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Cavalry fire opening salvo in pivotal swing v Heat
First of eight straight between front-runners goes Canberra's way
12/29/2012 11:33 AM ET
Brian Grening duelled with Virgil Vasquez through seven Friday.
Brian Grening duelled with Virgil Vasquez through seven Friday. (Theron Kirkman / SMP Images)
PERTH, 28 December - In a wild extra innings game, the Canberra Cavalry, driven by Rolfe Renault, outlasted the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat for a 3-2 win in twelve innings and extend the lead of the top spot on the ABL ladder. Canberra travelled into Heat territory and quieted the reigning champions with a huge win in extra innings. The game was set up as battle between the top two teams, and proved to be just that.

The four runs scored in regulation were off of solo home runs, two to each side. The game played out as expected, as a pitching duel between Brian Grening and Virgil Vasquez.

Perth started out the game early when the second batter of the inning, Brenden Webb, went yard to give the Heat a 1-0 lead. It seemed like Brian Grening was getting into a bit trouble when he gave up another solo home run in the fifth to give the Heat a big 2-0 lead.

However Canberra would not go down that easily. The Cavalry answered back with a pair of home runs in the sixth to tie the game at two. The inning started out with Ryan Stovall jacking one over the left field fence to close the gap 2-1. The next batter, Adam Buschini, joined the party launching another over the fence to tie the game at two.

The Cavalry had a chance to take the lead in the seventh and ninth but were unable to capitalise with runners in scoring position. In the seventh with one out, Antonio Callaway hit a single to center, and then was advanced to third on a pass ball and a ground out. But he would be stuck at third thanks to a ground out to end the inning.

In the ninth, Callaway once again started the rally with a double to left; he was then advanced to third on a fielding error by the Heat, with none out. However, the inning would end in a pop up, strike out, and force out leaving Callaway stranded at third for the second time, taking the game into extra innings.

In the tenth, both sides went a quick 1-2-3, in the eleventh each side had a single but left the runner on base. Things got exciting in the top of the twelfth for the Cavalry. The inning started out when Buschini reached first and then was advanced to second on a throwing error by the Heat. He was then moved to third thanks to a sacrifice bunt from Jeremy Barnes. Buschini would cross the plate to score the leading run off a sacrifice fly from Jack Murphy, giving the Cavalry a 3-2 lead.

Sean Toler entered the game in the bottom of the twelfth and got two quick strikeouts. The game then took a turn for the suspenseful. Toler gave up a single, a double, and a walk to load the bases with two outs. In spite of this, under pressure Toler pulled through, striking out Heat stand out Allan de San Miguel to get his third strikeout of the inning to end the game giving the Cavalry the win.

Starting pitcher Brian Grening had a great outing going seven innings giving up only two run on seven hits with five strikeouts. The Cavalry bullpen came up huge in the extra inning game. The combination of Steve Kent, Dustin Loggins, Eric Massingham, and Toler succeeded no runs and pulled through for the win. Massingham was given the win, his third of the season, and Toler was earned his eighth save.

The Cavalry return to action Saturday night for game two of four against the Perth Heat. Game time is set for 10:20pm EDT.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.