Aces, Heat lead South-West: North-East wide open
2 December 2018
Producing the offence after a tight first two games, Melbourne Aces (9-3) won its home series against Geelong-Korea (2-10), which is languishing at the bottom of its division behind Perth Heat (9-3), which again came home strongly to split its away series against Adelaide Bite (5-7) after Round Three of Australian Baseball League competition.
Over in Auckland, the Tuatara (4-7) once again demonstrated that they will be a force to be reckoned with by romping home in Game Four to earn a split with Canberra Cavalry (5-7), while Brisbane Bandits (7-4) triumphed in its home series over Sydney Blue Sox (6-6), but only after the visitors had given a mighty account of themselves in four brilliant baseball contests.
The expanded league has already produced stirring contests among outstanding team and individual performances that augur well for what has already been a hotly-contested ABL season.
Of great interest in Round Three were attendances across the league, given the addition of new teams and the engagement of private ownership clearly committed to steadily growing the fan base.
While Brisbane was the big winner this week – with attendances of well over 1200 on Friday night that swelled to 1374 for the Saturday doubleheader – of great concern must be the paltry support at West Beach, where Adelaide Bite had under 200 hundred on Thursday before further numbers still short of 400 for subsequent games. With the Bite now operating under the auspices of Adelaide Crows Football Club, such modest attendances must create cause for concern.
Over at Altona, the Aces and Geelong-Korea series was moderately attended on the Thursday night before building to more encouraging numbers (696 on Friday and 957 on Saturday), while crowds at McLeod Park in Auckland were over 250 for the first three games – clearly not setting the world on fire but not surprising as the fledgling Tuatara club seeks to gain a foothold in the New Zealand sporting market. However, an attendance of 670 to see the Tuatara win on Sunday – in far more pleasant weather - could provide a substantial fillip.
There have been plenty of comments regarding ABL media around the traps so far – including this round. Coverage undoubtedly continues to improve, although there is concern about commentary not being provided for some games. On the positive side, some of the images and camera work have been outstanding in complementing solid, well-researched and knowledgeable commentary. Special mention needs to be made of Shayne Bennett, the former Major Leaguer helping out with Adelaide Bite coverage. His contribution has been quite brilliant, again demonstrating that Australia does indeed have its own baseball personnel who – if given the opportunity – are capable of great work.
Of highlights, again there are many that will be identified and discussed by others during the week. From the perspective of overall competitiveness, Australian Baseball League officialdom would surely be delighted with the tightness of so many contests – especially the first two games of each series. Of the first eight games played across the league, three were decided by one run, one by two runs, three by three runs and one by four runs.
While there were a couple of blowouts and some high scoring later in some series, that is probably inevitable as pitching depth is tested by quality hitters who will still be swinging the bats as hard in the fourth game of any series as they were in the first. Melbourne and Perth both produced blistering offence in their final two games, while the Tuatara finished in imperious manner against a Canberra Cavalry outfit that will be expecting more from some its key hitters.
Home runs (thirty-eight, all up, over sixteen games) were again a factor in several contests, although there was plenty of outstanding pitching again generated by all clubs – none more so than another superb outing by Marcus Solbach for the Adelaide Bite, along with quality starts by Jin-Yong Yang (Geelong-Korea), Hayato Takagi (Aces), Kurt Heyer (Adelaide), Steven Kent (Canberra), Kyle Glogoski (Tuatara), Travis Blackley (Brisbane) and Nick Veale (Perth) among others.
Touted since its rebirth for its capacity to help assist in the development of young players, Australian Baseball League will probably always involve a balance of emerging tyros with proven, vastly more experienced players who are either moving towards the end of stellar careers or are striving to extend their life in professional baseball. There is often a refreshing and notable contrast in playing personnel between the “old” and the “new” – a contrast that could no more strikingly have been exhibited this round, by this one instance. While Jack Murphy – a former wonderful servant of Canberra Cavalry now with Sydney – may have lost little of his catching expertise and capacity to manage pitchers, he has thus far struggled to make any offensive contribution (one hit from 38 trips, with one RBI). Passed over by Sydney for its premier catching role, young Phillies prospect Mitch Edwards moved to Adelaide and has already been an absolute star – displaying great capacity behind the dish while averaging over .300 with the bat and swatting home runs from both sides of the plate.
One door closes. Another opens. Opportunities will continue to present themselves. That is among the many wonders of this unique league.
MELBOURNE ACES versus GEELONG-KOREA
Entering this series as underdog, Geelong-Korea started with a bang in GAME ONE, when outfielder Kwang-Mon Kwon took Aces starter Luke Westphal deep over the rightfield wall for a solo shot in the first. With Jin-Yong Yang on song for the visitors, Geelong-Korea threatened again in the third and fourth – to no avail – while the Aces struggled to create offensive opportunities until the bottom of four, when a mishandled flyball allowed Luke Hughes to score on a two-out single by Garrison Schwartz. With Westphal battling momentarily for control – conceding a HPB and a double - Geelong-Korea challenged in the top of five, plating a pair on a timely single by Hwi-Yeon Park. Relieving Westphal in the top of six, Byung-Hyun Kim retired the only three hitters he saw before Tyler Fallwell was summoned from the pen with the Aces still in deficit. Replacing Yang after a superb start (seven innings, five hits and eight punchouts for a solitary earned run), Jae-Gon Lee negotiated the eighth before landing a bit of strife in the bottom of nine – with a lead off HPB that drew Geon-Yep Heo from the pen in a tense situation to close out the game 3-1 in favour of Geelong-Korea. Although the Aces out-hit their opponent seven to four – with Hughes and Jake Romanski posting two knocks apiece – Geelong-Korea would be delighted with the outing of winning pitcher Yang, its errorless defence and the timely hitting delivered by Park (hit and walk for two RBIs) and Kwon. Attendance: 490 BOX SCORES
Aces starter Hayato Takagi breezed through the first innings of GAME TWO against an opponent progressively growing in confidence, although Jin-Woo Kim was under the pump for Geelong-Korea immediately, as Rudy Martin drew a walk, stole second, advanced on an errant throw and scored on a Darryl George grounder before DJ Burt doubled and crossed the plate on a Luke Hughes single in the equaliser. As Kim settled into his work with aplomb, hits to Han-Gyeol Joh and Seung-Hun Kim gave Geelong-Korea a scoring chance in the third and Kim was again among the action when he doubled in the top of six and advanced on a grounder. Walking Sung-Gu Han, Takagi was relieved by leftarmer Hiromasa Saito, who conceded the run on a ground ball before ending the innings. When Garrison Schwartz took Kim deep with a two-run shot, the Aces were out to a three-run lead and Geelong-Korea summoned Byeong-Geun Kim from the pen. A HPB and a Kwang-Min Kwon single gave Geelong-Korea a chance in the eighth – though Saito responded with a pair of clutch strikeouts, including the scalp of dangerous pinch-hitter Joon-Suk Choi. Escaping a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of eight, Geelong-Korea was unable to make inroads against Aces closer Scott Kuzminsky - who sealed the deal 4-1 in favour of the Aces. Attendance: 696 BOX SCORES
The Aces were off to a flier in GAME THREE, when Darryl George cracked a solo home run off Na-On Gil and Luke Hughes scored a second run with a double off the leftfield wall, although Geelong-Korea hit back as DH Yun-Hyeok went deep off Melbourne starter Blake Townsend. Jared Cruz doubled before Ryan Dale and George drew walks in the bottom of two – though all three were left stranded. Relieving Townsend in the third, Blake Cunningham was placed under pressure when a defensive error, a Hak-Jun Noh double, a Yong-Wook Lee RBI single and a Seung-Hun Kim grounder were backed by a Dae-Gun Kook RBI-single that collectively gleaned three for Geelong-Korea before Ryan Phillips relieved Cunningham to escape the innings with bases juiced. A HPB, wild pitch and Garrison Schwartz single scored another for the Aces, who surged to the lead when Cruz launched a three-run missile over the leftfield wall. An error and a Seung-Hun double brought the visitors back to within a run in an erratic top of four – when Hughes was ejected – although the Aces kicked away again off reliever Hwi Kwon when Schwartz belted a two-run homer and Jake Romanski followed up with a solo shot. Struggling to make decent contact for the Aces so far this season, Rudy Martin tugged a round-tripper over rightfield in the bottom of five as Geelong-Korea rang the pitching changes. Continuing to build their lead, including a second Cruz homer – this time a two-run jack - the Aces called upon Byung-Hyun Kim and then Luke Abels, who conceded a three-run blast to Kwang-Min Kwon as Geelong-Korea refused to capitulate. After southpaw Liam Evans was taken for late runs – a grand slam by Seung-Hun Kim – the Aces called on Hiromasa Saito to close out the contest 18-12, a crazy albeit entertaining game that produced thirty runs on twenty-eight hits that included nine home runs. Attendance: 957 BOX SCORES
With Melbourne aiming to win the series and Geelong-Korea looking for its first split, GAME FOUR began sedately enough until the Aces took Sang-Hak Lee for two in the bottom of the second – on a walk and a HPB with bags loaded. Hak-Jun Noh went deep off Aces starter Jack Enciondo in the third, although the home side hit back when Luke Hughes replied with a solo blast over leftfield – his fiftieth ABL round-tripper. Relieving Lee, Byeong-Geun Kim spun a scoreless fourth before becoming unstuck in the next, when Rudy Martin walked, Darryl George singled and DJ Burt walked, Garrison Schwartz hit a sacrifice flyball and Ryan Dale belted a three-run shot over leftfield. The Aces pressed on in the sixth, when Allan de San Miguel walked, Rudy Martin walked and DJ Burt cleared the bases with a three-run blast to place the contest well out of reach for Geelong-Korea, which conceded a further run in the seventh before Tyler Fallwell and Scot Kuzminsky slammed the gate on an 11-1 win for the Aces. Posting eight hits to five, Melbourne took full advantage of its scoring opportunities through the likes of Burt and Dale, while outfielder Hak-Jun Noh was a standout for the visitors with three knocks and an RBI. Attendance: 768 BOX SCORES
Melbourne won this series 3-1.
ADELAIDE BITE versus PERTH HEAT
With Markus Solbach constructing another outstanding start for Adelaide and Ryan Flores going hitless early days for the Heat, GAME ONE developed into a dead-set pitching duel that threatened to break open after Adelaide loaded the bases in the bottom of four – when Mikey Reynolds hit safely, Austin Gallagher walked and Michael Gettys singled into rightfield. Stefan Welch drew a walk to score the first run and Perth reliever Cristopher Sanchez averted a dangerous situation by inducing an timely infield double play - although the Bite battery of Solbach and smart switch-hitting catcher Mitch Edwards remained overpowering through the middle innings. After Gallagher doubled and Gettys laced a two-out RBI-triple in the bottom of the sixth the Bite held a two-zip break and Solbach was relieved by Ryo Takeuchi after another stunning outing over seven innings (three hits and no walks for fourteen strikeouts). After singles to Sam Kennelly and Jess Williams, the Bite went to submariner Tohru Kikue, who induced an infield double play to thwart another Heat challenge. Reynolds doubled off Heat reliever Daniel Schmidt in the bottom of eight, advanced on an error and Gallagher scored another Bite run on a sacrifice flyball for a 3-0 lead that was protected by flamethrower Ryan Chaffee – who closed out the game. While Solbach was the star of the evening, Adelaide was well-served in offence by Reynolds, Gettys and Welch as the home side more effectively converted its limited opportunities in an outstanding baseball contest. Attendance: 189 BOX SCORES
No doubt keen to atone for its first-up loss, Perth was accorded great service by starter Conor Lourey in GAME TWO, although winning pitcher Kurt Heyer was equally efficient for the Bite through three scoreless early innings. While the game opened up in the bottom of four – when Stefan Welch smacked a two-run homer and Jordan McArdle left the yard with a solo shot – Perth hit back, when Jess Williams singled and Tim Kennelly launched a two-run round-tripper to draw his side to within a run. Spinning a solid relief stint for the Heat, Joel Peguero kept tabs on the Bite hitters as both sides struggled for offensive production in an intense pitching and defensive contest. With George Perez and Ryan Chaffee outstanding in relief, Adelaide was able to hold off the Perth offence and record a 3-2 result – for its second successive win – against a Heat side not able to emulate its staggering offensive output of the first two rounds. Stefan Welch (two hits, including the home run, for two ribbies), catcher Mitch Edwards (three hits) and McArdle were best with the stick for Adelaide, while Tim Kennelly, Chris Betts and Williams contributed six of the seven hits for Perth. Attendance: 376 BOX SCORES
Two walks and a defensive error allowed Perth to plate a run in the top of the first of GAME THREE before a ragged bottom of the frame enabled the Bite to hit back with a couple that were peremptorily cancelled out as the Heat blasted four in the top of the second – including a bases-clearing Pete Kozma triple after Wilson Lee had replaced uncharacteristically errant Bite starter Greg Mosel. A Chris Betts single and an RBI Chris Clare double increased the Perth lead in the fifth as the Bite bullpen battled to contain a potent Heat offence that took to reliever Jared Wilson, who conceded an RBI-walk, a run-scoring single to Kozma, a Tristan Gray sacrifice flyball before cheap runs from walks drove Wilson from the hill as the visitors constructed a game-defining nine run frame that included a late three-run Clare single on his second plate appearance for the inning. Already having a terrific season for Adelaide after his surprise release by Sydney Blue Sox in favour of a catcher in the twilight of his career, Mitch Edwards launched a three-run bomb in the bottom of five to deliver his club’s scoreline some respectability. With relievers Dan Schmidt (Perth) and Tom Fitzgerald (Adelaide) doing a sterling job in containing their opponent through the later innings, Perth tacked on further runs in a late rally – including a homer by Jake Bowey off Bite development player Roger Huadancarairang – before Scott Mitchinson closed out the game 17-5 in favour of Perth Heat. The Heat enjoyed outstanding offensive contributions from Clare (four hits and four RBIs), Tim Kennelly, Kozma, Bowey and Carl Chester, while Edwards (three-run homer) and Michael Gettys were best for the Bite. Attendance: 373 BOX SCORES
Looking to square this series and retain a share of top placing in its division, Perth was held scoreless through three in GAME FOUR before unleashing a blistering attack against Bite starter Michael Gahan with four in the top of four – with two out – on a defensive error and RBI singles to Chris Clare and Jake Bowey before Jess Williams knocked in two on his single off reliever Tohru Kikue. Dominant for the Heat early days, Nick Veale was accorded further run support in the fifth, when Pete Kozma and Gray (RBI) both doubled before Chris Betts and Clare both stroked RBI-singles to force a further pitching change. A Bowey single, a passed ball, a Tim Kennelly single and a second Kozma double for the frame drove seven more across the plate as the game began to seriously unravel for the home club. As Veale continued to mow down the Bite hitters, Clare (double) and Bowey (two RBI-double) were instrumental as the scoreline blew out to thirteen zip and Lachlan Southee relieved Veale after a quality six innings (one hit and four strikeouts). Although Bite second-sacker Mitch Lightbody (double) scored on an Aaron Whitefield sacrifice flyball in the bottom of eight, this game was well gone as the last rites were delivered by Cameron Lamb for a thumping 13-1 in favour of Perth Heat. Veale carded the win for a club that played errorless defence and amassed thirteen hits so six – with the more prominent being Bowey (three hits and three RBIs), Clare (three and one), Kozma (two and one), Gray (two and one), Jess Williams (one and two) and Alex Hall (three walks). Attendance: 358 BOX SCORES
This series was split 2-2.
AUCKLAND TUATARA versus CANBERRA CAVALRY
The Tuatara were off to a perfect start early in GAME ONE, when Eric Jenkins drew a walk in the bottom of the first, advanced on a grounder, stole third and scored on an errant throw by Cavalry ace Steven Kent, who quickly settled into his work to become a decisive factor in this contest. Solid over three for Auckland, Jimmy Boyce ran into strife in the top of the fourth, when Craig Massey doubled and David Kandilas drew a walk – setting the table for timely hitting by Boss Moanaroa (RBI-single), Robbie Perkins (RBI-single), Cam Warner (RBI-double) and Kyle Perkins (sacrifice fly) as the visitors put up a four-spot for a lead that was partially shaved by a Kuo-Chun Wei single that plated a second for Auckland in the bottom of five. However, with Kent in dominant form over seven (five hits for nine punchouts and one earned run), the Cavalry forged further ahead with a run in the sixth and another in the eighth for a lead that was protected by Tomoya Makami and JR Bunda – who both spun a scoreless innings of work. While Boyce was solid over six (four earned runs), his side struggled for offensive conversion despite out-hitting the Cavalry eight to seven. Guiyuan Xu and Taylor Snyder both had two knocks for Tuatara, while Warner (two hits and an RBI), Zach Wilson (two hits), Moanaroa and the Perkins brothers struck decisive blows as the visitors emerged a 6-2 winner. Attendance: 250 BOX SCORES
An anticipated pitchers’ duel in GAME TWO - the first of a doubleheader – worked out precisely that way as Kyle Glogoski (Tuatara) and Frank Gailey (Cavalry) locked horns through a scoreless first two frames before Eric Jenkins homered in the bottom of three to open scoring for the home club. With hits at a premium in a tight contest, Robbie Perkins squared the ledger with a solo shot in the fifth before Zach Wilson took Tomohito Sakai deep in the top of six – prompting a rapid response from the Tuatara, as Daniel Lamb-Hunt doubled and advanced on a grounder before Zech Lemond was called from the Canberra pen with two out. Zach Clark singled up the middle to score the tying run in driving rain and the originally scheduled seven innings game headed into extra innings. Taking the ball for Canberra, Kyle Kinman whiffed danger man Jenkins but conceded singles to DH Andrew Marck and Max Brown – setting the table for former Orioles prospect Kris Richards, who blasted a ground rule double into rightfield to walk the game off 3-2 in favour of the Tuatara. Sakai was awarded the win for an Auckland outfit that again proved its competitiveness in a first ABL season – with Richards, Jenkins and Marck doing the offensive damage, while Wilson and Robbie Perkins were best of a Cavalry side that struggled big-time against Glogoski, Ryota Okumoto and Sakai. Attendance: 274 BOX SCORES
Canberra starter Shota Imanaga proved a tough proposition for the Tuatara offence in GAME THREE, going scoreless through the first five – for ten strikeouts – while the Cavalry gained a break with a solo Kyle Perkins homer in the top of three followed up with a lead-off blast by Zach Wilson off Atsuki Taneichi in the fourth. Aside from the two long balls, scoring proved difficult for both clubs as Tuatara reliever Scott Cone retired the Cavalry in order in the top of six and Yuki Koniyoshi replaced Imagana after a superb scoreless outing. Already having a great season, Eric Jenkins slapped an opposite-field double, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a defensive error to halve the Cavalry lead. With conditions deteriorating rapidly – and with the home side running out of chances – Yuki Harada replaced Cone for one spectacular outfield flyball before torrential rain forced a delay in proceedings. With no chance of a resumption, and with contest having reached legal status after five, the game was called 2-1 in favour of Canberra - Imanaga earning a win set up by long balls off the bats of Wilson and Kyle Perkins. Attendance: 274 BOX SCORES
Despatching a seasoned Josh Collmenter to the hill in GAME FOUR, Auckland was on the march against Cavalry starter Jason Lott in the bottom of the second, when an error, a HPB and hits by Kris Richards, Guiyuan Xu and Kuo-Chun Wei (two RBIs) gleaned three before a wild pitch by reliever Yuki Kuniyoshi allowed a fourth run across the plate. A walk and a string of singles in the third saw the Tuatara put up a three-spot – followed by two more in the fourth, on a Max Brown RBI-double and a costly passed ball off Canberra reliever Kyle Kinman. Zach Wilson doubled for Canberra in the top of six and scored on a Cam Warner single that spelled the end for winning pitcher Collmenter, who had been super-efficient over 5.1 for five hits, four strikeouts and the solitary earned run. With Chen Yu-Syuan and Ryota Okumoto doing a superb job in relief, the Tuatara closed out a comprehensive 9-1 win to force a series split. Of eleven hits amassed by Auckland, Brown, Richards and Xu all posted multiples, while Warner and Wilson were by far the best of a subdued Cavalry offence. Attendance: 670 BOX SCORES
This series was split 2-2.
BRISBANE BANDITS versus SYDNEY BLUE SOX
After the Blue Sox passed up a scoring opportunity in the first of GAME ONE, Andrew Campbell doubled and Donald Lutz swatted a two-run homer to deliver the Bandits an early lead off Sydney starter Alex Maestri – although the Sox were quick to respond, compliments of some ragged defence that gleaned a run in the top of the second off Brisbane starter Sam Holland. David Sutherland took Maestri deep in the bottom of three and Lutz – who hit safely - exploited a defensive error to stretch the lead to three. Replacing Holland in the top of five, Ryan Searle loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a HPB to allow Michael Campbell to convert – with two out – on a two-run single under pressure. While Maestri continued to restrict the Brisbane hitters through six, his own offence made a move in the top of eight, when Hao Wei Shen and Alex Howe hit safely off Ryan Bollinger, Dwayne Kemp stroked an RBI-single and Jacob Younis handed the Blue Sox a one-run lead with an awkward pop-up. After tossing two scoreless innings for the Sox, Ty’Relle Harris handed the ball to flamethrower Todd van Steensel, who conceded a single and two walks to load the bases with two out – a situation custom made for Sutherland, who tugged a laser into rightfield that was speared by Michael Campbell to seal a thrilling 5-4 win for Sydney. Harris carded the win for the Blue Sox after an evenly-matched offensive contest in which Kemp, Campbell and Shen led the way for Sydney – while Sutherland, Lutz, Wade Dutton and Daniel Nilsson were best for the Bandits. Attendance: 1285 BOX SCORES
Brisbane opened scoring in GAME TWO, when TJ Bennett cleared the right-centre wall off Luke Wilkins in the bottom of the first, while Travis Blackley gave his side a solid start despite conceding hits to Jacob Younis and Zac Shepherd (double). Leftfielder Daniel Nilsson tugged a long ball deep over rightfield for a second Bandits run – in the bottom of the second – and Blackley extricated himself from a bases-loaded jam with a strike-out and a grounder in the top of the fourth of a seven-innings contest. Nilsson singled in the bottom of five and Andrew Campbell made it super-tough for the Blue Sox by blasting a two-run shot over right-centre before Californian Cameron McVey relieved Blackley after five scoreless innings of quality work (four hits and five strikeouts). While lead-off Gift Ngoepe took McVey deep to shave the lead in the top of six, Brisbane remained well in control and closer Loek Van Mil retired the Blue Sox in order in the last for a 4-1 Bandits result. Blackley carded the win in an errorless defensive contest that saw both sides post just five hits – with the Bandits doing the greater amount of damage via three long balls. Attendance: 1374 BOX SCORES
In a GAME THREE contest dominated early by Tim Atherton (Brisbane) and Nick Fanti (Sydney), the Bandits opened scoring with a run in the bottom of the second – when Wade Dutton singled and Mitch Ellis drove an RBI-single deep into centrefield – although the Blue Sox hit back with a run in the top of four, compliments of a defensive error and a Michael Campbell RBI-single. Two walks in the equaliser set the table for Ryan Battaglia, who left the yard with a three-run shot for a lead that was shaved somewhat when Gift Ngoepe – for the second time in as many games – took Bandits reliever Cameron McVey deep before Ken Frosch pitched his side out of a jam when Sydney threatened again in the top of seven. Replacing Dean Aldridge for Sydney in the equaliser, Garrett Granitz was taken for a fifth Brisbane run on a TJ Bennett double before a Wade Dutton sacrifice fly and a Chi-Hung Tsu RBI-double stretched the Brisbane lead to five – with Matt Timms and Justin Erasmus both spending time on the hill in a contest that remained alive when Ngoepe crushed his second homer of the evening, and his third for the day, before Brisbane closed out an entertaining game 7-4 to take the lead in this series. Atherton was the winning pitcher for Brisbane, which enjoyed telling offensive contributions from Battaglia (three-run homer), Riley Unroe (two hits and a walk), Dutton and Tsu – while Ngoepe (two home runs and three ribbies) was the star of the show for Sydney. Attendance: 1374 BOX SCORES
Becoming of what had thus far been a highly competitive series, GAME FOUR proved another tight contest as starters Ko-Chien Lin (Brisbane) and Josh Guyer (Sydney) traded blows through the early innings – with the Bandits gaining a break when Wade Dutton homered to lead off the third. Athough Guyer was racking up the strikeouts, Brisbane slipped away with three in the fourth – by way of a TJ Bennett solo homer, a Riley Unroe RBI-double and a run-scoring Dutton single. Finally, in the fifth, Sydney opened its account on a Michael Campbell RBI-single before plating two more in the sixth on a Jacob Younis RBI-double off Cameron McVey and a throwing error that brought the Sox to within a run. Replacing Guyer after five, Tyler Herr conceded a walk to Chi-Hung Hsu and a single to Unroe before escaping the inning with a pair of fly balls. With his club fully employing its impressive bullpen, Matt Timms tossed a scoreless top of seven for the Bandits and Ty’Relle Harris did likewise before his side was reduced to its last three outs to stay in the contest - an assignment taken on board by Dwayne Kemp, who drove a first pitch fastball from Loek Van Mil deep over the leftfield wall to tie the scores at four apiece. If that was not enough to excite the Blue Sox faithful, Gift Ngoepe followed up with a solo blast as emotions were stirred on both sides and Todd Van Steensel was called from the Sydney pen to close out the game. Unroe drew a walk, Dutton laced a base hit into rightfield and Daniel Nilsson grounded into a double play that scored Unroe and forced a sensational game into extras under the international tie-breaker rule. Failing to capitalise against Bandits closer Justin Erasmus – thanks to some stellar defence – Sydney went scoreless through the top of ten before Andrew Campbell belted a double off the centrefield wall to seal the win 6-5 for Brisbane. Attendance: 729 BOX SCORES
Brisbane won this series 3-1.