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Aces Defeat Cavalry In Home Double Header
11/29/2010 9:10 AM ET
 
'The Show' has finally begun!

Drought breaking rains did their best to put a dampener on the Aces' homecoming but on Sunday 28 November 2010, Melbourne's new national baseball club finally played two games of its first home series in the 2010/2011 ABL season. Firstly, thanks must go to the General Manager, Windsor Knox and his group of volunteers who desperately tried to get games started on both Friday and Saturday but mother nature proved a worthy opponent.

One thing that shone out on Friday night was the strong support baseball has in Melbourne and with the summer months ahead of us, supporters donning their Aces merchandise will fill the arena making the showgrounds a fortress for visiting teams.

What to Expect

For the fans, there was an MLB feel to the occasion with corn dogs and dagwood dogs available to consume and the singing of 'take me out to the ball game'. This, together with competitions during inning changeovers that included (amongst others) the 'Ace Race' for the adults, pitching competitions for the children and t-shirt launching into the crowd made for good family fun.

And for those familiar with Fenway Park in Boston; the Aces have their own version of the big green monster: the big blue monster in right field.

During the break in innings, one of the more humerous moments came when a member of the Australian woman's softball team conducted her own audition for Australian Idol whilst singing 'one, two, three strikes you're out, at the old ball game'. Good luck in your singing career should you choose to pursue one; you certainly entertained the fans. Before getting on to the game wraps, final comment must be made in relation to the bat boy for the Melbourne Aces. Despite the bat appearing to be bigger than himself, he performed his task admirably and without complaint despite the wet track and the size of his baseball helmet. Keep up the great work young fella.

Game One

In game one of the doubleheader, hometown boy Greg Wiltshire took the ball for his second start of the season; both against the Canberra Cavalry.

Following a fine 5.2IP display eight days earlier, Wiltshire pitched an excellent complete game this time around. Despite starting a little slowly and allowing a couple of base walks, he soon found his location; achieving six strikeouts over seven innings.

Wiltshire was well supported by the batting lineup that discovered their run scoring mojo. In the bottom of the 1st inning with one on, second baseman Scott Wearne hit his first home run of the season to drive in two runs.

The 2-0 score line remained intact until the top of the 4th inning when Canberra's centre fielder Nick Kimpton hit a solo home run and first baseman Sung-Woo Jang hit an RBI double tying up the game at 2-2.

For the home supporters, the bottom of the 4th inning provided the match winning runs with three home runs scoring four runs: first baseman Josh Davies hit his second of the season, captain and catcher Grant Karlsen struck his first for the year driving in two runs and finally, centre fielder Itaru Hashimoto hit a solo home run; his first of the season.

With the score now 6-2 in the Aces favour, Wiltshire closed out the final three innings without addition to the score line; resulting in Melbourne achieving their first home win of the season.

Game Two

Game two could not have seen a worse start for the visitors; a start from which they never recovered. Starting pitcher, Steven Kent could not fight his way out of the bottom of the 1st inning; eventually conceding six runs before being pulled from the game after only one out. This inning provided two main highlights: Wearne hitting his second home run of the day; whilst left fielder, Takahiro Ijyuin had the fans pleading for more after hitting his first home run of the season in style; a grand slam off the unfortunate Kent.

The Aces were able to score four more runs through RBIs from Wearne, right fielder Andrew Russell, Davies and Hashimoto; enabling them to reach double figures for the first time this year.

Despite the Cavalry getting two runs on the board at the top of the 2nd inning through RBIs from their catcher, Jang and left fielder Seung-Hwa Lee, they were unable to generate any further runs through the remaining innings.

The good news for Canberra from a pitching perspective was that their second pitcher in Myung-Ho Jin pitched solidly for 4.2 innings; allowing only one hit and striking out six Melbourne batters.

Aces starter Norihito Kaneto pitched solidly through five innings to get the win and was supported by two innings of no hits from relief pitchers: Jumpei Ono and Adam Bright.

Summary

After an unremarkable start to the new season, the Melbourne Aces finally got to showcase their talents in front of their (weather hardened) home fans. And the batters found their run scoring power much to the delight of the crowd that braved the cold (but dry) Sunday afternoon and evening.

Even though the first two games were washed out, the ball club will be happy with the interest and support shown over the three days. A bright future appears certain.

The Aces have an excellent venue at which to come and enjoy your baseball so do yourself a favour; either purchase a membership or get along to as many games as possible to see your team win the championship in their inaugural ABL season.

Our next home series is against the Sydney Blue Sox on 10, 11 and 12 December. Let's make it six wins from six home games against the team from New South Wales.

For our mascot, Maverick; happy birthday once again!

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