Bandits crush Cavs: Sydney blanks Perth

Kingsley Collins

26 January 2019

 

Brisbane has shortened even further as Australian Baseball League championship favourite after overpowering Canberra Cavalry 18-1 in the first of its Semi-Final series at Holloway Field tonight.

 

With starter Ryan Bollinger spinning an outstanding eight innings of work, the Bandits offence belted seven long balls in a dominant all-round performance that further underscored the improved form of the reigning Claxton Shield champion over the past several weeks.

 

While the Cavalry will be committed in striving to force the series to three games, Bandits supporters will already be looking with anticipation towards a home championship series against either Perth Heat or Sydney Blue Sox.  

 

The latter of those options appears increasingly likely, as Sydney rode a polished seven-innings outing by Alex Maestri to post a 7-0 result over Perth Heat – the sixth win at this ballpark on the trot for the Blue Sox, who hit one through to nine in applying sustained pressure to the home club.

 

After a number of less than inspiring seasons for its supporters, Sydney is within one win of nailing its first appearance in a Championship Series of rhe resurrected Australian Baseball League.

 

SEMI-FINAL ONE, GAME ONE:   BRISBANE BANDITS 18 defeated CANBERRA CAVALRY 1

 

Taking the start for Canberra, Kyle Kinman struggled for location ìn a scoreless first, while Ryan Bollinger worked around a soft single in the second to give Brisbane a solid start in a contest that threatened to unravel early, when David Sutherland belted a two-run homer in the third and Danny De La Calle drove the next pitch deep over the rightfield wall for a three-zip Bandits lead.

 

Relieving the left-armed Kinman, Steve Chambers conceded a third round-tripper – this time a solo shot by Wade Dutton – and the Bandits edged further ahead on a TJ Bennett double and an Andrew Campbell RBI-single before Logan Wade launched a booming two-run moonshot over centre for a seven-run Brisbane break after four.

 

With his club facing a seemingly insurmountable task, Boss Moanaroa blotted the Bollinger copybook ever so slightly with a solo home run in the fifth, although Dutton replied with his second long ball of the evening and Donald Lutz followed suit with a solo shot in the bottom of seven – as Chambers stuck manfully to what was clearly a lost Canberra cause before handing the ball to Grant Piccoli.

 

Reception for the southpaw was unceremonious, with Riley Unroe launching a three-run missile over leftfield in a five-run frame as the Bandits continued to rack up the offensive numbers and development player Liam Sherer was summoned from the pen for some invaluable onfield experience -  with the game well gone – before Lee Mills made the last Brisbane out and Justin Erasmus slammed the door on an 18-1 drubbing.

 

While winning pitcher Bollinger was quite superb (four hits, five strikeouts and no walks for one earned run over eight), the Bandits offence was unstoppable, amassing twenty hits – including stellar performances by Unroe (five hits and a walk for three RBIs), Dutton (three hits- including two homers, with a walk) and Wade (two hits and four ribbies), along with serious contributions by six others.  BOX SCORES

 

With Steve Kent (Canberra) and Tim Atherton (Brisbane) slated to start, Game Two of this series is scheduled for Holloway Field on Saturday night, followed by a third game if required on Sunday. Check the ABL for start times and broadcast arrangements.

 

SEMI-FINAL TWO, GAME ONE:   SYDNEY BLUE SOX 7 defeated PERTH HEAT 0

 

After an error, a walk and a Dwayne Kemp single enabled Sydney to load the bases off John Anderson in the first, a grounder ended the innings and Sydney starter Alex Maestri was subsequently placed under the pump when he issued back-to-back walks in the bottom of the second – but similarly escaped the jam.

 

Singles to Gift Ngoepe and Jack Murphy created another opportunity for Sydney in the top of four, with Michael Campbell cashing in on an RBI-double and Max Brennen singling for two more – to hand the Sox a three-zip lead behind the poised Maestri.

 

A solo home run by Kemp in the fifth and a lead-off double in the next spelled the end for Anderson, while Maestri continued to dominate the Heat hitters through seven, with the visitors stretching the lead in a two-run eighth – including a Zac Shepherd bomb off Robert Garcia – as Ty’Relle Harris and Garrett Granitz both spun a scoreless innings of work against a Perth offence that could muster just five hits in the comprehensive Blue Sox win.

 

With nine players contributing to its thirteen hits, Sydney – which played errorless defence in front of a massive crowd approaching 2000 - had outstanding contributors in Kemp (three hits – including the homer – for two RBIs), Campbell (three hits and an RBI), Brennen and Shepherd.

BOX SCORES

 

Game Two of this series is scheduled for Holloway Field on Saturday night, followed by a third game if required on Sunday. Check the ABL for start times and broadcast arrangements.