Post-season prospects still in the balance
While championship contenders may not be decided until the final week of Australian Baseball League regular season, Round Nine is likely to tell us plenty about which clubs will make it through to the three-team finals series.
Needing just one win from their last eight games, Melbourne Aces (24-8) are already a shoe-in to host the Championship Series as they enter their home stand against third-placed Adelaide Bite (16-16) – which took the honours in the cathedral city at their last meeting.
Narrowly holding second, Canberra Cavalry (17-15) makes the trek to Blacktown to meet lowly Sydney Blue Sox (12-19), which requires a series win – and preferably a sweep – to have any hope of sneaking into the playoffs, while fourth-placed Brisbane Bandits (14-17) face a must win home assignment against Perth Heat (12-20), which is in need of divine intervention for its season to continue after next weekend.
WEEK EIGHT AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE PREVIEW
19 January 2017
With two weeks to go in the Australian Baseball League season the Melbourne Aces have the chance to clinch the minor premiership, while the other five sides continue to fight for their playoff lives.
MELBOURNE ACES versus ADELAIDE BITE (Melbourne Ballpark)
Thursday 19 January, 7.00 AEDST
Friday 20 January, 7.00 AEDST
Saturday 21 January, 6.30 AEDST
Sunday 22 January, 1.00 AEDST WATCH LIVE
The Aces host the Adelaide Bite and know that a lone victory in the last two weeks of the season will see them clinch hosting rights to the ABLCS. The Bite are the only team to beat the Aces in a series this year and have power that can damage the impressive Melbourne Aces pitching staff.
Deeble will have his eye on the grand prize this weekend and the Aces will do enough to clinch home-field for the ABLCS, 2-2.
BRISBANE BANDITS versus PERTH HEAT (Holloway Field)
Thursday 19 January, 6.30 AET WATCH LIVE
Friday 20 January, 6.30 AET WATCH LIVE
Saturday 21 January, 6.30 AET WATCH LIVE
Sunday 22 January, 2.00 AET
The Perth Heat head to the sunshine state knowing that a lot needs to go right if they’re to keep their season alive for another week. The Heat currently sit four games behind the third-placed Adelaide Bite and will be looking to the Aces for help. Perth’s pitching is the only staff to not allow a shutout this season, a stat they would desperately like to change this weekend. The Bandits and Heat have the two of the three worst ERAs this season so it’s going to be a high scoring weekend.
Brisbane to capitalise on a very poor Heat season, 3-1.
SYDNEY BLUE SOX versus CANBERRA CAVALRY (Blacktown Sportspark)
Friday 20 January, 7.30 AEDST WATCH LIVE
Saturday 21 January, 4.00 AEDST
Saturday 21 January, 7.00 AEDST
Sunday 22 January, 4.00 AEDST
The Sydney Blue Sox are another team that will need results to go their way when they host the Canberra Cavalry this weekend. The Cavalry sit in second place in the standings and know that a victory against their biggest rival will go a long way to ensuring they see playoff action. Canberra are batting .297 as a team, a stunning achievement through 32 games. The Blue Sox haven’t shown a lot this season and a miraculous turnaround is unlikely this weekend.
Canberra to take another step towards the postseason, 3-1.
Image: Adelaide Bite Facebook