SYDNEY, 19 December - Brisbane Bandits pitcher Chris Smith and Canberra Cavalry driven by Rolfe Renault infielder Kody Hightower have been named the Delta Air Lines Pitcher and Player of the Week respectively for Round Seven action in the Australian Baseball League brought to you by ‘Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking.’
Smith was nearly perfect through seven innings in the Bandits’ Friday night loss to the Adelaide Bite at RNA Showgrounds. The right-hander from Kentucky, USA picked up his second weekly honour in 2012/13 by not allowing a hit through his first 6.2 innings on 14 December and striking out 11 over the entirety of his start. Smith exited following seven innings, having allowed one unearned run on one hit along with two walks. Though his Bandits lost, Smith’s start matched a season-long, and his strikeouts total fell one shy of matching his best this year.
On the position player side, Canberra’s Hightower was a no-brainer in his selection as the league’s Player of the Week and could have garnered the award just on his Round Seven opener performance. Hightower stole the show on Thursday, going 5-for-5 with two home runs, two doubles, three runs scored, and six runs batted in. Over the next three games, Hightower added six more hits from 12 at bats, adding up to a .647 batting average in Canberra’s series victory over the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces.
As the ABL’s third season hits the midway point in Round Eight, these two weekly award winners will clash. Brisbane visit Canberra for four games in four days beginning on Thursday, 20 December at Narrabundah Ballpark. Only once prior this season have a round’s two weekly award winners faced off during the following round. That came in Round Five when Round Four winners Chris Oxspring (P, Sydney) and Cody Clark (C, Brisbane) clashed in a Bandits home series.