When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and after two one-run losses in Saturday's doubleheader, that's exactly what the Bandits did in Sunday afternoon's matchup to end Round Six of the Australian Baseball League, brought to you by 'Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking'.
The visitors manufactured runs and had good at-bats in key situations to take down the first-place Perth Heat 5-1 to head home with a series split.
"We've been talking about how the Bandits put the ball in play," Heat manager Steve Fish said. "They've been fisting everything and haven't hit a ball hard all weekend. But they've been putting the ball in play and not striking out in crucial situations."
Not only did the Bandits not strike out in crucial situations, but their bats were on the ball all day long. As a team, they only struck out twice on Sunday, making every plate appearance count. Brisbane's usual RBI-man Cody Clark didn't drive in any runs in the game but he notched two hits and was pushed around the bases by his teammates, a testament to the entire team's effort.
"We talk about it all the time," the native of Arkansas said. "We just need to keep getting guys on base and sooner or later, we'll score them. The guys scored me today so it was nice."
Brisbane manager Kevin Jordan believes that one of the keys to his team's success is the fact that everyone looks out for their teammates. Individual accolades pale in comparison to the accomplishments of the whole squad.
"Our team basically is all club ball guys who grew up together and came up battling together for years," the second-year skipper said. "I guess one of the things about or team is everyone's got each other's backs and we all know that. As a player, when you know that the guy next to you is pulling for you, then it makes it a little easier.
"We don't necessarily have the bombers that some of these other teams have, or even some of the same kind of experience pitching-wise, but still when we go out there, we go out there with the plan that we're trying to win every ballgame."
Brisbane's Sunday offence was led by Clark, Andrew Campbell and David Sutherland, who each had two hits. All of the runs were driven in by the bottom third of the order, with Steven Greer, Ryan Battaglia and Adam Gordon each recording an RBI in the matchup.
But the real story of the game for the Bandits was the pitching, another whole-team effort. Jimmy Schult made his ABL debut to start the final game of the four-game set in Perth. The native of New York went three innings, allowing one run on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
The 23-year-old was held to a pitch limit because he hasn't thrown in a game since his season with the Joliet Slammers in the Frontier League ended, but found success in limited time. Schult was relieved by Jason Kilby, who went three hitless innings, Simon Morriss with one scoreless frame, and Ryan Searle, who threw the final two innings of the game and kept the zeroes coming.
"Jim Schult, who started for us today, it was his first game," Jordan said. "He just got here from the States a week ago, so we were trying to keep his pitch count down. And then we just had the whole bullpen ready to go. Everyone was on call from the third inning on."
Kilby earned his first win of the season with his three frames of work. Morriss was also making his season debut for the Bandits after spending some time recovering from injury in the early weeks.
"We had two guys making their debuts today and they pitched really well," Clark said. "That was good to see. We had Kilby coming in and giving us a good three innings and then 'Searly' coming in and closing it out...We walked some guys but they really pounded the zone with guys on base and really came up big for us today."
Brisbane will head home from Perth on a high note and hope to continue their winning ways in its first series at the RNA Showgrounds. The club will look to continue the momentum they've gained against the Heat and use it to take on a competitive Adelaide Bite squad.
"We had a couple close games yesterday; a couple of one-run losses," Clark said. "To be able to bounce back from that and just get a win right now is important for us."