NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas, 16 September - Adam Buschini would be just fine doing this every few months.
For the second time in 2013, Buschini is celebrating a premiership, this time after clinching the Texas League title on Sunday in the US with his San Antonio Missions teammates. Buschini, the ABL’s first triple crown winner and the 2012/13 Helms Award honouree as a member of the Canberra Cavalry, and the Missions shut out the Arkansas Travelers 5-0 in Game 5 of the Texas League final.
Originally drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the fourth round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Buschini struggled with injuries in his stay in the Phillies system and was released in 2010. After two seasons in independent leagues, he travelled to Canberra in November of 2012 to join the Cavalry, and his baseball life has been different ever since.
Buschini’s career took flight in the capital. Anchoring the heart of the Cavalry’s order, the second baseman put on a clinic at the plate, leading the ABL in batting average (.363), home runs (15), runs batted in (50), slugging percentage (.690), extra-base hits (25), total bases (116), and more. In May, he was named the winner of the 2012/13 Helms Award as the league’s Most Valuable Player. Buschini also collected SAM BAT Champion Crusher honours.
His fantastic ABL season led Buschini to a new contract and a second life with a Major League Baseball organisation. The San Diego Padres signed Buschini to a contract in February, just days before the Cavalry swept past the Perth Heat for the capital’s first Claxton Shield premiership, and assigned him to Double-A San Antonio for the 2013 minor league season.
After an adjustment period in April, Buschini began to heat up. A .222 batting average in May was followed by a .296 mark in June and a blistering July in which he batted .321. After playing almost exclusively at second base during the ABL season, Buschini diversified himself defensively with San Antonio, playing at second, third, shortstop, left field, and right field.
Like Adelaide’s Stefan Welch, who won the Carolina League last week with Salem, Buschini went a bit cold in the postseason, batting just .184 in ten games, but his team still captured its fifth title in 12 seasons.
On the losing side of Sunday’s fifth and deciding game in the Texas League was 2010/11 Perth Heat import Robbie Widlansky. Though he went 0-for-3 on Sunday, Widlansky, who won a Claxton Shield with the Heat in his ABL season, turned in a terrific first season in the Los Angeles Angels organisation, batting .261 in 88 games at Double-A Arkansas and registering a .367 mark in 16 games with Triple-A Salt Lake.
International League: Durham 7, Pawtucket 0
A pair of ABL connections battled for the Governors’ Cup in the International League from opposite sides, and only one could stand atop the table. Kevin Kiermaier, a 2011/12 Cavalry import, sparked the Durham Bulls from the top of the order, going 2-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored, and three batted in as Durham captured the International League crown with a 7-0 victory over Pawtucket.
Tampa Bay Rays prospect Kiermaier played in 17 games with the Cavs in 2011/12, batting .303.
On the other side of the Governors’ Cup Finals, Sydneysider Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched almost perfectly for the Pawtucket Red Sox. Rowland-Smith worked in five postseason games, earning a save and not allowing a run on two hits over 7.1 innings of duty. The Team Australia reliever struck out eight against just two walks.