SYDNEY, 16 April - The Australian Baseball League brought to you by Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking is proud to announce the league’s season-ending award winners for 2012/13 ahead of this year’s Baseball Australia Diamond Awards (BADAs) on 4 May. Today’s unveiled winners include the league’s Play of the Year and those who will take home honours of SAM BAT Champion Crusher, Pitcher of the Year, Reliever of the Year, Golden Glove, and Rookie of the Year. The winner of the ABL’s coveted Helms Award, given to the league’s Most Valuable Player, will be announced at the 2013 BADAs. Tickets are still available for the 2013 BADAs and may be purchased by phoning 07 5510 6800.
At the conclusion of the ABL’s third season, the capital city’s team made history by claiming their first Claxton Shield title. Propelling them to their decisive Game 2 victory in the best-of-three 2013 Championship Series was this season’s ABL Play of the Year. In the bottom of the seventh of Game 2, Cavalry veteran Michael Wells hammered an 0-2 offering from Perth Heat pitcher Jack Frawley over the left-centre field wall to give Canberra a 7-6 lead. As he reached the dugout, Wells was mobbed by his teammates who would not relinquish the advantage en route to clinching the crown.
A historic campaign that culminated in the first triple crown in ABL history has netted Canberra Cavalry infielder Adam Buschini the league’s SAM BAT Champion Crusher award. Buschini led the ABL in virtually every offensive statistical category in 2012/13, including batting average (.363), home runs (15), and runs batted in (50), comprising the unprecedented triple crown performance. Once a fourth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies, the strong ABL season opened a door with the San Diego Padres for Buschini who signed with the MLB club and is currently playing in Double-A. The Oakland, California native captured 43% of the vote to take home the award, proudly presented by the official bat of the Australian Baseball League, SAM BAT.
While Canberra’s offence led the way at the plate in the ABL, Sydney’s pitching staff did the same on the mound. At the forefront of the Blue Sox arms was veteran left-hander Craig Anderson who is the winner of the 2012/13 ABL Pitcher of the Year award. Anderson made 12 starts for the Blue Sox and set a new ABL record with eight victories. His 2.10 ERA was nearly a quarter-point better than the second-best mark in the circuit, and his 81.1 innings pitched also led the league.
From the back end of Sydney’s staff comes this year’s Reliever of the Year. His signature red beard and dominant right arm put Blue Sox closer Matt Williams in the spotlight for ABL fans in 2012/13. Williams set a new ABL record with 15 saves this season out of his 19 total appearances. The Camden, NSW native struck out 28 batters in his 21 innings and didn’t allow a single earned run in 18 of his 19 performances. Opposing hitters batted a paltry .195 against Williams who walked just five batters throughout the course of the season.
The defensive presence of players in the ABL was so good that this year’s Golden Glove has a pair of joint winners. Perth Heat catcher Allan de San Miguel did outstanding work behind the plate and in the field for his league runners up team. While catching and playing first base, de San Miguel played in 42 total games defensively. The Baltimore Orioles prospect shined brightest when working with his pitching staff. Behind the plate, de San Miguel threw out seven of the 16 potential base-stealers he faced this year and committed just two errors.
Along with de San Miguel, Adelaide Bite third baseman Stefan Welch flashed leather throughout the ABL campaign. Welch is the co-winner of this year’s Golden Glove award and does so in a memorable and impressive capacity. 2012 marked Welch’s first year playing third base after spending his professional career across the diamond at first base. After moving to the hot corner with his Pittsburgh Pirates parent club in the States, Welch has settled into his new position masterfully. The 24-year-old led all ABL third basemen in fielding percentage (.984) after committing just two errors in 129 total chances over 41 games.
Rounding out this year’s awards contingent is one of the future faces of Australian baseball. Welch’s Adelaide teammate Ben Lodge has been tabbed the league’s 2012/13 Rookie of the Year. The 21-year-old outfielder played in 40 games for the Bite and batted .228 with five home runs, 20 runs batted in, and 28 runs scored. His season-long batting average included a .273 mark in 21 games played at Adelaide’s Norwood Oval home.
The Helms Award, the biggest prize on the Australian Baseball League award slate, will be announced during the 2013 Baseball Australia Diamond Awards on 4 May at RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast. The three nominees for this year’s award are batting champion Buschini, pitching champion Anderson, and Sydney Blue Sox outfielder Mitch Dening who set a franchise record with a .347 batting average in 42 games.
Again, tickets are still available for the 2013 BADAs and may be purchased by phoning 07 5510 6800.