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Cavs seize opportunity, back into first-place tie
Following Sydney loss, Canberra crush Bite
01/26/2013 11:56 PM ET
John Holdzkom picked up his fourth win of the season Saturday.
John Holdzkom picked up his fourth win of the season Saturday. (Ryan Schembri / SMP Images)
ADELAIDE, 26 January - The Canberra Cavalry, driven by Rolfe Renault, scored early and often to defeat the Adelaide Bite, proudly presented by SA Power Networks, 12-2 on Saturday to regain a share of first place on the Australian Baseball League ladder.

The Cavalry jumped all over Bite in the first inning when Adam Buschini belted a two run home run, his ABL leading 13th of the season, off starting pitcher Paul Mildren for an early 2-0 lead.

The charge continued in the second inning when Ryan Stovall hit his second double of the game to drive in Antonio Callaway. The Cavalry would go on to score two more in the inning courtesy of a passed ball and a sharp single off the bat of Jeremy Barnes to give the Cavalry a 5-0 advantage. Barnes singled again in the fourth inning scoring Kody Hightower to give the Cavalry a 6-0 lead. Marcus Knecht added to the Cavalry lead by homering to start the fifth inning, giving the Cavalry a 7-0 lead.

Meanwhile Cavalry starting pitcher John Holdzkom was dominant over the first four innings, only giving up one hit while striking out six. He ran into some trouble in the fifth when the Bite loaded the bases with nobody out thanks to singles from Jeremy Cresswell, Ben Lodge, and Quincy Latimore. Ji-Man Choi put the Bite on the board with an RBI single to keep the rally going. However, Holdzkom induced a fly ball from the next batter, Stefan Welch, which resulted in a double play when Callaway made the catch and fired home to double off the tagging Lodge at home plate. Angus Roeger would single to give the Bite their second run but Holdzkom retired Adam Kam to minimize the damage, leaving the Cavalry ahead by a score of 7-2.

Holdzkom would finish the night throwing 102 pitches over five innings giving up two runs on six hits. He struck out six batters and walked five. The Cavalry starter certainly outdueled Mildren to earn his fourth win of the season as the Cavalry offence had no problem scoring runs throughout the game. Mildren was taken out of the game after throwing just four and two thirds innings, giving up seven runs - five earned - on nine hits. He recorded no strike outs and walked three, picking up his seventh loss of the season in the process.

An RBI single from Michael Wells gave the Cavalry an 8-2 lead heading into the seventh inning. After a Callaway single to lead off the seventh, Stovall and Buschini hit back to back home runs to give the Cavalry a commanding 11-2 lead. Buschini's homer was his second of the game and 14th on the season. The Cavalry would finish the scoring on a Hightower sacrifice fly in the eighth, giving the Cavalry the 12-2 lead that would go on to be the final score.

Buschini continued his amazing season going 2-4 with two home runs three runs batted in. He leads the league in batting average (.355), home runs (14), and runs batted in (48). His RBI total is an ABL record, surpassing Melbourne's Elliot Biddle's 42 from last season.

The Cavalry bullpen was lights out tonight. Eric Massingham and Chris Morgan combined for the final four innings, giving up only two hits and one walk combined. The Cavalry played stellar defence throughout the night and finished without recording an error.

The Bite loss coupled with the Brisbane Bandits win over the Sydney Blue Sox earlier in the day eliminated the Bite from finals contention. The Cavalry can lock up the number one seed and home field advantage for the ABL Championship with a win or a Blue Sox loss Sunday. The Cavalry and Bite square off for the final game of the regular season at 1:30 tomorrow with everything on the line

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