Perth’s Virgil Vasquez Named ABL Championship Series MVP

Shutting down the Aces in Game 1. SMP Images

Following the ‘Alcohol Think Again’ Perth Heat’s victory in the 2012 ConocoPhillips ABL Championship Series, Game One starting pitcher Virgil Vasquez was named Championship Series Most Valuable Player.

The American right-hander from Santa Barbara, California pitched a complete game on Friday night, allowing just five hits and one run to earn the important 4-1 first-game win for his team.

After Aces catcher Kevin David launched a long home run in the second inning, tying the score at 1-1, Vasquez shut down the Melbourne attack for the remainder of the night. Just four more base hits were recorded against him, none of which came after the sixth inning. Once the victory was in sight, he turned the intensity up a level, retiring the final 11 batters in order. He notched four of his eight strikeouts in the final three frames.

The righty’s control was excellent, as 92 of his 122 pitches went for strikes. He showed great stamina, as well, maintaining his velocity throughout the contest. Matched up with Travis Blackley, another hurler with Major League Baseball experience, Vasquez came out ahead and carried his team to the series lead, which they finished off on Sunday.

The 2003 seventh round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers joined the Heat prior to Round 10 of the regular season and fit in immediately. In his four total starts for Perth, he pitched 27.2 innings, surrendering just seven runs (2.28 ERA) and striking out 22 overall. He suffered two broken wrists in a vehicle accident in April 2010 and has been working his way back since, with this stint in the ABL showing that he is not only healthy, but ready to excel once again.

Vasquez has pitched in MLB for both the Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates and hopes to get back to that level soon.

*Championship Series Spotlight: Virgil Vasquez

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