Game 1

BRISBANE – After jumping out to an early lead, the Canberra Cavalry (13-12) needed 13 innings to secure an 11-4 win over the Brisbane Bandits (14-11) at AFA Stadium at Holloway Field Friday night.

Brisbane fought back from four runs behind in the fifth – losing their manager along the way – to tie the game and take it beyond nine innings. From there, both sides traded scoreless innings until the Cavalry broke the shackles in the thirteenth, scoring seven runs and closing out game one of the series.

On a night that saw six Cavalry bats record multiple hits, pitcher Gaby Hernandez (1-2, 6.06) stole the show, pitching four crucial innings and keeping his side in the game. He entered the game in the ninth and didn’t depart until his side had regained their lead. Hernandez struck out five Bandits and allowed only two hits through his four scoreless innings at the mound.

Despite recording hits in the first seven innings of the game, the Cavalry had to wait until the third to make it count on the scoreboard. Backing up after his first ABL All-Star appearance, Christian Lopes stepped into the box with one out and powered his first homerun of the season. Lopes’ shot over the left field wall was matched two batters later, when Mitch Walding nailed another solo homer to the opposite side of the ballpark.

The Cavs doubled their lead in the fourth with two more runs, both of which were scored on yet another homerun. With Jason Sloan on base, catcher Robbie Perkins hit the third long ball of the night, also recording his first homer of the season.

Brisbane closed the score to 4-3 in the fifth with a two-run homer of their own and a Maxx Tissenbaum RBI double. With two out and two on base, the Bandits were threatening again in the seventh. Tissenbaum was then called out on strikes, causing an eruption from manager Dave Nilsson that saw him ejected by the home plate umpire.

The Bandits did manage to complete the comeback in the eighth with Granden Goetzman scoring on a Mitch Nilsson single, tying the game at 4-4.

With the score tied after nine, the game entered extra innings and pitching took over, both sides traded four scoreless innings before Canberra broke the trend in the 13th.

As per ABL tiebreaker rules, the 13th inning started for the Cavalry with two runners on base, both of which were advanced by Sloan who opened up with a sacrifice bunt. Perkins and Alex Hudak were both then walked, scoring a run and leaving the bases loaded. Scott Hillier and Anthony Alford followed with singles, scoring two more runs and keeping the bases loaded with only one out. When Hudak scored on a sacrifice fly and Jack Murphy slammed a three-run homer, the margin was extended to a very safe seven runs.

Dustin Crenshaw took over from Hernandez and closed out the opposition, despite them starting with the two runners on base.

The Cavalry will look to extend their series lead and further close the gap between themselves and the second-placed Brisbane when they meet twice tomorrow at AFA Stadium. The first game of the double-header is scheduled for a 4.30PM AEDT start; with game two starting at 7.30. Tim Atherton (4-0, 1.93) – who leads the league’s starters for wins – will take to the mound and will be confident of continuing his stellar start to the season.

Canberra (13-12) 002 200 000 000 7 11r 16h 3e

Brisbane  (14-11) 000 030 010 000 0 4r 9h 0e

Canberra: B Grening 5ip 4h 3r 3k 2w I Marshall 1ip 1h 0r 1k 0w AJ Holland 2/3ip 0h 0r 2k 1w J Brown 1 1/3ip 1h 1r 0er 2k 1w G Hernandez (W, 1-2) 4ip 2h 0r 5k 2w D Crenshaw 1ip 1h 0r 2k 0w to R Perkins.

Hits: A Alford 2 C Lopes 3 (hr) J Murphy 2 (hr) M Walding 3 (hr) J Sloan 2 R Perkins 2 (hr) A Silva 1 S Hillier 1.

Brisbane: C-H Lin 5ip 9h 4r 2k 0w S Holland 1/3ip 2h 0r 0k 0w G Hendrix 2/3ip 0h 0r 0k 0w J Erasmus 2/3ip 1h 0r 1k 0w M Goto 1/3ip 0h 0r 0k 0w M Timms 3ip 1h 0r 3k 1w S Chambers (L, 2-4) 3ip 3h 7r 5er 2k 4w to K-W Yang.

Hits: M Tissenbaum 1 CJ Beatty 1 A Campbell 2 K-W Yang 1 M Nilsson 3 (hr) L Wade 1.

Red hot Bite take game 2 from Blue Sox

Chan Moon went 4-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the Bite's offence [Photo: Ryan Schembri - SMP Images]

Chan Moon went 4-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the Bite’s offence
[Photo: Ryan Schembri – SMP Images]

Adelaide Bite 6, Sydney Blue Sox 2 (8 innings) – Round 8, Game 2

ADELAIDE – The Adelaide Bite were looking for back-to-back wins against the Sydney Blue Sox, and they prevailed, taking game two of the series 6-2 at Norwood Oval on Friday night.

The Blue Sox struck first in game two after a Michael Lysaught nailed a deep shot to left field to score Zach Shepherd in the second, but in trademark Bite fashion, they struck back with a vengeance.

Adelaide piled on four runs in the bottom of the third, with a bases loaded walk the starting point. With two out, Ben Lodge claimed a two-run RBI single to score Aaron Miller and Stef Welch, and the Bite weren’t done there, with a Chan Moon RBI giving Adelaide a 4-1 lead after three innings.

Craig Stem struggled early on the mound for the Bite but soon found his rhythm and struck out four in his three innings. In comparison, Markus Solbach allowed four earned runs and three walks during his 4 1/3 innings pitched for the Blue Sox.

Moon was a star performer for the Bite in game two, claiming 4-for-4 and two RBIs to lead the Bite’s offence. Josh Tols continued his All-Star form on the night, pitching two innings of no-hit baseball in the all-important middle innings.

Blue Sox right fielder Alex Glenn made it a three-run ballgame after he batted in Jacob Younis in the top of the seventh, but Moon claimed his second RBI of the night in the bottom half to give his team a four-run advantage and the second win in as many nights over the Blue Sox.

Adelaide Bite Manager Brooke Knight was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We really fought hard tonight,” says Knight. “Tols worked the count really well for us, and it was great to see Lodge and Moon get hot. That win gives us a great platform for the rest of the series.”

Morgan Coombs (4-1/2.62) is the Bite’s starting pitcher in game three, while veteran Craig Anderson (2-4/2.93) takes to the mound for the Blue Sox in game three, which takes place Saturday night at 7pm.

Sydney   (12-14) 010 000 10x 2r 3h 1e

Adelaide (17-9) 004 010 10x 6r 9h 0e

Sydney: M Solbach (L, 4-1) 7h 5h 4er 5k 3w W Lundgren 2/3ip 1h 0r 1k 1w J Guyer 1 1/3ip 1h 1r 0k 2w M Rae 1/3ip 0h 0r 0k 0w A Sookee 1/3ip 0h 0r 0k 0w to A Howe.

Hits: D Kandilas 1 A Glenn 1 M Lysaught 1.

Adelaide: C Stem 3ip 2h 1r 4k 3w T Scott 2/3ip 0h 0r 1k 2w J Tols (W, 6-1) 2 1/3ip 0h 0r 3k 3w M Williams 1ip 1h 1r 2k 1w J Silvi 1/3ip 0h 0r 0k 1w T Brunnemann 2/3ip 0h 0k 1k 0w.

Hits: M Dening 2 A Miller 1 B Lodge 2 C Moon 4 .

Aces blank Perth 9-0 on the back of Kellin Deglan’s two home runs and a Kentaro Fukukura gem

Killin Deglan homered twice for the Aces PHOTO : TANIA CHALMERS SMP IMAGES

Killin Deglan homered twice for the Aces PHOTO : TANIA CHALMERS SMP IMAGES

Melbourne Aces 9, Perth Heat 0 – Round 8, Game 2

With stellar pitching, good defence and an impressive offensive attack, the Melbourne Aces took down the defending champion Perth Heat 9-0 on Friday night at Melbourne Ballpark.

Kentaro Fukukura threw his second consecutive gem, Kellin Deglan regained the Australian Baseball League-lead in home runs and runs driven in with two and four in the matchup respectively, Adam Engel added a three-run shot, Josh Hendricks had three hits and drove in two, and five different Aces had multi-hit games in the team’s ninth victory of the season.

“We got an early lead and we held onto it,” Melbourne manager Tommy Thompson said. “Fukukura once again was outstanding. We kept adding on and scoring runs which was exciting for us. That was one of our most solid games right there. It was a great job by all tonight.”

Deglan paced the offence with a two-run home run in the opening frame, followed by a sacrifice fly in his second at-bat, and adding a leadoff homer in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Canadian catcher currently leads the circuit with 10 long balls and 23 RBI on the year, and was happy with his results in the second game of the five-game series.

“It feels good,” the 22-year-old Texas Rangers prospect said. “I haven’t been feeling too well in the last couple of games but today it was good to feel comfortable in the box again. I felt like myself again…

“[The difference has been] mental really. I’ve been getting frustrated a lot and taking my last at-bat into my next at-bat, but today I came in with a better attitude, wanting to do really well, and it took care of itself.”

Chace Numata added three hits in the game as the day’s designated hitter, while second baseman Darryl George had two singles in his first start of the season.

“We swung the bats really well two nights in a row,” Thompson said. “We’ve been swinging the bats better even in Canberra. Our bats are coming alive a little bit and it was good to see us play some good defence and get some great pitching tonight.”

Fukukura (1-1) took the hill for the Aces and went seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits, walking three and striking out three. The Japanese hurler followed up a stellar performance against the Cavalry in which he threw 7 2/3 frames without allowing an earned run.

“He was great,” Melbourne’s skipper said. “Even though we scored a lot of runs he put up zeros all night. He’s done a pretty dang good job all year. He gives us a chance to win and that was a really good start for him.”

Added Deglan, Fukukura’s catcher in the matchup: “He was great. He attacked the zone with all of his pitches and he had their hitters off balance all game. We gave him a lead and he was comfortable with it. He just cruised after that.”

Perth’s three hits in the game were all singles, one apiece from left fielder Tim Smith, shortstop Joey Wong, and Sam Kennelly, who came in to pinch hit in the eighth inning, facing Tim Brown. Brown threw one inning of relief, allowing the hit and striking out one.

Aces (9-16) development player Jeramy Young made his second appearance of the series, coming out of the bullpen for the final frame. The 19-year-old right-hander walked one and struck out two in his frame.

“He’s been outstanding,” Thompson said of Young. “He’s a young guy, he attacks, he throws strikes, and he doesn’t look like he’s 19 years old when he’s pitching. I love what I see in him and I’m glad he’s getting an opportunity. He’s going to get more opportunities. He’s done a nice job.”

Daniel Schmidt got the start for the Heat (11-14) and went four innings. The southpaw allowed six runs on eight hits with a walk and a strikeout.

Scott Mitchinson came on in relief of Schmidt (1-3) and allowed one run on two hits, with a walk and three strikeouts in two innings. Alex Burkard finished the game for Perth with two innings, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and a strikeout.

The two teams meet again on Saturday for a doubleheader in Laverton with the first game set for 3:35PM local time and the second matchup starting 30 minutes after its end. Sam Gibbons and Makoto Aiuchi will throw for the Aces, while Perth will send Shawn Sanford and Ben Shorto to the mound.

Perth        (11-14) 000 000 000 0r 3h 0e

Melbourne (9-16) 201 310 20x 9r 13h 2e

Perth: D Schmidt (L, 1-3) 4ip 8h 6r 1k 1w S Mitchinson 2ip 2h 1r 3k 1w A Burkard 2ip 3h 2r 1k 3w to M Dixon.

Hits: J Wong 1 S Kennelly 1 T Smith 1.

Melbourne: K Fukukura (W, 1-1) 7ip 2h 0r 3k 3w T Brown 1ip 1h 0r 1k 0w J Young 1ip 0h 0r 2k 1w to K Deglan.

Hits: A Engel 2 C Numata 3 K Deglan 2 (2 hr) D Cozens 1 J Hendricks 3 D George 2.

Draftee Corey Lyon praises Bite’s unity as Adelaide pursues maiden ABL championship

Corey Lyon was the Bite’s only pick in the maiden ABL Draft earlier this year.

Corey Lyon was the Bite’s only pick in the maiden ABL Draft earlier this year.

ROOKIE Corey Lyon says he’s never played with a more united team as the Adelaide Bite chases a maiden ABL championship.

For the first time in its short history, the Bite is on top of the ladder at the halfway mark of the season and the players have their sights firmly on a title.

Lyon was the Bite’s only pick in the maiden ABL Draft earlier this year after failing to get much of a look-in when he was on the Brisbane Bandits’ development roster.

He’s making his old mob look pretty silly, the 19-year-old able to play almost anywhere on the field while hitting .444 in his last 10 games.

“The team is ridiculously strong. I’m over the moon to be with these guys,” Lyon said.

“It’s been twice as good as I thought it was ever going to be, especially coming from Brisbane to Adelaide — it’s a different atmosphere and exactly what I was looking for.

“This ball club, everybody wants to help you if you’re struggling or you don’t quite understand something.

“As a team all of us are looking ahead to a championship and if you keep bonding like that as a team and pushing as one unit — that’s what takes you there.”

 Corey Lyon: “The team is ridiculously strong. I’m over the moon to be with these guys.”

Corey Lyon: “The team is ridiculously strong. I’m over the moon to be with these guys.”

Less than a week after beating the Sydney Blue Sox three games to one, the Bite faces the same team again in a four-game home set starting at Norwood Oval on Thursday night.

The biggest challenge will be replacing starting catcher Rocky Gale, who has gone back to the USA for personal reasons.

Northern Districts import Will Thorp has been added to the roster, while Chris Adamson and Ben Lodge are also in the mix to catch this weekend.

“We are pretty confident — we know we want to take four this time,” Lyon said.

“We should’ve taken four last time and the opportunity is there to do it again.”

Source: Adelaide Advertiser


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