SYDNEY, 23 January - Adelaide Bite pitcher Dushan Ruzic and Sydney Blue Sox infielder Trent D’Antonio have been named the Delta Air Lines Pitcher and Player of the Week respectively for the period of 17-20 January, Round 12 of the 2012/13 Australian Baseball League season brought to you by Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking.
Ruzic and the Bite continued to hang around the ABL’s playoff race with a series split with the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces on the road in Victoria. Ruzic capped off that split by pitching the Bite to a 9-0 series finale win on Sunday, 20 January at Melbourne Ballpark. In that affair, the big right-hander tossed six dominant innings, shutting out the Aces on just two hits while registering nine strikeouts and walking only one. The Bite have won six of Ruzic’s last seven starts.
Sunday’s strikeout total for Ruzic matched his season high, set previously on 30 December in a no-decision at Sydney. The win also marked the righty’s fourth of the year and moved the Bite to within two games of .500 at 20-22. Adelaide enter Round 13 four games back of the top spot on the league’s ladder and two back of a postseason berth.
In Canberra, D’Antonio lit up the hit column in Sydney’s series split with Canberra that resulted in a first-place tie between the Blue Sox and Cavalry. While playing second base and catching, D’Antonio went 12-for-21 (.571) against Canberra, belting two doubles, two homers, and adding seven runs batted in. The 27-year-old infielder, who has also manned third base and served as a designated hitter at times for Sydney this year, lifted his season-long batting average 65 total points this weekend to the sixth-best mark in the ABL at .324.
D’Antonio’s biggest game of the series came in Thursday night’s series opener when his five hits aided a 17-hit attack in Sydney’s 12-8 win. D’Antonio, whose Blue Sox remained in deadlock for the top spot on the ABL ladder with the Cavalry in their series split, leads Sydney with six home runs and is second on his team with 27 RBI.
Adelaide and Sydney are both set for a dramatic conclusion to the 2012/13 season in the ABL brought to you by Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking. The Bite host front-running Canberra for the final four games of the regular season at Norwood Oval. The Blue Sox will be closely following the results of that series as they host their own, welcoming the Brisbane Bandits to Blacktown International Sportspark. All three Round 13 ABL series, including Melbourne at Perth, begin Thursday and run through Sunday.
At the conclusion of Round 13, the top finisher in the league will receive a free pass to host the 2012/13 ABL Championship Series at their home grounds. The next two finishers will clash in a best-of-three set to determine who will play for the Claxton Shield.