Australian Baseball League: Week 3

In the third week of the ABL competition, the following series were scheduled:
Perth Heat @ Sydney BlueSox, Adelaide Bite @ Canberra Cavalry and Melbourne Aces @ Brisbane Bandits.  The biggest winners in this round were the Melbourne Aces as they swept the Brisbane Bandits.

The week started with only one game on Thursday. The Adelaide Bite took on the Canberra Cavalry. That first game was a real close one with a high score (9-10). Adelaide took a 9-6 lead but squandered it in the sixth inning when Hei Chun Lee gave up two doubles that drove in three runs for the Cavalry. Four of the runs that Canberra scored were unearned. Bas Nooij DH-ed and went 1 for 3 with a walk.
In the second game Bas Nooij drew a walk in his sole at bat. Despite scoring four runs, the Bite lost again (4-8) as their pitching allowed eight earned runs. On Saturday the Bite was blown away by the Cavalry as the team from Canberra won 14-6. Not only was the Bite outscored, they were also outhit 21-10.
In the fourth game on Sunday, the Bite salvaged the series as they beat the Cavalry 8-2.  Bas Nooij finally started the game behind he dish and threw out a potential base stealer. He went 1 for 2 in four plate appearances and drew two walks. The other Dutchie on the squad of the Bite, Loek van Mil, had his sole appearance of the weekend. He shut the door for the Cavalry in the ninth inning as he gave up two hits but did not allow the team from Canberra to score.

Another team that won three out of four games was the Sydney BlueSox. After winning their first three games vs the Perth Heat, they failed to sweep their opponent on Sunday.
In the opening game of the series, the Blue Sox beat the Heat 6-4. German born Sven Schuller earned his first save for the BlueSox. Schuller pitched in the ninth and did not allow a hit as he struck out and walked one.
On Saturday there was a double header between the two teams, both won by Sydney by 2-1. In the first game, Perth had a 1-0 lead for 5.5 innings but in the bottom of the sixth Sydney scored two on a two out triple by Zach Sheperd. The second game was a close one again. Sydney scored a run in the first but in the top of the fifth inning, Perth tied the game on a ground out by Joey Wong with runners on the corners. Wong hit towards first baseman Joshua Dean and thus allowed Sam Kennely to score the go-ahead and game winning run.
Despite collecting six hits on Sunday, the BlueSox could only score one run. The heat on their turn collected only four hits but still managed to score five runs. Matt Kennelly was clutch with Luke Hughes on third as he singled home the opening run.
BlueSox pitcher Aaron Sookee struggled in the top of the sixth. He started with giving up a solo homerun to Luke Hughes, then gave up two walks, hit a batter with a pitch and threw a wild pitch. With the bases loaded, a sac fly by Ulrich Bojarski drove in the second run of the inning. A wild pitch by reliever Matthew Ray allowed the Heat to score another run before Alex Hall’s 6-3 ground out drove in the fourth run of the inning. The Blue Sox scored one run in the bottom of the sixth inning, to reach the final score of 5-1.

Melbourne was the only team this weekend that managed to sweep its opponent. The Aces beat the Brisbane Bandits in all four games.
On Friday the Bandits were no match for the Aces as the team from Melbourne won 8-0.
Beside the eight runs that Melbourne scored, this game was the story of Aces pitcher Mark Hamburger. Hamburger went the distance and allowed only two hits to the Bandits as he struck out twelve (!). With this outing, Hamburger lowered his ERA to a microscopic 0.95.
Justin Erasmus (former Dutch hoofdklasse) pitched four decent innings in the second game between the two teams as he gave up only one run in the first inning. But in the fifth inning Erasmus recorded only one out (a  sac bunt that put runners in scoring position) before he was replaced by Zac Treece. Treece didn’t start well as he gave up a two run double to Cody Jones and homers to Ronald Acuna and Roman Collins. Eventually the Bandits fell to the Aces 8-3.
On Sunday a double header was played because the second game of Saturday’s double header was rained out. In game one of the double header Brisbane took a commanding 5-0 lead as former Dutch hoofdklasse pitcher Dushan Ruzic gave up five runs on seven hits in the first four innings. Bandits pitcher Kramer Champlin kept the Aces on a leash in the first six innings as he gave up only one hit. But in the seventh inning he was hit hard as he gave up two singles and two doubles. Eventually he was replaced but nevertheless he was tabbed for five runs. His replacement Samuel Holland blew the save and took the loss as he gave up the game winning double to Mike Walker that drove in Roman Collins for what appeared to be the game winning run.
In the second double header of the day the Aces beat the Bandits 7-3 thanks to a five run second inning.

After three weeks the Melbourne Aces (8-4) have a one game lead over the Canberra Cavalry and the Sydney BlueSox (7-5). The Adelaide Bite (5-7) share fourth place with the Brisbane Bandits, trailing Melbourne by three games. The Perth Heat (4-8) is in sixth place, trailing the Aces by four games.

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