SYDNEY, 20 November - On the heels of big wins to cap off their respective Round Three series, Brisbane Bandits pitcher Chris Smith and Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces outfielder Carlo Testa have been named the winners of the ABL’s Delta Air Lines Pitcher and Player of the Week awards respectively for the period of 16-18 November.
Smith’s dominant performance on the mound in what ended up as Saturday’s finale of a rain-shortened two-game series between Brisbane and the visiting Canberra Cavalry enabled the Kentucky-born right-hander to edge Perth’s Virgil Vasquez for this round’s weekly accolade. After Brisbane dropped Friday night’s opener, Smith put the Bandits on his back to even the series. Across seven innings on Saturday, Smith whiffed 12 Cavalry batters and didn’t allow a run on three hits. Since that evening’s contest was scheduled for seven innings as the first game of a doubleheader, Smith’s seven frames accounted for a complete-game victory before storms washed away the nightcap.
Vasquez was dominant, as well, in his Round Three performance, pitching a complete-game, nine-inning victory over Melbourne on Friday in Perth. The Heat right-hander struck out nine and allowed just three hits but hit a batter and walked three to give Smith the edge.
On the position player side, Kansas City Royals import Testa piloted the Aces’ offence as Melbourne became the first team to down the reigning league champions Heat with a Sunday finale win. Melbourne’s outfielder went 5-for-11 over the course of three Round Three contests with a double, a home run, two walks, two runs scored, five runs batted in, and even a stolen base.
After dropping their first two contests at Barbagallo Ballpark in a rematch of last season’s ABL Championship Series, the Aces ended the Heat’s unbeaten start to the season with a 12-2 victory Sunday evening. Through the season’s first six games, Testa ranks 12th in the league in batting average at .318.
For the first time in 2012/13, all six ABL teams are in action this weekend in Round Four. Smith and the Bandits travel to Adelaide to take on the Bite while Testa’s Aces hit the road to the nation’s capital to take on the Cavalry. In Sydney, the Heat will clash with the Blue Sox.