Canberra, ACT: This coming weekend the number one seeded Canberra Cavalry, driven by Rolfe Renault, will face off against the number three seed, Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat in the Be The Influence Australian Baseball League Championship Series, presented by Futuretronics starting Friday night at 7pm.
After finishing on top of the ladder the Cavalry have secured home field advantage at the Fort at Narrabundah for their first ever Championship Series. In the first two seasons the Cavalry just missed the playoffs so this weekend promises to be a special one. The Cavalry will be up against the two time reigning champions with hopes of knocking them off their throne to secure a championship for the underdogs. This is new ground for the young Cavalry team but they are ready for a fight.
"We are a team that battles and we have proven that," said head coach Michael Collins. "Perth may have the experience but our boys are ready and have a lot of fight in them."
During the regular season, the Perth series was a turning point in the Cavalry's season, and gave them momentum as they would go on to finish the season on top of the ABL ladder. Based on the regular season, Canberra definitely has the advantage taking six of eight games from the reigning champions.
In this post season match up Canberra will see a different Heat team then they faced in the regular season, with the addition of Luke Hughes and the Kennelly brothers who were sidelined most of the regular season due to injury. The Cavalry will also have to keep an eye on the bats of Michael Ohlman and Corey Adamson who took advantage of the Cavalry during the regular season.
Canberra has the hottest offense in the league and finished off the regular season leading the league in hits (481), homeruns (56), and RBIs (246) to combine for an impressive .295 team average. Leading the charge for the Cavalry in their quest for the Claxton Shield will be the ABL Triple Crown winner Adam Buschini.
In game one the ball will go to Cavalry ace Brian Grening as it has all season. Grening will set the tone for the series and will be followed by big John Holdzkom in game two and Chris Motta in game three if needed. Lefty Rob Dickmann will make appearances out of the bullpen and will be able to go long innings in relief if necessary. Dickmann will join a very strong Cavalry bullpen alongside of Sean Toler, Steve Kent and Dustin Loggins.
The Heat will counter with the former Major League pitcher Anthony Claggett in game one, followed by Warwick Saupold and Daniel Schmidt in games two and three.
The Heat are coming off a six game winning streak, sweeping Melbourne in the final series of the regular season then taking a quick two games off the Sydney Blue Sox to win the Preliminary Final this past weekend.
The series is likely to be a high scoring with the matchup of the top two offenses in the league. Both teams are known for hitting the long ball, in the eight game regular season series a total of 27 homeruns were hit, sixteen to Canberra and eleven to Perth.
"We are focused on doing our thing, if we play our game I do not think we can be stopped," added Collins.
The best of three series will kick off on Friday night with game one slated for a 7pm start. Game two will be Saturday night at 7pm and if needed game three will be played on Sunday at 7pm. Tickets can be purchased at www.CanberraCavalry.com.au.