SYDNEY, 6 November - Round Six of the Australian Baseball League brought to you by Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking begins this Thursday as the Canberra Cavalry driven by Rolfe Renault travel to face the Sydney Blue Sox. Each team will compete in a four-game series. The Adelaide Bite Proudly Presented by SA Power Networks will host the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces and the Brisbane Bandits head west to take on the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat for series starting Friday night.
Kids Day at the Ballpark, presented by the ABL and ConocoPhillips Australia, continues in Round Six in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. All kids 14 and under get free entry to the ballpark where there will be a host of family friendly games, activities, and prizes. Adelaide will host Kids Day for their doubleheader on Saturday while Perth and Sydney will host their Kids Days on Sunday.
Sydney Blue Sox (8-6) vs. Canberra Calvary (7-6)
Both the Sydney Blue Sox and Canberra Cavalry are coming off series wins, marking the first series win of the season for Canberra. Currently ranked second and third in the ABL, the Blue Sox and Cavalry will battle to stay on the winning side of league standings.
Sydney’s offence came to life last weekend when the Blue Sox racked up their first five home runs of the season. Mitch Dening hit two of the home runs in the series and former Major Leaguer Chris Snelling blasted a two-run shot in his first ABL game with the Blue Sox after a three-and-a-half year absence from professional baseball. Both outfielders are on Team Australia’s roster for the 2012 ConocoPhillips ABL All-Star Game and will be a threat to Canberra’s pitching staff.
The Blue Sox and Cavalry each have seven players represented on the 2012 All-Star rosters, with Sydney’s top starter Chris Oxspring suiting up for Team Australia and Canberra’s pitching ace Brian Grening playing for the World All-Stars. The anticipated game one match-up between the two starters has the makings of a great pitchers’ duel. Strong pitching can be expected throughout the series, as Sydney boasts the league’s lowest earned run average (2.12 ERA) and Canberra leads the ABL with six saves. Closer Sean Toler has contributed with a league best five saves.
Outfielder David Kandilas makes his season debut for the Blue Sox this week after playing Single-A ball with the Colorado Rockies organisation. This will mark his third season with the Sydney Blue Sox.
Adelaide Bite (4-10) vs. Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces (6-8)
After both teams dropped their Round Five series, the Melbourne Aces slipped to fifth place in the ABL while the Adelaide Bite are still stuck in the league cellar. A series win at the Norwood Oval will be important for either team to keep from falling further back in the standings. Melbourne faced Adelaide in their opening round of ABL play this season and took the series win two games to one at Melbourne Ballpark.
Angus Roeger was named Round Five’s Delta Air Lines Player of the Week, becoming the first Player of the Week for Adelaide this season. Roeger batted .333 with 4 home runs, 5 RBIs, and 5 runs scored against the Cavalry last series. Roeger has been Adelaide's most productive batter, leading the Bite in batting average (.317), home runs (5), RBIs (7), hits (13) and on base percentage (.451). His five home runs put him at the top of the ABL.
The Aces, who are hosting the 2012 ConocoPhillips ABL All-Star Game after Round Seven, had 11 players named to the All-Star rosters earlier this week. It was no surprise that former Major League sluggers Brad Harman andJustin Huber are two of the six players to suit up for Team Australia. Japanese import from NPB's Seibu Lions, Hirotaka Koishi pitched 6 innings against Perth last weekend without allowing an earned run and will play for the World All-Star team.
The Adelaide Bite had six players named to ABL All-Star rosters, split evenly between Team Australia and the World All-Stars. Of all the teams in the ABL, the Bite is the only team that has yet to be caught stealing this season and have had 14 stolen bases.
Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat (10-4) vs. Brisbane Bandits (6-7)
The Perth Heat and the Brisbane Bandits meet for the first time this season in Round Six. The reigning champions remain at the top of the ABL while Brisbane has fallen to the bottom half of the standings after losing their last series to Sydney. Last season, the Heat took six of nine games from the Bandits.
Former Major Leaguer Anthony Claggett was named Round Five’s Delta Air Lines Pitcher of the Week after pitching 6.2 scoreless innings with 7 strikeouts and no walks against the Melbourne Aces. He has an impressive 1.75 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 25.2 innings pitched this season. Claggett was named to the 2012 ABL All-Star roster along with five other Perth Heat players. Claggett appears on the World All-Star roster with Brisbane’s pitching aceChris Smith. Smith joins five other Bandits named to All-Star rosters.
Japanese import and Texas Ranger affiliate Hirotoshi Onaka leads the Bandit’s offence alongside U.S. import Cody Clark. Both appear on the World All-Star team and will look to stay hot at the plate against the Heat this weekend.
The Heat rank at the top of the ABL in nearly all batting categories with a .281 team batting average, 133 hits and 70 runs batted in. Corey Adamson, Allan de San Miguel and Luke Hughes rank high in the league offensively and are the three Perth players slated to represent Team Australia.