Over the winter, we aim to meet your baseball fix here at Beyond the Box Score. To do so, we’ll be covering the Australian Baseball League for each week that the competition is running. We also would like to remind you that many of the games are streamed and recorded on the league’s YouTube channel.
Adelaide wins the series over Perth (3-1)
Game 1: PER 4 - 5 ADE
Game 2: PER 2 - 8 ADE
Game 3: PER 3 - 1 ADE (7)
Game 4: PER 5 - 9 ADE
The series led off with an Adelaide win that was almost foiled by a late Perth rally. The Adelaide offense this game was powered by their 2, 3, 4, and 5 hitters this against Perth starter Michael Lee. Cowan, Dening, Altmann, and Greene Jr. accounted for 8 of the 11 Adelaide hits, five extra base hits, a steal, four runs, and four RBIs. Marcus Greene Jr. also clubbed out the only Adelaide home run in the 4th inning. Steven Chambers got the win for Adelaide in this game. Chambers went 5.2 scoreless innings for the Bite, but he did allow seven batters to reach base. The bullpen did not fare quite as well. The bases were quickly loaded in the bottom of the 7th when Luke Hughes, facing Matthew Williams, shortened the lead to one with a grand slam. That turned out to be Perth’s only runs for the game, as they couldn’t close that final gap, and they fell to the Bite 5-4.
The second game of the series proved to be an impressive all-around effort by Adelaide. After allowing the first two earned runs of his entire season, Max MacNabb settled in with five straight scoreless innings after his rocky first, while the Adelaide bats carried their hot streak on to the second game. Mitch Dening led the way with a 3-4 game with a double and two RBIs, and former Braves prospect Karl Hoschke brought some heat at the bottom of the order with three hits of his own. All in all, the Bite offense overpowered the Perth pitching on a day where both teams smacked 25 hits.
The seven-inning second half of the double header started off with a bang and ended with a bit of craftsmanship on the mound. LeDarious Clark of the Texas Rangers organization led off the game with a home run, but that would prove to be Adelaide’s only run (though one of three hits by Clark on the day). Perth starter Tom Bailey was nearly unhittable. After the leadoff home run, he settled in and struck out eleven Bite hitters on his way to a complete game. Tigers signee Jack O’Loughlin took the mound for the Bite and went 5 innings. He allowed only one run over those five innings with three strikeouts, but allowed five hits and a walk. Problems ensued when he left the game and Hei Chun Lee took his place. Lee failed to hold the Heat in check and allowed Matt Kennelly’s two-RBI single in the 6th to decide the game.
A run of short outings from the starters forced the final game of the series into the hands of the bullpens. Taylor Hawkins and Daniel Schmidt went 3.1 and 4.2 innings respectively, each giving up more than four runs. Adelaide’s Hawkins gave up only four; however, he walked seven batters and failed to strike out even one. Luke Hughes was a major beneficiary of his, with four walks to his name and a run scored. Brandon Dale also clubbed a solo shot as Hawkins was leaving the game, which was the final Perth run. The Adelaide lineup was a bit more hitterish, peppering the Heat with 15 hits and getting on base three times via walk. The bottom of the order had a big day with A.C. Carter, Connar O’Gorman, and Karl Hoschke getting eight hits and three RBIs between themselves. Mitch Dening also swatted his second home run of the season, added another hit, and scored a run.
Melbourne wins the series over Canberra (3-1)
Game 1: MEL 5 - 1 CAN
Game 2: MEL 3 - 0 CAN (7)
The first game of a Melbourne series means another Mark Hamburger start. The former big leaguer tossed another gem, allowing only six base runners over 8 innings with 12 strikeouts. The only run Hamburger gave up came via a Boss Moanaroa solo shot. The Aces offense was a bit more effective. Ronald Acuna continues to impress on the basepaths, as the league leader in steals swiped one bag in this game and got on base twice. Allan de San Miguel showed his pop once again with the only Melbourne home run of the game, capping off a 2-3 night for him. Sixteen year old Jarryd Dale also had himself a day, going 2-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Saturday’s first game featured Keisuke Honda continuing to act as the second half of Melbourne’s pair of aces. Honda went the complete 7 innings allowing three hits, a walk, and striking out five batters. Honda currently sits fourth in ERA, third in WHIP, and fourth in strikeouts. Melbourne’s offense generated the only output of the day. Aforementioned awesome prospect Ronald Acuna had another multi-hit night and drove in a run. Mark Walker also hit a league-lead-tying fourth home run in the 6th inning off of Jackson Lowery. And after being held to three hits, well, you’d be correct to assume there isn’t much to talk about on the Canberra end.
The Melbourne offense came back out to play in the final game of the night. Dushan Ruzic went 5 strong innings, allowing only one run on three hits and two walks. He then passed it over to a bullpen that, aside from Matt Wilson’s short and rocky performance, shut down the Canberra offense entirely. Of the Cavalry’s four hits, Robbie Perkins was the only one to get past first, with a 6th inning double. The Melbourne offense, on the other hand, tagged Steve Cone and Tyler Herr. Acuna, Mark Walker, Ryan Dale, and Liam Bedford all had extra base hits, including two doubles and two triples. Acuna also notched another steal because of course he did, and the sixteen year old Jarryd Dale had another multi-RBI night, going 1-4 with two strikeouts as well.
The final game of the series was another pitching duel. This time the two bullpens were in the limelight, as both starters failed to get past 5 innings pitched. Guinard and Kennedy, who also struck out six, each gave up a run in their short outings and gave up a combined three hits. The Canberra bullpen, however, was absolutely stellar. Tim Atherton, Zech Lemond, and Steve Kent combined for 5 innings pitched allowing one hit, two walks and ten strikeouts. The only Melbourne hitters to have success on the day were Cody Jones and, you guessed it, Acuna, who went 1-2 with a walk and a steal. Also, Josh Tols finally got hit; the high-leverage arm gave up the game winning run in the top of the 9th after allowing four hits.
Brisbane and Sydney split the series (2-2)
Game 2: SYD 6 - 2 BRS (7)
Game 3: SYD 9 - 8 BRS
Game 4: SYD 1 - 5 BRS
The pitching dominated the first game in Blacktown, as Trevor Foss went up against Justin Erasmus. Foss went 5.1 innings, struck out six, and allowed what ended up being the deciding run. Erasmus was just too good for the Blue Sox as he went 6 innings and laid waste to nine Bandits at the plate. Rays prospect Kevin Padlo continues to impress for the Bandits, hitting the game winning sacrifice fly. However, the chunk of the Blue Sox’s production came from their 2, 3, and 4 hitters, as they tallied six of their eight hits, including an insurance run-generating single by TJ Bennett. Finally, the return of former big leaguer Donald Lutz did not go according to plan, as he went 0-4 with two strikeouts.
The first leg of the Saturday doubleheader knotted the series back up. Luke Wilkins, the traditional seven-inning-game starter for the Sox, was up against Rick Teasley. Wilkins, who currently sits third in the league in ERA, notched his second win and fourth start with more than 5.2 innings pitched. Wilkins went 6 innings, allowing two runs and striking out three, but Teasley did not fare quite as well. After holding the Blue Sox scoreless for 4 innings, he fell apart with a 5th inning burst from the Blue Sox offense. After runs scored by Zac Shepherd and Jacob Younis, Malik Collymore bolstered the lead with a three-run home run in that inning. The following inning Jacob Younis knocked home another run to plate the final run of the game and sealed the Sydney win.
The back end of the doubleheader can be best described as an exciting slugfest. The 23-year-old Daniel Nilsson, who struggled in his last start, got the call for Brisbane. Long time Blue Sox Craig Anderson faced off with him, hoping to add another good start to his resume this season. Neither starter had the game really go their way; both were out by the 5th inning and each allowed 5 earned runs. Brisbane got big days out of their middle of the order bats, with each of Logan Wade, Mitch Nilsson, and Kevin Padlo having a multi-hit night. Padlo added three RBIs to his season total, which put him only behind Malik Collymore for the league lead. But the Blue Sox offense had some big performers of their own; Collymore himself reached base three times, with two walks, and Stone Garrett and Tucker Neuhaus also had multi hit nights and brought some run production. However, the star of the night was outfielder Alex Howe. Howe, a Texas-Pan American alum, whacked two doubles, scored twice, drove in four RBIs, and hit the game winning solo shot in the bottom of the 9th inning. Suffice to say, it was a fun day in Blacktown for Blue Sox fans.
Howe absolutely drilling it to right, making all our dreams come true. #WalkOff #ABLBanditsSox pic.twitter.com/nj9lO4US7B— Sydney Blue Sox (@SydneyBlueSox) December 10, 2016
The final game marked the return of MLB and KBO veteran Chris Oxspring to his hometown Sydney Blue Sox. His counterpart was Kramer Champlin, a 26-year-old Blue Jay farmhand in High A. And Champlin definitely got the better of Oxspring. Oxspring was run from the game after 4.1 innings pitched, having allowed four earned runs with eight batters reaching base. Champlin, on the other hand, gave up only an unearned run on an RBI single by Malik Collymore, along with five strikeouts. The Bandits were carried by an amazing day on the basepaths from Logan Wade. Wade went 2-4 with two runs scored, an RBI, and four steals. On top of that that, Kevin Padlo had his second three-RBI game of the series. Finally, Ryan Searle continued to be utterly dominant at the end of the game, notching his league-leading fifth save and padding his 0.93 ERA over 2.1 innings.
Matchups for Next Week
Brisbane (7-9) @ Adelaide (8-8)
Perth (5-11) @ Canberra (8-8)
Sydney (9-7) @ Melbourne (11-5)
Anthony Rescan is a Contributing Writer at Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyRescan. Anthony also explained his time in the Australian Baseball League at Baseball Prospectus and on Effectively Wild.