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Ryans rule: Casteel, Searle tabbed Round 8's best
Melbourne, Brisbane improving in tight playoff chase
12/24/2013 12:24 AM ET
This is the first award of the season for both Casteel (left) and Searle.
This is the first award of the season for both Casteel (left) and Searle. (SMP Images)

SYDNEY - The Brisbane Bandits and Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces have each been surging as of late as the only two teams to have winning records over the past ten games. A large part of each of these teams' success is the outstanding play of catcher Ryan Casteel (Melbourne) and pitcher Ryan Searle (Brisbane) who were rewarded for their performances by being named as the Round 8 Delta Air Lines Players of the Week.

Casteel had a monster series against the Sydney Blue Sox in Round 8. On the weekend the catcher hit for an average of .538 (7-from-13), with a double, three home runs, four runs scored and six runs batted in. This performance did not come out of the blue for Casteel as the Colorado Rockies prospect has been playing well all season. In fact, he is currently second in the league in RBI and average while leading the entire league with eight home runs.  

Casteel's best game came on Friday when he went 3-4 with two long balls and three runs batted in. Casteel has 12 hits and ten RBI over his past ten games.

Although the Bandits still find themselves in last place, they are only four games behind Melbourne for the third and final playoff spot. One of the primary reasons for their recent success is the phenomenal pitching of Ryan Searle. The Chicago Cubs prospect and Queensland product is 3-0 on the season with a 1.23 ERA. His best start came on Saturday against the Adelaide Bite proudly presented by SA Power Networks. Searle went the distance in his Round 8 start, tossing nine strong innings while striking out nine batters and surrendering just three hits, two walks and an unearned run.

Searle joined the Bandits in the beginning of the month and has won each of his three starts. He has shown improvement every time he has taken the mound, going five innings his first start, eight his second, and and recording his first complete game in his third start this weekend.

Make sure to tune in this upcoming weekend for Round 9 Australian Baseball League brought to you by Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking action. Casteel and the Aces will be traveling to Perth to take on the first place Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat, while Searle and the Bandits will journey to Sydney to take on the Blue Sox. 

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