Gailey stifles Aces: Cavalry march on
23 January 2019
Comprehensively whitewashed by Canberra in a sudden-death Australian Baseball League Wildcard game at Altona this evening, Melbourne Aces have been eliminated from Claxton Shield contention while the Cavalry will fly to Brisbane on Thursday to prepare for a best-of-three Semi-Final series against Brisbane Bandits.
While Canberra executed its run-scoring in methodical fashion on its way to a 5-0 win over a strangely lack-lustre Aces, the star of the show was funky left-armer Frank Gailey, who whiffed five and conceded just two hits over seven innings of quality work before handing the pill to Zech Lemond to close out the historic game.
This was an efficient, selfless and beautifully managed win by the Canberra Cavalry, which was sparing in its utilisation of pitching resources and will pose a legitimate threat in its Semi-Final series at Holloway Field over the weekend.
WILDCARD GAME: CANBERRA CAVALRY 5 defeated MELBOURNE ACES 0
Played in pleasant conditions at Melbourne Ballpark, this sudden-death contest started sedately enough with Jon Kennedy (Aces) and Frank Gailey (Cavalry) posting zeroes through the first innings before the home club loaded the bases with two out in the second and came up empty.
Kyle Perkins doubled to lead off the third for Canberra, advanced on a bunt and scored when Michael Fransoso tugged a blistering double into the rightfield corner, followed by a second run on a Craig Massey hit into rightfield that eluded a desperate lunge by Aces rightfielder Garrison Schwartz.
Struggling to convert their scoring opportunities, the Aces called upon Red Sox prospect Dan McGrath, who escaped a difficult situation in the top of five as the game continued to slip away from the Aces – whose offence was well-contained by the crafty Gailey and some slick Cavalry defence.
Threatening again in the top of six, Canberra landed runners at the corners with none out and scored a third run on an errant throw after the Aces made a superb play at the plate – spelling the end for a valiant McGrath, who handed the ball to Josh Tols to keep his side in the contest.
Drawing a pass to lead off the home sixth, DJ Burt advanced on a Luke Hughes walk – with none out – before Gailey whiffed Mike Walker, induced a flyball and struck out Schwartz in a deflating and potentially game-defining frame against the heart of the Melbourne order.
With his side landing two runners on base in the top of seven, Massey laid down a two-strike sacrifice bunt for the Cavalry – who plated a fourth when Zach Wilson flied out to centrefield and a match-breaking fifth run in the eighth as the Aces defence faltered under sustained pressure.
Called upon in relief for Canberra, Zech Lemond tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth of a contest that saw Canberra out-hit the Aces ten to two, with Massey (two hits, two walks and an RBI), Fransoso and Warner offering timely contributions against an honest enough Aces pitching staff that received minimal offensive support in a disappointing season finale.
With Gailey spinning a remarkable game, this was an efficient, selfless and beautifully managed win by the Canberra Cavalry, which was sparing in its utilisation of pitching resources and will pose a legitimate threat in its Semi-Final series at Holloway Field over the weekend. BOX SCORES
Australian Baseball League Semi-Finals (both best of three) are scheduled from 25-27 January, with Brisbane Bandits playing host to Canberra Cavalry (winner of the Wild Card Game) and Perth Heat at home to Sydney Blue Sox. The two winner will advance to the Championship Series.
Check the ABL website and social media for game times and broadcast schedules.