Bite earns ABL Championship berth
31 January 2016
Adelaide Bite will meet Brisbane Bandits in the best of three Australian Baseball League Championship Series to be decided at Holloway Field next weekend.
Knocking Canberra Cavalry out of contention for its second ABL title, the Bite won two of the three Preliminary Final games – which were all played under difficult weather conditions – culminating in a decisive 9-2 thumping on the Cavalry’s home turf at Narrabundah.
Building serious momentum in the New Year, the Bite will head to Brisbane confident of a bold showing against the Bandits, who have been the standout club all season but will face a stern challenge against a most worthy opponent.
AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE PRELIMINARY FINAL SERIES
GAME THREE: ADELAIDE BITE 9 defeated CANBERRA CAVALRY 2
Greeting Canberra starter Scott Cone with a solo home run in the top of the first, Bite shortstop Travis Demeritte made a rare throwing error as the Cavalry landed runners at first and second with none out in the equaliser to set the table for Jason Leblebjiian to drive in a first run.
Adelaide starter Nick Talbot passed up Jack Murphy to load the bases – with one out – and the strategy worked as Bryan Pounds hit into a double play, although the Cavalry tacked on another run in the bottom of the second, when Boss Moanaroa doubled and scored on a fielder’s choice.
Among the action again, Demeritte drew a two-out walk in the third and advanced on a Kyle Petty single before Stefan Welch spanked a two-run double and Tom Brice singled for another as the weather again threatened to close in. When Mark Wik singled to score Brice it was a 5-2 ball game that spelled the end for Cone as Louis Cohen was summoned from the pen.
Having a productive post-season for Adelaide, John Schultz doubled in the fourth, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Kyle Petty single, while the Cavalry continued to struggle for run conversion against Talbot, who was relieved by Hei Chun Lee after 5.2 innings of work for the two runs – one of those unearned.
When Kyle Petty homered to lead off the seventh and Stefan Welch doubled it was curtains for Cohen - who was replaced by Phil Kish - and it was a bridge too far for a Cavalry outfit that was never in the contest after the Bite outburst in the third.
Converting their opportunities far more effectively than an opponent that matched the number of hits for the game, the Bite whacked a massive exclamation on the outcome when superstar Demeritte delivered another mighty blow in the top of nine – this time over the centrefield wall – as closer Kody Kerski sealed the deal.
GAME TWO: CANBERRA CAVALRY 3 defeated ADELAIDE BITE 2
After a Saturday night suspension on account of extreme weather, Preliminary Final Game Two resumed with a bang when Kyle Petty launched a two-run homer off Steven Kent to hand Adelaide an early lead.
With starter Steven Chambers in charge, the Bite was unable to capitalise on scoring opportunities in the third and fourth and Canberra made its move in the fifth, when a two-out HPB to David Harris was followed by run-scoring doubles by River Stevens and Jason Leblebijian that squared the ledger.
Relieving Chambers after five quality innings for four hits and the two earned runs, Takuro Ito was taken deep by Bryan Pounds as Canberra took the lead and called Colton Turner from the pen to replace Kent, who weathered the first innings assault to strike out eight in another terrific outing for the Cavalry.
Petty singled to lead off the eighth for the Bite, who again came up empty as Turner induced a couple of flyballs and a groundout to retire the heart of the Adelaide order before handing the ball to Michael Click.
Mark Wik singled, advanced on a Wilson Lee sacrifice bunt and Davis Page singled to put runners at the corners, but Click kept his nerve in a pressure-cooker situation to strike out John Schultz and Travis Demeritte and force the Preliminary Final series to a third game.
Earning the win, Kent was backed by an errorless defence and timely hitting by Stevens, Leblebijian and Pounds, while Schultz and Petty both posted three hits in an Adelaide total of eleven.
Demeritte on fire as Bite take series opener
29 January 2016
The Australian Baseball League Preliminary Final Series will move to Canberra on Saturday with Adelaide Bite holding a one-game break in the best of three series.
Shrugging off intermittent rain and slippery conditions, the Bite gained an early break in the series opener and hung on doggedly for a 6-4 win against an opponent that was unable to contain an Adelaide offence led by shortstop Travis Demeritte – who smacked two home runs and drove in four of his side’s runs.
Notwithstanding the unfavourable weather forecast, a massive local crowd is expected to head to Narrabundah in support of the home club, which will be desperate to stay in the hunt.
GAME ONE: ADELAIDE BITE 6 defeated CANBERRA CAVALRY 4
Looking sharp early, respective starters in Josh Tols (Adelaide) and Brian Grening (Canberra) breezed through the first before Brian Pounds doubled for the Cavalry after a rain delay and Ryan Miller drove a missile over the rightfield wall to open scoring.
The response was immediate, as Stefan Welch and Tom Brice smacked back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the second and Travis Demeritte made it a two-all ball game with the third double of the frame. Davis Page drew a walk and Brice flared a single into leftfield – with two out in the third – before Angus Roeger singled to deliver the lead for Adelaide, one that would not be relinquished.
With the greasy conditions making it increasingly tough for pitchers, Grening issued a walk to Mark Wik to load the bases and another to Demeritte – for a fourth run.
Drawing a pass in the fifth, Boss Moanaroa scooted to second on a wild pitch, advanced on an Aaron Sayers grounder and scored when David Harris singled into rightfield before Tols whiffed dangerman Jason Leblebijian to end the innings.
Relieving Tols after 5.1 innings of work for four hits and the three earned runs, Korean evergreen Hei Chun Lee retired the first two hitters he saw as the rain teemed down.
With Grening continuing after another rain delay, Demeritte despatched the first pitch he saw over the leftfield wall and the Bite were out to a two-run lead as Colton Turner was called from the pen. The break was halved, though, when Sayers drew a walk, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a River Stevens single to bring Loek van Mil to the hill for Adelaide.
Taking the pill from Turner in the bottom of eight, Aaron Thompson conceded a massive lead-off blast to the irrepressible Demeritte – his second round-tripper of the game and a blow that handed van Mil all the support he required to close out the game.
Out-hitting a potent Cavalry offence eleven to five, Adelaide owed much to winning pitcher Tols and the individual heroics of Demeritte (three hits – including two home runs – for four RBIs and a walk), old stager Brice (three hits and an RBI) and Roeger (two and one)., while Miller and Stevens were best with the bat for Canberra.
Game Two of this series will be played at Narrabundah (Canberra) on Saturday 30 January, starting at 7.00 AEST. Game Three (if required) will be played at Narrabundah on Sunday 31 January, starting at 12.00 AEST.
Image: Adelaide Now