Intense interest in final round
It could hardly have been scripted better, with two of the three post-season berths still up for grabs as Australian Baseball League enters its final round of regular season games starting on Australia Day.
While the primary focus will be on Narrabundah Ballpark, where third-placed Canberra Cavalry (19-17) plays host to a resurgent and dangerous Brisbane Bandits (18-17), close attention will be paid to happenings at West Beach – where second-placed Adelaide Bite (20-16) takes on Sydney Blue Sox (14-21), who are out of playoff contention.
Out west, Melbourne Aces (24-12) need just one win to secure the Championship Series for Altona, although lowly-placed Perth Heat (12-24) may still make it tough going for the league leader.
A number of potential scenarios have been mooted since completion of Round Nine, generated principally from the series sweeps achieved by Adelaide Bite and Brisbane Bandits. While a couple of the mathematical possibilities are just that – and are realistically not likely – the most decisive contests will certainly be in Canberra, where both the Cavalry and the Bandits will determine their own immediate destiny regardless of what happens elsewhere.
While a sweep or at least a series win would assure either club of a top-three finish, a split result may not be enough for Brisbane – even if it were to win an earlier rainout against Sydney that could potentially be scheduled for early next week. Melbourne will surely be able to pick up the win that it needs over in Perth and Adelaide – at home – must fancy its chances of holding second when it plays host to the Blue Sox.
Another fascinating round that will certainly draw the biggest crowds of the season thus far.
WEEK TEN AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE PREVIEW
26 January 2017
With just one round of the Australian Baseball League regular season remaining the Melbourne Aces will again try to seal home-field advantage for the ABLCS.
Authors Note: Should the outcomes below hold, the Aces will host the ABLCS and Adelaide would finish second, hosting the Bandits (if they beat Sydney in the makeup game) or Canberra (if Sydney win the makeup game).
For a complete playoff picture, CLICK HERE.
ADELAIDE BITE versus SYDNEY BLUE SOX (West Beach)
Thursday 26 January, 7.00 ACT LISTEN
Saturday 28 January, 7.00 ACT LISTEN
Sunday 29 January, 12.00 ACT LISTEN
The most important thing for the Bite to do this weekend is to not look at what is going on around them. Comfortably in front of them are the Aces, while the Cavalry and Bandits are breathing down their neck. Steve Mintz and his coaching staff have preached “More than before” for the entire season and this is the weekend for the Bite to show they’ve lived up to that billing. Jack O’Loughlin getting the ball for the series opener is a huge show of faith in the youngster. Sadly for the Blue Sox, this season will be remembered for being a season of missed opportunities on and off the field and there is little they can do to stop the Bite.
CANBERRA CAVALRY versus BRISBANE BANDITS (Narrabundah)
Thursday 26 January, 7.00 AEDST LISTEN
Saturday 28 January, 7.00 AEDST LISTEN
Sunday 29 January, 1.00 AEDST LISTEN
Four games or five games for the Bandits this weekend? That’s the million dollar question. The Bite will be hoping for a one sided series as it increases their playoffs hopes but the Bandits need a combination of three wins (including the makeup game) to secure playoff baseball. Brisbane come into the series having won five straight. Canberra have the ability to hit top to bottom.
All square, 2-2.
PERTH HEAT versus MELBOURNE ACES (Barbagello)
Friday 27 January 7.00 AWST LISTEN
Saturday 28 January, 4.00 AWST LISTEN
Saturday 28 January, 7.00 AWST LISTEN
The Aces travel to Perth, a venue where they have historically struggled, needing just one win to secure the rights to the ABLCS. The Heat will be looking to finish their worst year in the reformed ABL on a high by playing spoiler and giving the Adelaide Bite the opportunity to bring the ABLCS to West Beach.
With a Hamburger-Vasquez 1-2 punch this weekend the Aces are going to expose the Heat early in the series to set up the victory, 3-1.