Bite, Cavalry poised for ripper series
Starting at Norwood Oval on Friday night, the Australian Baseball League Preliminary Final will move to Canberra on Saturday to decide a best of three shootout that will determine which club meets Brisbane Bandits in the Championship Series.
While Adelaide Bite and Canberra Cavalry shared the spoils in regular season games, the Bite enters the Preliminary Final with real momentum as it makes another bid for an elusive Claxton Shield since re-birth of the new league. For its part, the Cavalry have been there before and – like the Bite for Game One - will enjoy the support of a vocal local crowd when the series moves to Narrabundah.
With little appearing to separate the clubs – on season form – we can expect a hard-fought, thrilling series that is likely to stretch into Sunday.
AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE PRELIMINARY FINAL PREVIEW
28 January 2016
CANBERRA CAVALRY versus ADELAIDE BITE
GAME ONE (Norwood Oval): Friday 29 January, 7.00 PM (ACDT)
GAME TWO (Narrabundah): Saturday 30 January, 6.30 PM (AEST)
GAME THREE (Narrabundah): Sunday 31 January, 11.30 AM (AEST)
Last time they met – Adelaide hosted Canberra in the final weekend of the season and exploded offensively to clinch their second consecutive playoff berth.
Regular season by the numbers – Canberra finished the regular season in second place with a record of 31-25 and Adelaide finished third with a record of 30-26. In their twelve meetings this year the two teams couldn’t be split, each winning six games. Both sides won a series 3-1 and a series was split. If this is anything to go by it is going to be a tense weekend of action.
Playoff history – Canberra are making their third playoff appearance and will be looking to make their third trip to the ABLCS. The Cavalry have had mixed results in the ABLCS, beating Perth at home in the 2012-13 season before losing against the Heat the next season. Adelaide are making their fourth playoff appearance, having won through to the ABLCS in 2010-11 and 2014, losing to Perth in both deciders.
Pay attention to – The momentum that is carried over from last weekend. In the four clashes in the final weekend of the regular season Adelaide and Canberra scored 50 runs between them, highlighted by 13-7 and 18-4 victories to the Bite. If the Bite can keep their machine rolling and win at what will be a packed Norwood Oval on Friday night, they’ll be in the box seat, needing to win one of two at Narrabundah. If Canberra can find their starting pitching that saw them dominate the first month of the season they are going to be a tough side to beat.
Prediction – This series could be one of the closest in post-season history. Both sides have the credentials to win the championship, however it is going to come down to one aspect of the game – getting the small things right. One of the most crucial elements of baseball is the ability to hit one through nine in the lineup. Adelaide have the slight edge and that’s going to be enough to get them across the line and through to the ABLCS.