The Melbourne Aces swept Saturday’s doubleheader over the Adelaide Bite at Melbourne Ballpark.
Stingy pitching and timely hitting was the theme in the first of two in Saturday’s doubleheader as the Aces shutout the Bite for the second straight time with a final score of 3-0.
Starter John Hussey gave Adelaide a fit as he was in All-Star form, going six solid innings. He gave up five hits, walked one batter and struck out three.
Adelaide lefty pitcher Fu-Te Ni tried his best to put down the Aces, he gave the Bite four innings, allowed three hits and walked one.
The big hit of the game was once again by catcher Ryan Casteel as the All-Star homered for the second straight game. His offence allowed Melbourne to pull out the victory and to allow righty Brett Zawacki to close out the game, earning him his second save of the season.
Saturday’s nightcap was a different story as it was a constant back-and-forth of scoring and ended up with a Melbourne win in the bottom of the 11th inning, winning 5-4 over the Bite.
Adelaide kept fighting back all night, but came up short when right-handed reliever Matt Williams gave up a walk to centre fielder Justin Trapp and a hit to right fielder Tyler Massey, allowing the winning run to cross the plate.
Aces Manager Phil Dale noticed the team effort Saturday, and the positive outings his players had: “Guys who have come in and haven’t had that much success came through and really contributed today’s win. Our relief pitching was outstanding, our starters both gave us a chance and our hitting came through too.”
With Saturday’s wins, Melbourne overtakes Adelaide’s fourth spot in the standings with a record of 8-9. Dale recognised the game’s importance and said, “It’s a great feeling, we’re getting closer to .500 now, so tomorrow’s going to be a very important game for us and it should put us back in the mix of things if we do well.”
On Sunday, Melbourne sends left-hander Lewis Thorpe (0-1, 3.12) to the mound with first pitch set at 2:05pm.
Perth (12-6) 000 000 000 0r 5h 0e
Brisbane (5-12) 200 000 10x 3r 6h 0e
W: Searle (1-0) L: Claggett (2-1) S: T. Crawford (1)
HR: PER: none BRI: Battaglia (4, 7th inning off Claggett, 0 on, 2 out)
Perth Hits: Adamson, Nathans, Tripp, T. Kennelly, Barron
Perth RBI: none
Brisbane Hits: Campbell, Rickard 2, Battaglia, Evans, Bradley
Brisbane RBI: Rickard, B. Dutton, Battaglia
Cavalry Manager named ACT Coach of the Year
By Stephanie Godlewski / theabl.com.au
While Michael Collins, affectionately known as Tubby, was leading the Canberra Cavalry, driven by Rolfe Renault, on the field last night, the Tradies Sports Star of the Year for 2013 awards dinner was happening down the road. Due to his strong leadership and the play of the team he leads, Collins was named Mix 106.3fm Coach Sports Star of the Year as the best Coach in the Australian Capital Territory for 2013.
Collins faced stiff competition for the honour, with ACT Brumbies (Rugby Union) coach Jake White and ACT Open Men’s Softball coach Darren Hebditch the other two finalists. White lead the Brumbies to the Grand Final of the Super 15 Rugby competition, and Hebditch’s team went undefeated for the second year in a row and won a record 12th national title.
Word got to the Fort around the seventh inning about Collins’ win, where the crowd gave the humble leader a standing ovation.
“We have a great team,” Collins said. “We all work together with the common goal, and if it weren’t for the guys we have had here the last two years I wouldn’t have received this award.”
Collins has been credited by the media for the Cavalry’s outstanding resurgence. The first two seasons the Cavalry finished the Australian Baseball League in last place. Collins played on those teams, being named team MVP and leading the league in hitting in 2010-11. Everything changed for the Cavalry when Collins stepped in to coach the team prior to the 2012-13 campaign.
“Steve is a big part of the Cavalry’s continual success,” Collins said of his predecessor Steve Schrenk. “He laid a strong foundation for the team which put us in a good position to win.”
The Cavalry won the 2013 Australian Baseball League, bringing the Claxton Shield to the ACT for the first time in the almost 80 year history of the national baseball trophy. He continued to lead the team to big wins, as the Cavalry made history in November wining the Asia Series.
“We have a special group of guys that believe in each other,” Collins said of his team. “We train hard, play hard, and in the end it has paid off. Personal awards are nice, but our entire team has worked hard and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Collins, 29, played ten seasons of affiliated baseball in both the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the San Diego Padres systems, making it one step away from the majors. When his playing career came to a close, the Padres started grooming him to take a leadership position with the team. He coached the Padres Dominican Summer League team for two seasons, and this past year he was the head coach of the Padres Rookie Ball team in Arizona, USA. After this season Collins will return to the Padres system, while his next assignment has not been made official, it is anticipated that he will continue to advance in the Padres System.
“Michael is a phenomenal coach and an even better man,” Cavalry General Manager Thom Carter said about Collins winning the award. “In my opinion Michael is the best baseball coach in the country and had his young age the sky is the limit. I get a special view of his leadership abilities and watching how ball players from around the world respond to his vision shows me that he is well deserving of this award.”
Due to the success of the teams that he has lead, Collins has been named the head coach of the World team in the ABL All Star game. The game is being played in Melbourne on 18 December. Cavalry players Jon Berti, Michael Crouse, Jack Murphy, Casey Frawley, Sean Toler, and Nick Pugliese join Collins for the game. For information and tickets to the ABL All Star game visit http://www.theabl.com.au or call the ABL at 8226 0225
The Collins lead Cavalry return to action tonight, Saturday, in game three of their four game series against the rival Sydney Blue Sox. The Cavalry took game one with the Sox winning on Friday night.
A three hit, eight inning effort by Mike Ekstrom was enough for the Perth Heat Friday night as they beat the Brisbane Bandits 3-1.
In what has been a trend over the last few series, the Bandits found themselves down early thanks to a first inning home run by Perth third baseman Tucker Nathans. In the sixth, Perth would further their lead as Tucker Nathans doubled in Joey Wong to make it 2-0
In a well pitched game, Perth starter Mike Ekstrom took a no hitter into the fifth inning before Andrew Campbell broke it up with a two out infield single.
Bandits starter Alex Kaminsky pitched six solid innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out four. For the Heat, Mike Ekstrom was outstanding throwing eight innings of three hit ball, walking two and striking out eight. With his efforts Ekstrom lowered his ERA to 0.24.
In the eighth inning Brisbane had a chance to tie the game as they managed to load the bases with one out. With the bases loaded though Brisbane’s best hitter so far this year Joey Rickard was unable to capitalise as he popped out to the catcher. Josh Roberts then had an opportunity but ground out to second.
In the ninth, Brisbane would again have an opportunity to tie the game as Sutherland and Leonard both reached with one out before a walk loaded the bases for Justin O’Connor. The catcher squeaked out a single over the second basemen to make it 3-1, but that would be all as Logan Wade grounded into a double play to end the game.
On Saturday, the Bandits will play a double header with first pitch of game one at 3:30pm. Game two will be for 6:30pm. In the break between the double header, fans in attendance will be treated to the Bandits Celebrity Baseball game in support of the Leukaemia Foundation.
Perth (11-5) 100 001 010 3r 6h 1e
Brisbane (4-11) 000 000 001 1r 5h 2e
W: Ekstrom (4-0) L: Kaminsky (1-2) S: Wise (4)
HR: PER: Nathans (1, 1st inning off Kaminsky, 0 on, 2 out) BRI: none
Perth Hits: Adamson, Nathans 3, Tripp, M. Kennelly
Perth RBI: Nathans 2, Tripp
Brisbane Hits: B. Dutton, Sutherland, Campbell, O’Conner 2
Brisbane RBI: O’Conner
The game was decided early for the Melbourne Aces as they took a dominant lead to win Friday night’s game, shutting out the Adelaide Bite, 7-0 at Melbourne Ballpark.
Things got sparked in the third inning when centre fielder Justin Trapp tripled and came home on Brad Harman’s RBI double. Later, the inning was topped off when the night’s top performer, catcher Ryan Casteel, launched a three-run home run to left field, beginning the All-Stars four-RBI night.
Adelaide’s right-handed starter David Holman gave Melbourne a fit in the beginning of the season when he only allowed one hit. However, tonight was a different story as he couldn’t hold back the Aces, and his day ended early with three innings pitched, eight hits and five runs allowed.
On the other side, the Aces had more than enough dominance on the mound. Starter and newly-announced All-Star Joe Burns tossed another gem as he threw six shutout innings, gave up only three hits, allowed one walk and struck out four. Burns’ night was backed up by relievers Eric Marzec and Andrew Russell – who both made their season debut and each went one inning, not allowing a hit.
World All-Star Jared Schlehuber proved himself to be in top form as he continued his offensive hot stretch, going one for three and keeping up his streak at 13 games: “I’m happy with the way I’ve been swinging the bat. I’ve gotten kind of lucky on a couple balls that have gone through the hole but that’s how baseball works – sometimes you get a little cheap hit or a hard lineout, so they all even themselves out in the end.”
The series continues on Saturday with a doubleheader for games two and three when Melbourne puts John Hussey against Adelaide’s Blake Holovach at 2:05pm. For the nightcap at 7:35pm, Freddy Flores makes his starting debut for the Aces, while Kyle Brueggemann takes the ball for the Bite.
Adelaide (6-8) 000 000 000 0r 4h 1e
Melbourne (7-8) 005 000 20x 7r 12h 1e
W: Burns (3-0) L: Holman (2-2) S: none
HR: ADE: none MEL: Casteel (3, 3rd inning off Holman, 2 on, 1 out)
Adelaide Hits: Welch 2, B. Lodge, Cresswell
Adelaide RBI: none
Melbourne Hits: Trapp, Harman, Massey 2, Schlehuber, Casteel 3, Davies 2, Huber, Wearne
Melbourne RBI: Harman, Massey, Casteel 4, Davies
By Stephanie Godlewski / theabl.com.au/
The Canberra Cavalry were more ready to let their fists do the talking than their bats at the Fort as they dropped game two of a four game series to the Sydney Blue Sox by a score of 11-4.
The first inning passed peacefully enough for with neither team being able to gain traction, but in the bottom of the second the rivalry came out in full force as Sox pitcher Connor Whalen nailed Canberra’s designated hitter and fan favourite Jack Murphy with his first pitch of the at bat. Murphy was escorted by an umpire to first base but that didn’t stop heated words being exchanged on the journey. Soon the dugouts cleared as both sides were ready to throw punches, but the umpires and coaches were able to restore order. Then as the teams were returning to the dugouts, the tensions threatened to spill over again as taunts and barbs continued being exchanged. Once both sides had returned to their dugouts the game resumed, with momentum firmly in Sydney’s favour.
The Blue Sox looked like a different team from the one riding a five game losing streak as they tallied runs in almost every single inning, while conversely the only highlight for the Cavalry was a solo home run by Canberra work horse, Casey Frawley, making the score in the ninth 11-1.
The disappointment was palpable as the rowdy fans quieted with each passing inning that their Cavalry went without crossing the plate. But in the bottom of the ninth hopes were reignited as brothers Aaron and Jason Sloan were both able to get on base, Jason on an error and Aaron on a single. Chants and screams urged the Cavalry on as catcher Robbie Perkins stepped up to bat and he didn’t disappoint smashing a home run over the left field fence.
While the spark of hope for an epic rally was quickly extinguished when Canberra was unable to score any more runs and fell to the Blue Sox by a final score of 11-4. But the disappointment is something the team plans on shaking off says Cavalry manager Michael “Tubby” Collins.
“We came out and did what we could,” Collins says. “Tensions ran high, but tomorrow’s another day. We’ll put this behind us.”
Sydney (8-8) 001 204 130 11r 16h 1e
Canberra (11-6) 000 100 003 4r 4h 1e
W: Whalen (3-1) L: Cole (1-3) S: none
HR: SYD: none CAN: Frawley (4, 4th inning off Whalen, 0 on, 0 out), Perkins, R (2, 9th inning off Wells, L, 2 on, 1 out)
Sydney Hits: May 2, D’Antonio 2, DeMichele 2, Dean, Arribas 2, Shepherd, Edmonds 2, Younis, Schmutter 3
Sydney RBI: DeMichele 3, Edmonds, May, D’Antonio 2, Dean, Younis, Schmutter
Canberra Hits: Frawley, Sloan, R. Perkins 2
Canberra RBI: Frawley, R. Perkins 3
By Lisa Mclellan / Melbourne Aces
The Melbourne Aces have welcomed hotshot reliever Eric Marzec to the roster. The right-handed pitcher hails from Canton, Ohio and was picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers out of Youngstown State University in June of 2010.
Originally a versatile centre fielder in college, Marzec was signed as a pitching prospect and assigned to the Helena Brewers of the Pioneer League. “I pitched a little in college, they’d bring me in from centre field in the last inning to close out a game and I basically came in and just threw the ball as hard as I could.” But it wasn’t until being signed that Marzec officially became a thrower.
From there his career went from strength to strength. He spent most of his rookie year with Helena, notching up a very neat 1.53 ERA with 39 strike outs and only 8 walks in 29.1 innings of work. After a brief stint with the AZL Brewers at the end of 2010, Marzec quickly found himself climbing the ranks of the Milwaukee system. Beginning 2011 in Single A with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, he was eventually reassigned to the Brevard County Manatees where he pitched 20.1 innings across 8 games and only allowed 4 runs. He had obviously done enough to impress because when the Brewer’s Triple A team needed to bolster their relief staff, Marzec was their man.
“It was quite a shock to me, that doesn’t really happen. The chips just fell in certain places and they said they needed some help in the bull pen and that I’d be going up for a few days.”
Of the 10 batters he faced relieving in Nashville, Marzec allowed only 1 hit and no runs to give himself a Triple-A earned run average of 0.00. “It was a great experience and I think I did well, which is obviously something you look for.”
In 2012 he played two-thirds of the season in the High-A Florida State League before joining the Huntsville Stars in Double A.
This year has seen him follow the same path, beginning the year in High A and progressing to Double A after a hot start. While in Double-A this year, Marzec accumulated a winning percentage of 1.000 and an ERA of 1.99 over 54.1 innings, so to say he is coming into the ABL hot seems like an understatement. Marzec is expected to undertake light duties this week in preparation for a potential relief appearance against the Adelaide Bite this weekend at the Melbourne Ballpark. While he does have aspirations to become a starter in the near future, Marzec believes that his primary role this ABL season will be out of the bullpen.
“I do kind of want to be a starter, but for the purposes of this season I don’t really want to be over worked going into baseball come February.”
“I’ve never been to Australia before so as far as my work goes I’m just excited to flip my world upside down and check it out.”
Marzec will get his first taste of the Australian Baseball League this weekend at Melbourne Ballpark when the Aces host the Adelaide Bite for the second time this season. The first game of the four-game series is tonight at 7:35pm with gates opening at 5:35pm.
The Twins have designated right-hander Liam Hendriks for release or assignment in order to clear a roster spot for the newly signed Phil Hughes, according to Tyler Mason of FOX Sports North (on Twitter).
Hendriks, who turns 25 in February, ranked sixth and seventh on the Baseball America’s Top 10 Twins prospects lists from 2010-11. Though he has a solid track record in the minor leagues (3.61 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 in 254 Triple-A innings), he’s struggled tremendously in part of three Major League seasons.
Hendriks has pitched for the Twins in each of the past three seasons, totaling 156 innings. However, the Australian hurler has little to show for it, as he’s posted a 6.06 ERA with 5.7 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 40.4 percent ground-ball rate. Home runs have been a persistent problem for Hendriks, who has averaged 1.7 big flies per nine innings in his Major League tenure.
Thursday night raised the curtain on Round 6 in the Australian Baseball League . In the capital, the Cavalry and Sydney Blue Sox opened their four-game series with some fireworks at the plate.
Canberra Cavalry 13, Sydney Blue Sox 5 – Round 6, Game 1
CANBERRA – It wasn’t that long ago that Casey Frawley thought he may never play professional baseball again. Now, the Canberra Cavalry import is hitting like he never wants to stop.
Named the ABL’s Delta Air Lines Round 5 Player of the Week just days ago, Frawley picked up right where he left off Thursday night at Narrabundah Ballpark, contributing four hits including two doubles as the Cavalry routed Sydney Blue Sox 13-5.
Frawley, who was forced into an early retirement last year when an eye infection ended his Minor League Baseball career, helped to get the Cavalry started in a big third inning on Thursday. With a run home to give Canberra a 2-1 lead, Frawley doubled to drive in another tally and scored two batters later to extend the advantage to 4-1. Canberra tacked on two more runs in the dig and never looked back.
Even after Sydney plated three in the top of the fourth to cut their deficit to 6-4, the Cavalry went right back to work, scoring twice in their half of the fourth, again with a run coming home on a Frawley double and then scoring a run of his own.
Despite the volley of runs, starting pitchers Craig Anderson of Sydney and Brian Grening of Canberra worked late into the night. Each man went seven innings with Anderson (1-3) allowing five earned runs of his eight total. Grening (2-2) fared better, still surrendering five earned but not allowing any more.
With the score 8-5 entering the eighth, the Cavalry put the game away. With one out, the bases loaded, and a run already home, Canberra catcher Jack Murphy unloaded what has become one of his signature moments this season, crushing a grand slam to right field to extend his side’s lead to 13-5. Murphy also had four hits and drove in a game-high four in the victory.
All but one Blue Sox batter had at least one hit, and Joey DeMichele homered in the loss. Canberra’s big eighth came at the expense of Sydney reliever Todd Grattan while Nick Pugliese and Casey Beck worked the eighth and ninth in the win for the Cavalry. The victory moves Canberra a half-game above idle Perth on the ABL ladder.
This series continues tonight at The Fort with first pitch from 7:00 PM AEDT.
Sydney (7-8) 010 310 000 5r 12h 1e
Canberra (11-5) 015 200 05x 13r 15h 1e
W: Grening (2-2) L: C.Anderson (1-3) S: none
HR: SYD: DeMichele (5, 5th inning off Grening, 0 on, 1 out) CAN: Murphy, Ja (1, 8th inning off Grattan, 3 on, 1 out)
Sydney Hits: May, D’Antonio, DeMichele, Broxton, Younis, Dean 2, Arribas 2, Shepherd 2, Schmutter
Sydney RBI: Shepherd 3, Schmutter, DeMichele
Canberra Hits: Berti 2, Opitz, Frawley 4, Barnes 2, Murphy 4, Wells, K. Perkins
Canberra RBI: Wells 2, Frawley 3, Crouse, Barnes, Murphy 4
Game recaps written by ABL staff writer Tyler Maun. Live scoring and video streams can be found all season long at www.TheABL.com.au.
Baseball Australia has announced the Team Australia roster that will vie for back-to-back titles against the World All-Stars at the third annual ABL All-Star Game in Melbourne on Wednesday 18 December at 7:35pm local time.
The national team roster features our best talent when it comes to the ABL, with thirteen Major League Baseball clubs represented on the list. Three key Australian Major Leaguers return, with fan favourites Brad Harman (Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces),Justin Huber (Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces) and Luke Hughes (Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat) all named for the mid-week showdown.
As Team Australia begin preparations for their two games against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks next March in Sydney, the All-Star Game roster has made way for five players to make their national team debut, in an opportunity for the young guys to show what they’ve got.
On debut for the national team will be Australia’s most talked about up-and-coming pitcher, Minnesota Twins and Aces left-hander Lewis Thorpe. In less than eighteen months since signing as an international free agent, Thorpe was named seventh in the US Gulf Coast League’s 2013 top-20 prospect list and the second-ranked pitcher overall. The 17-year-old is charged with a 93 mph (149km/h) fastball and is one to watch in the All-Star Game and years to come.
Also on debut, Team Australia rookies Ben Lodge (Adelaide Bite) and Logan Wade(Brisbane Bandits) sit third and seventh respectively in the current ABL leaders for batting average. They bolster an already talented offensive squad, joining the likes of brothers Tim and Matt Kennelly (Perth), Mitch Dening (Sydney Blue Sox) and Darryl George (Melbourne) who backed himself on debut at the Australia Series last year, proving to be a force for Australia.
Taking his place at first base is dynamic infielder Stefan Welch (Adelaide Bite/Boston Red Sox), who has fast built himself a reputation as a pivotal part of the Australian side. At this year’s World Baseball Classic, Welch claimed Australia’s only home run for the tournament on top of two doubles. With the All-Star Game title currently sitting at one apiece through its first two instalments, Team Australia will look to talent like Welch to remain reigning champs on home turf.
The World All-Stars roster, announced on Tuesday, boasts the ABL’s best-performing international players this season from four baseball nations, including the United States, Canada, Taiwan and Korea. Twelve Major League Baseball clubs will be represented as well as Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and the Korean Baseball Organisation (KBO)
For the first time, the ABL will let its supporters decide which import player will fill the World All-Star team’s final roster spot via an All-Star game fan ballot of twelve nominees on the ABL’s official Facebook page.
By Benjamin Scott / Brisbane Bandits
Becoming a fan favourite is not always an easy task. But hitting the first Bandits home run at Holloway Field and leading the team in almost every offensive category certainly makes Bandits centre fielder Joey Rickard an easy choice for fans.
Born in California but raised in Las Vegas, 22 year old ‘JR’ Joey Rickard graduated from the University of Arizona with a major in sociology. In 2012 he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 9th round and played last year for the Class A Level Bowling Green Hot Rods.
Asked at what age he wanted to play baseball professionally the soft spoken out fielder says he knew from when he was 10 he wanted to be a pro baseball player.
“Since I was real young you know you have those dreams of being a pro baseball player, and it was from about 10 I thought that’s what I wanted to do.
“So far I’m on the right path but I still have a long ways to go,” Joey said.
It was in high school though that the dream of going pro became a possibility. Colleges and professional scouts began to take notice of his abilities in the middle years of his high school career.
“They come look at you and tell you that you have a chance, and that they like you, so definitely in my sophomore and junior years that’s when I realised that it could be an option,” he said.
After playing for the Bowling Green Hot Rods last year, Joey was sent here by the Rays, something he sees as a great way to further his career.
“They said it was a great opportunity for me and they said I could use the extra at bats. I took it as a compliment you know, I’m just trying to work hard and improve out here,” he said.
It has also been a great opportunity for Joey to see the world for the first time as he had never been outside the States before coming to Brisbane. Asked what he thinks of the place, he says he likes what he’s seen so far but that it’s a lot different to back home.
“There are a lot of things to look at, a lot of sightseeing, definitely different then America.
“I just want to see as much as possible, like I want to see the reef and go out and just explore. I know we go to a few big cities, so that will be cool,” he said.
As for what Joey wants to achieve on the field, he just wants to be consistent and work hard.
“I just want to just keep having consistently good at bats and not try and throw any away, and just maintain a good approach at the plate,” he said.
Those “consistently good at bats” have also led to Joey being named in the World All-Star team for this year’s ABL All-Star Game to be played in Melbourne on 18 December.
Outside of baseball Joey says he’s a big basketball fan and played it during high school but that outside of sports he’s a quiet guy who really just likes hanging out with his ‘mates’.
“I’m not a big video game person you know, I just like hanging out watching movies and reading a few books but really I just like hanging out with friends,” he said.
You can catch the All-Star and the rest of the Brisbane Bandits as they take on the Perth Heat Friday night at Holloway Field. First pitch of game one is at 6:30pm AEST.