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Ekstrom, Tripp tabbed Round 1 Players of the Week
Perth sweep first weekly awards of 2013/14
11/04/2013 12:27 AM ET
Mike Ekstrom (left) and Brandon Tripp are the ABL's first weekly award winners of the 2013/14 season.
Mike Ekstrom (left) and Brandon Tripp are the ABL's first weekly award winners of the 2013/14 season. (SMP Images)

SYDNEY - Though their team came up short in their Round 1 series, two Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat players impressed in big ways during the first week of the 2013/14 Australian Baseball League season and have been recognised for it. Perth starting pitcher Mike Ekstrom and outfielder Brandon Tripp have been named the ABL Pitcher and Player of the Week for Round 1.

Ekstrom stole the show on Opening Night in Perth. The former major leaguer took the ball in his first start for the Heat and dominated an overmatched Sydney Blue Sox lineup to the tune of nine strikeouts over seven shutout innings. The American import allowed just three hits to earn the victory. Ekstrom, who has spent part of five seasons in the major leagues with the San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays, and Colorado Rockies, benefitted from a strong showing by his side at the plate in a 10-0 victory.

Ekstrom was one of just two pitchers to toss seven innings in Round 1, and his nine strikeouts were most of any pitcher during the league's opening week.

Tripp was a big part of that Friday night rout of Sydney and continued his strong showing throughout Round 1. During Ekstrom's start, the former Baltimore Orioles, Florida Marlins, and Philadelphia Phillies minor leaguer batted 2-from-4 with a home run, two runs batted in, and three runs scored. In the first game of the next day's doubleheader, Tripp added three more hits including a double and another home run. His first series of ABL action put the current MiLB free agent at the forefront of a host of league leaderboard categories.

Though Perth dropped the final three games of Round 1, Tripp batted .462 (6-from-13) over the course of the four-game series with two homers, five runs batted in, and five runs scored. Through four games, Tripp's batting average and RBI totals are tied for second-best in the league, while his pair of home runs are tied for the league lead.

After one round of ABL action in the 2013/14 season, Brisbane, Canberra, and Sydney are tied atop the table at 3-1 while Adelaide, Melbourne, and Perth all enter Round 2 at 1-3. This week, Perth travel to Adelaide for a Round 2 series with the Bite while the Blue Sox will host Canberra in NSW.