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 swept their series with Melbourne (4-0)
Game 1: ADE 4 - 1 MEL (11)
Game 2: ADE 4 - 3 MEL
Game 3: ADE 6 - 2 MEL
Game 4: ADE 5 - 1 MEL
In their fight for the playoffs, the Bite took a massive road sweep from the top-of-the-ladder Aces. Max MacNabb led the Bite in a tough matchup of top-of-the-rotation starters in the first game. MacNabb went seven innings deep, allowing only one run, striking out five, and walking none. He wouldn’t earn the win, however, as the Bite bats came alive in extras to nab the victory.
The Bite got another quality start from surging right-hander Zach Cooper. Cooper, who has been starting since the beginning of January, has been dynamite since making the move to the rotation, allowing just one run in each of his starts. Against the Aces, Cooper went six innings giving up that one run, but striking out four and allowing five baserunners. Josh Altmann provided the punch in the Adelaide lineup in the final two games. Altmann went 4-for-9 with two home runs, five RBIs, and three runs scored in those games.
Despite the tough series, Melbourne did get a couple of good performances worth mentioning. Mark Hamburger did all he could for the Aces in Game 1. Hamburger went nine innings, striking out eight and allowing only one run on seven baserunners. The Aces would obviously drop that game in extras. Roman Collins added a three-hit day to his resume in Game 2 and went 6-for-16 on the series.
Brisbane swept their series with Perth (4-0)
Game 1: PER 2 - 3 BRS
Game 2: PER 6 - 8 BRS
Game 3: PER 7 - 8 BRS
Game 4: PER 8 - 9 BRS
The Perth Heat needed a big series in Queensland to keep their hopes alive, but got shut down by the offensively charged Bandits. In the first game, Bandits ace Kramer Champlin went six shutout innings with eight strikeouts, making certainly the most notable Bandits start of the series. Their offensive effort was led by Aaron Whitefield and Mitch Nilsson, who lead the league in batting average and home runs, respectively. Whitefield did his normal routing, closing out the series 6-for-17 with four runs scored, two walks, and four steals. Nilsson, on the other hand, provided a bit more punch. His two-home run effort in Game 3 drove in four of the eight Brisbane runs. He followed it up with a 2-for-3 performance with two walks and two runs scored.
The Heat generated a bit of offense themselves. Veteran Luke Hughes had himself a series. Hughes went 5-for-15 with two home runs, four walks, and four runs scored. However, Derek Peterson was the biggest offensive force this set. Peterson went 7-for-14 with two home runs, four walks, three RBIs, and seven runs scored.
Canberra and Sydney split their series (2-2)
Game 1: CAN 5 - 3 SYD
Game 2: CAN 1 - 5 SYD (7)
Game 3: CAN 2 - 1 SYD
Game 4: CAN 6 - 7 SYD
Another team needing a big series, the Blue Sox watched their playoff hopes fade away with a home split against their rivals from Canberra. Brian Grening and Tim Atherton combined to take down the Blue Sox in Game 1. Grening was strong through his six innings. He gave up only the three runs and struck out five. Tim Atherton, however, shut the door emphatically on the Blue Sox. In his 3 innings, Atherton did not allow a baserunner and struck out four.
But that duo couldn’t do it all. River Stevens provided the offensive force, going 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs. The Cavs got another top of the line pitching performance out of Louis Cohen in Game 3. Cohen went seven innings and allowed only four baserunners with a whopping 10 strikeouts.
Despite the losing effort, Trevor Foss turned in a solid outing for the Blue Sox in Game 1. Over seven innings against the Cavs, Foss struck out four and gave up only three runs on seven hits. In the shortened Game 2, Luke Wilkins turned in a gem. Wilkins went all seven, shutting out the Cavs with five strikeouts, a walk, and three hits.
Matchups for Next Week
Sydney (14-21) @ Adelaide (20-16)
Brisbane (18-17) @ Canberra (19-17)
Melbourne (24-12) @ Perth (12-24)
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.