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.
Game 1: BRS 6 - 2 MEL
Game 2: BRS 3 - 1 MEL
The first game of the series pitted the Aces’ Mark Hamburger against Justin Erasmus. Hamburger, who cruised along this season as the ABL’s best pitcher, wasn’t quite himself when the Aces needed him most. Despite going eight innings and striking out ten, Hamburger gave up six runs and four homers. Trent Oeltjen, David Rodriguez, Logan Wade, and Kevin Padlo all took him yard. Wade and Padlo came up clutch in the eighth for the Bandits, with back-to-back solo shots in what had been a two-run game.
The Melbourne offense did have a bit of life in it, particularly with Cody Jones’ 3-for-4 day. Justin Erasmus lasted just 21⁄3 innings, but the Brisbane bullpen combined to allow no runs and only two hits the rest of the game.
Game 2 was do-or-die for the Aces. Josh Tols made his first start of the season for Melbourne, which was also his fifth of all time, against Kramer Champlin. In the first, David Rodriguez singled, extending his hit streak that lasted the entirety of his ABL season, which started at the halfway point.
The first runs of the game were scored in the second on a Wade Dutton single that scored Thomas Milone. The Aces responded in the fourth with a Cody Jones home run, which would end up being their only run of the game.
Tols made it through five innings, striking out six and allowing only the one run. The Aces trotted out Jon Kennedy to replace him. After recording the first out, Kennedy walked Kevin Padlo and then let up a single to Thomas Milone that brought Padlo to third. Then, with David Sutherland at the plate, Allan de San Miguel gave up a past ball to score Padlo. Sutherland would eventually walk and score after Kennedy was replaced.
Champlin would go seven innings with four strikeouts and a lone hit (the home run to Jones). He was replaced by Ryan Rowland-Smith, who saw just one batter and gave up the hit. That allowed prompted the Bandits to bring out Ryan Searle for one of his patented multiple inning saves. Searle shut the door with four strike outs over the two innings. The Brisbane Bandits repeated as ABL champions in two games.
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.