Canberra, ACT: After a very disappointing weekend the Canberra Cavalry, driven by Rolfe Renault (22-16) return home to face league rival Sydney Blue Sox (22-16) in another battle for the top spot. The Sydney Canberra match-up is always an exciting one, but this weekend promises to be the best yet. Both teams are currently tied on top of the ABL ladder so this series will decide who remains on top and who gets bumped back down.
This will be the third time the two teams have met this season. Opening weekend in Canberra saw the Blue Sox take the series two games to one. In week six when the two met again in Sydney, the Cavalry earned the series win three games to one.
The Cavalry enter this very important series coming off a series slump after being swept in five games against the Brisbane Bandits.
"This past weekend was a wake-up call (for the Cavalry)," said head coach Michael Collins. "It brought us back down to earth and we are ready to battle and show what we have against Sydney."
Canberra will have to rely on their pitching and defense with hopes that the bats forget this past weekend and turn into the hot hitting team that they have been as of late. The bright spot is that even with the collapse this past weekend; six of the nine starters are still batting over .300. Adam Buschini, Jeremy Barnes, Kody Hightower and Jack Murphy will once again lead the offence for the team.
This past weekend Buschini pulled further into the lead in the league adding four RBIs to give him 37 and a homerun to make ten on the year.
This past weekend was an off week for the normally outstanding Cavalry pitchers. In the five-game sweep the Cavalry gave up 33 runs. This weekend the Cavalry will look for a turn around with their ace Brian Grening leading the way as always in game one. Grening will look to bounce back after earning his first loss of the year this past weekend. Robert Dickmann, Chris Motta, and John Holdzkom will follow all coming out with vengeance against rival Blue Sox.
Sydney is coming off a sweep of their own; however they were the ones carrying the brooms taking all four games against the Melbourne Aces. The sweep brought Sydney into a tie for first place with the Cavalry.
The Cavalry will have to overcome the tough Sydney pitching. The one-two starting combination of Chris Oxspring and Craig Anderson have been shutting down the opposition and Blue Sox closer Matt Williams leads the league with a record fifteen saves. The hot spot in the Sydney line up will be Mitch Dening who currently leads the Sox with a .338 average and 25 RBIs.
"The ball is in our court, if we want to be number one this is it," added Collins. "It's on us to prove that we deserve to be number one."
The four-game series kicks off with game one on Thursday night at 7pm. Game two on Friday night will be the fourth and final charity jersey night this time in support of the Heart Foundation. Game two is slated for a 7pm start. Game three will be Saturday night at 7pm, with a special curtain raiser game. The National Under 14 Baseball tournament has been taking place at Narrabundah all week. The Gold Medal game will be held at 2:30 on Saturday afternoon. The weekend will conclude with game four on Sunday at 1pm.