SYDNEY, 28 November - Boosted by big Round Four opening night performances, Brisbane Bandits catcher Cody Clark and Sydney Blue Sox pitcher Chris Oxspring have been named the Delta Air Lines Player and Pitcher of the Week respectively for the period of 22-25 November. This week’s accolade marks the third time in as many tries that Oxspring has reigned as the league’s best pitcher for a round while Clark earns a second consecutive weekly award for the Bandits who had pitcher Chris Smith tabbed the circuit’s best in Round Three while Oxspring’s Blue Sox were on their bye week.
Oxspring continued his jaw-dropping start to the 2012/13 season in the Australian Baseball League brought to you by ‘Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking’. The right-hander engaged Perth’s Virgil Vasquez in a Round Four-opening pitchers’ duel that lived up to its billing. Both former big leaguers completed the sixth scoreless with Oxspring doing Vasquez just a little better, pitching one out into the seventh.
Overall, Sydney’s veteran tossed 6.1 shutout innings against the two-time defending champions, striking out 10 Heat batters while allowing just four hits and not walking a single man. Sydney’s Friday night victory was their first at home over the Heat in three ABL seasons.
Now through three starts, Oxspring has allowed just one run on 14 hits through his first 22.2 innings pitched and has struck out an astonishing 31 batters without issuing a single walk.
"To be honest I've never had three weeks like I have to start off this season," the 35-year-old Oxspring told SydneyBlueSox.com.au. "It's good to be throwing the ball well and I couldn't be happier with the way I'm throwing."
Brisbane catcher Clark went a combined 8-for-15 with nine RBI in the Bandits’ split on the road at Adelaide. The Kansas City Royals import kicked off his Round Four in a big way, going 3-for-4 with four runs batted in during his side’s opener against the Bite on Thursday. Clark later notched his first two home runs of the season in the series and is currently riding a nine-game hitting streak that has vaulted his average to .389, the fourth-best mark in the league.
"I've had good years in the past where I've hit .300 and stuff like that, but I've never really been known as an offensive catcher," Clark said to BrisbaneBandits.com.au. "I've never been known for my hitting. It's good to be able to help the club out getting some hits and things like that. That's been really nice."
Both Clark’s Bandits and Oxspring’s Blue Sox earned Round Four splits with Adelaide and Perth respectively. In Round Five, these two award winners will clash head-to-head with Brisbane hosting Sydney at Albert Park in Lismore, a ballpark that will be hosting professional baseball for the first time. The first three games of this Round Five series will be in Lismore while Sunday’s series finale is set for Palm Meadows Baseball Facility on the Gold Coast.
For Sunday’s matchup, the Bandits will host their first Kids' Day at the Ballpark, where all children receive free admission to the series finale. For more information on other Kids Day at the Ballpark events, a partnership between the ABL and ConocoPhillips Australia, click here.