SYDNEY, 27 December - Sydney Blue Sox pitcher Craig Anderson and Adelaide Bite first baseman Ji-Man Choi received some special presents just in time for Christmas this week when they were named the Delta Air Lines Pitcher and Player of the Week respectively for Round Eight in the Australian Baseball League brought to you by ‘Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking’.
Adelaide’s 21-year-old first baseman Choi went on a power trip during his side’s Round Eight series against reigning league champions Perth. Over the course of the four-game series, Choi batted .462 (6-for-13) with three home runs, three runs scored, and six RBI. The South Korea native batted in three runs in each of the Bite's two weekend victories, and in Saturday afternoon’s 5-3 Adelaide win, he clubbed a pair of homers, driving in the eventual game-winning runs with his second longball of the game in the sixth inning. Choi’s .329 batting average through eight rounds is good for eighth-best in the circuit. Adelaide’s series split with Perth knocked the two-time reigning champions Heat from the top spot in the league’s standings for the first time since the end of the 2010/11 regular season.
Veteran left-hander Anderson dazzled in his lone Round Eight start, tossing the first complete game of his ABL career in a 5-1 Blue Sox win over the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces. While tossing all nine innings, Anderson struck out three, walked one, and allowed just one while scattering eight hits. The victory dropped the Gosford, NSW native’s ERA to 1.90, fourth-best among all ABL pitchers. It was also Anderson’s fourth win of the season, a mark that checks in as second-most in the circuit. Sydney used a pair of late rallies to take three of four games from the Aces in Round Eight.
Choi’s recognition is his first such award this season but makes him the third Bite player to be named Delta Air Lines Player of the Week this season.
Anderson, likewise, has earned his first personal award but joins fellow Sydney pitcher Chris Oxspring, a three-time winner, as honourees on the Blue Sox staff.
Coming up in Round Nine, these two award winners will face off as Anderson’s Blue Sox host Choi’s Bite at Blacktown International Sportspark. Following Round Six, the league’s two weekly award winners had only faced off once in the round following their awards. Rounds Eight and Nine will make it twice in as many weeks, however. Last week, Brisbane pitcher Chris Smith squared off with Canberra shortstop Kody Hightower. Anderson and Choi will match wits in Sydney and Adelaide’s four-game series this weekend.