CHARLOTTE, Florida, 10 September - In a few short months, he hopes to be pitching his Brisbane Bandits to the Claxton Shield, but Monday night in the States, Brisbane right-hander Ryan Searle closed out a Florida State League championship for his Daytona Cubs.
Searle pitched four perfect innings out of the Daytona bullpen, following five one-hit innings by starter C.J. Edwards, to help lead the Cubs to a 4-0 series-clinching win over the Charlotte Stone Crabs. The win gives Daytona their sixth Florida State League championship in history and first since 2011. Searle was credited with a save in the victory.
Over his four innings, Searle retired all 12 batters he faced, not issuing a walk or allowing a hit, striking out a man, and recording eight outs via ground balls.
A member of the Bandits for all three ABL seasons, Searle has pitched in 25 career games for Brisbane. The 2012/13 campaign was his best, resulting in 12 appearances (five starts) and a 3.30 ERA to go along with a 3-2 record.
Today's win must be extra special for Searle who spent nearly four months on the disabled list with a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow. After reaching Triple-A last season, the 24-year-old spent the majority of 2013 at the Class A Advanced level, going 2-3 with a 5.67 ERA in eight appearances. In the four appearances after his injury, though, Searle posted a 4.50 ERA compared with 6.35 before it.
The 2013/14 ABL season begins for Searle's Bandits on Friday, 1 November at their new home ground, Holloway Field. The Bandits welcome Adelaide to town for the first series of the new season.