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Grening stares down Heat, Cavs one win away
Righty's dominant performance leads Canberra
02/09/2013 1:13 AM ET
Brian Grening blanked the Heat through his first 7 innings pitched.
Brian Grening blanked the Heat through his first 7 innings pitched. (Ben Southall / SMP Images)
CANBERRA, 8 February - The Canberra Cavalry driven by Rolfe Renault halted the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat's winning streak Friday with a 6-4 win over the reigning champions in game one of the Australian Baseball League Championship Series presented by Futuretronics.

Behind a stellar performance from Brian Grening and the consistency of the hot Canberra bats, the boys rolled to a huge win put them in the driver seat for the Claxton Shield.

The Cavalry took the lead first in the bottom of the first thanks to a two-out single from Jack Murphy. The inning started out with a double from Kody Hightower, who would then be called out on a fielder's choice from Adam Buschini. A single from Jeremy Barnes would put the runner in scoring position in time for Murphy to drive him home for a 1-0 lead.

Canberra added three more in the second thanks to a huge error from Perth outfielder Corey Adamson. The inning started out with back-to-back singles from Canberra locals Michael Wells and Aaron Sloan. The pair were then advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Antonio Callaway. The next play would be crucial, as Hightower hit a single that went right between Adamson's legs to turn into a three-base error, bringing in Wells, Sloan, and Hightower, and giving the Cavalry a 4-0 lead.

The Cavalry power hitting shined in the fourth inning, as the boys chalked two more runs on the scoreboard thanks to two long home runs. Aaron Sloan led off the inning with his second homer of the year, his first at home. Sloan was followed up by a long ball over the right field fence from Ryan Stovall to extend the Cavalry lead to 6-0 after four.

The Heat got their first runs of the game on the board in the eighth. With two outs and runners on second third, Brendan Webb tripled to drive home two and end Grening's night.

Grening had an amazing outing, going seven and two-thirds innings, giving up only two runs on six hits while striking out six. The eighth inning turned suspenseful when Cavalry pitching got into a bit of a jam with the bases loaded and two outs. However, Sean Toler entered the game and shut down the threat with a ground out to end the inning, preserving the Cavalry's lead 6-2.

Perth continued to creep back in to close the gap in the ninth, adding two more runs. The inning did not start out well for Toler as he gave up back-to-back solo shots to Tim Kennelly and Luke Hughes. Toler settled in to retire the next three batters in order with two strikeouts and a ground out to give the Cavalry the win 6-4.

The Cavalry will look to keep the momentum going as they try to secure their first ever championship win in game two Saturday night against Perth. Game time is set for 7pm, with gates opening at 5:30pm.

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