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Facing the Cavalry - Series Preview
Adelaide continues the push for the playoffs
12/29/2010 12:25 AM ET
Jeremy Cresswell and the Bite swing for the playoffs against Canberra
Jeremy Cresswell and the Bite swing for the playoffs against Canberra (SIA Sports images)
ADELAIDE - Fresh off of a much deserved break for Christmas, the Adelaide ETSA Bite return to Coopers Stadium Thursday to take on the visiting Canberra Cavalry. While Canberra is right behind the Bite in the ABL Standings, they still remain three games back going into the five game series in South Australia.

Parity in the loss column has played a part in Adelaide staying within striking distance of league lead, since they are only a game and a half behind first-place Perth. The wet weather this season has caused several games to be postponed and cancelled - resulting in the top four teams all having ten losses on the year. This should make for an exciting second-half of important baseball games.

Speaking of wet weather, Game One on Thursday is a make-up of one of the postponed games in Canberra.

This isn't the first time these two teams will go at it. Earlier, the Bite traveled to wet Canberra. The series not only lost a game to weather, but the Bite's offense also seemed to be stuck in the mud. The Calvary took three games at their home grounds. Adelaide is hoping that home-field advantage will work their way as well.

The Calvary haven't been known for their power numbers this year - connecting on only six homeruns this season. Outfielders Donlad Lutz and Nick Kimpton each have two of those bombs. Lutz also flies around the bases when a ball is hit to the gaps. He leads the league in triples with three.

While the Calvary don't count on the round-trippers to drive up the run totals, they have been riding the bat of Catcher Michael Collins this year. Collins, who sports a .389 batting average, has hit safely in his last seven contests. During that hit-streak, Collins has collected 12 hits and five runs. Slowing the bat of Collins will be a priority for the Bite pitching staff.

Canberra Starting Pitcher Jun Hyeok Heo (2 - 4) has been a workhorse on the mound - amassing 31.2 innings of duty. However, he has also been hit around a bit on his way to an ERA just below 4 (3.98). He has also given up nine homeruns this year to opposing batters. He does have an idea how to pitch to Adelaide though. Heo earned the victory in his only start against Adelaide on December 4th.

There is some solid depth along the starting rotation for the Cavalry. They have had eight different pitchers take the mound to start a game. The staff as a whole has given up the most runs and walks in the league.

Adelaide is well rested after battling Sydney to a series tie. As a team they have hit 21 homeruns and have knocked in 100 runs. Jamie McOwen has been a sturdy force for the Bite and had a great series at the plate against Sydney. Besides scoring the winning run in Game One, McOwen connected on two homeruns, two doubles, and knocked in three RBIs. Outfielder Tom Brice is hitting .286 on the year, including at least a hit or a run scored in the past six games he has played.

If Adelaide wants to make a solid run, they will need the same consistent pitching from their staff. On the mound against Sydney last series, young hurler Brandon Maurer (2-1) had his best outing to date, going six innings while notching five strikeouts during two-run ball. He also saw his name in the winning-pitcher column for the second time this season. Former minor-leaguer Mark Brackman (1-0) also threw a great game during the Bite's first win of the series. He when six and two-thirds innings while sitting down six BlueSox on strikeouts.

This should be an exciting series with some great entertainment all series. Help the Bite ring in the New Year at Coopers Stadium.


December 29th - 7:00pm - "Club Ball Homerun Derby at 6:00pm"
December 30th - 7:00pm - "Goodwill Series All-Star Games"
December 31st - 5:00pm - "New Years Eve Party"- Post Party at the ALMA
January 1st - 5:00pm - "Resolution Revolution"
January 2nd - 1:00pm - "Picnic at the Park"

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