Skip to main content
  • Adelaide Bite
  • Auckland Tuatara
  • Brisbane Bandits
  • Canberra Cavalry
  • Geelong-Korea
  • Melbourne Aces
  • Perth Heat
  • Sydney Blue Sox
Below is an advertisement.
Dening stars again, Sox take game two
Oxspring goes eight innings, picks up victory
11/12/2010 10:34 PM ET
Mitch Dening drove home two with a fifth-inning ground-rule double.
Mitch Dening drove home two with a fifth-inning ground-rule double. (Nathan Atkins/ABL)
SYDNEY - Blue Sox outfielder Mitch Dening's walk-up song as he strides to the plate is titled "All I Do is Win." Through two games of the Australian Baseball League's inaugural season, no selection could be more prophetic.

Dening gave the Blue Sox a lead they wouldn't relinquish with a two-run double as part of a three-run fifth, and behind another solid outing from Opening Day starter Chris Oxspring, Sydney knocked off Canberra 4-2 Friday night at Blacktown Olympic Park to improve to 2-0 on the young season.

"We're pretty excited about it," Blue Sox manager Glenn Williams said. "The boys have played really, really well the last two games. Lot of hype going into the first game [last Saturday], and then a week off in between makes it a little bit difficult, but they came out tonight and did great."

Just like that first meeting of the 2010/11 season between these two clubs, Dening played the role of hero in the first Friday evening contest of the year at Sydney's home park as well. Though the Sox took the game's first lead at 1-0 on the strength of the club's first home run, a third-inning solo shot from Trent D'Antonio, the Cavalry fought back with two runs of their own in the fourth. Canberra got its first run of the campaign on Nick Kimpton's first longball, also a solo shot, that knotted the score at one run apiece. Three batters later, following a Donald Lutz double, Tom Vincent drove home the go-ahead run for Canberra with an RBI single plating Lutz to make it 2-1.

Sydney's bats woke up to take the game over in the fifth. Three baserunners and one pitching change into the inning, with still no one out, Dening crushed a bases-loaded ground-rule double hopping over the right-center field wall to score David Kandilas and D'Antonio and wrestle the advantage back at 3-2. Even the first Blue Sox out of the inning was productive as Pat Maat's groundball to short scored Tim Auty for an insurance run to make it 4-2.

"I've had eight weeks off now, and any way to help the boys out is good," Dening said after the win. "Two big clutch hits, and I'm not nervous when I go out there. I'm feeling pretty confident. I'm hitting in the three hole, so I know I have to get the job done when it's my turn to shine."

Starter Chris Oxspring bested his Saturday performance, in which he spun six shutout innings, by pitching eight full frames of two-run ball on Friday night. The right-hander continued to showcase brilliant command with seven strikeouts and no walks in his second start of the year. Oxspring (1-0) surrendered two runs on four hits, but unlike his first time out, his offense picked him up on this night.

"Luckily they pulled me through," Oxspring said. "I wasn't quite as good tonight, gave up a couple of runs which I was a bit disappointed in, but the guys swung the bats well and backed me up and played great defense behind me again. Can't play without them."

Cavalry starter Jun Hyeok Heo (0-2), who suffered the defeat in Saturday's opener in a relief role, took the loss again, allowing six hits and three runs while not making it out of the fifth inning for Canberra. For the second time in as many games, Dae-Sung Koo (S, 2) earned the save, this time by retiring the side in order in the ninth.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.