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Round 3 Preview: Heat & Bandits Head Home
Champion Heat return from Asia Series
11/15/2012 11:23 AM ET
Brisbane seek to carry their Round One momentum back home.
Brisbane seek to carry their Round One momentum back home. (Joosep Martinson/SMP Images)
SYDNEY, 15 November - Round three of ABL brought to you by Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking marks home opening series for both the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat and the Brisbane Bandits. The Heat return from two difficult Asia Series losses in South Korea to face the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces in a rematch of last season's championship series. The Bandits head home after a victorious opening series in Sydney to take on the Canberra Cavalry driven by Rolfe Renault.

Both coming off losing series, the Sydney Blue Sox and Adelaide Bite proudly presented by SA Power Networks will take a break from league play this weekend. The Bite hope to benefit from an exhibition game against the Adelaide All-Stars on Friday evening, after a rough 1-5 start to their season.
Brisbane Bandits (2-1) vs. Canberra Calvary (1-2)
The Bandits and Cavalry will look to stay hot after weekend wins. Although Brisbane sits near the top of the standings and Canberra is nearly scraping the bottom, only one win separates the two clubs heading into round three.

Outfielder Josh Roberts, two-time Bandits MVP, started his season making a strong case for his third MVP title. Roberts had the first hit for Brisbane in his first at bat, which was his 100th hit in the new ABL. He hit the team's first and only home run of the season in Saturday's game to give Brisbane the extra-innings win over Sydney.

Friday's starter Justin Staatz will hope to bounce back after a shaky first outing against Sydney. Chris Smith will take the mound Saturday afternoon after earning Brisbane's first win and James Albury will start the final game of the series on Saturday.

After two strong starts for the Cavlary, Brian Grening will take the mound in game one in search of his first league win of the season. Chris Motta and Robert Dickmann are projected to start in Saturday's doubleheader games.

Round one's Player of the Week KC Hobson will look to continue to lead the Cavalry's offence, as he still leads the ABL with a .600 batting average.

Three Japanese players from the Hanshin Tigers have arrived in Canberra in time for round three. Left-handed pitcher Mashanori Fajihara, right-handed pitcher Hirokazu Shiranita and outfielder Koei Shibata will make their ABL debuts with the Cavalry. U.S. import Ryan Stovall will also make his first ABL appearance this series.
Perth Heat (3-0) vs. Melbourne Aces (2-1)
Perth and Melbourne will face off for the first time since the Heat's game three 13-inning victory over the Aces in the 2012 ConocoPhillips ABL Championship Series.

Virgil Vasquez, who was named the 2012 ABL Championship Series MVP after pitching a complete game win over the Aces, is slated to start in Perth's home opener. U.S. import Anthony Claggett will take the mound on Saturday while either Scott Mitchinson or Daniel Schmidt will start on Sunday.

Baltimore Oriole imports Michael Ohlman and Steven Bumbry arrived in time to join the Heat for the Asia Series and showed potential while playing in Busan, Korea. They will make their league debuts this weekend, with hopes to contribute to Perth's hot-hitting offence that leads the ABL with a team .374 batting average and 25 RBIs over three games.

Right-hander Kevin Reese will aim to stifle Perth's bats when he gets the game one start on Friday. Reese threw three scoreless innings against the Bite last weekend, keeping his ERA at 0.00 with three strikeouts.

Reese and the Aces' pitching staff should have strong run support throughout the season. The reigning home run king of the ABL, Brad Harman, started off his season in style by hitting two home runs in his first two at bats. Elliot Biddle leads the league with 6 RBIs after going 5-for-13 with a bottom of the ninth walk-off grand slam, which not only won the Aces opening game but also earned Biddle Round Two Player of the Week honours.
Round 2 Series Schedule (Home team listed first, times listed locally)
Brisbane Bandits vs. Canberra Cavalry

Friday 16 November - 7:00pm @ Redland Sheldon Field

Saturday 17 November - 4:00pm @ Redland Sheldon Field

Saturday 17 November - 7:00pm @ Redland Sheldon Field

Perth Heat vs. Melbourne Aces

Friday 16 November - 7:20pm @ Barbagallo Ballpark

Saturday 17 November -7:20pm @ Barbagallo Ballpark

Sunday 18 November - 4:05pm @ Barbagallo Ballpark

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