SYDNEY - With a nailbiting playoff race currently taking place in the Australian Baseball League brought to you by Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking, Matthew Williams of the Adelaide Bite proudly presented by SA Power Networks and Boss Moanaroa of the Sydney Blue Sox both came up big last weekend, helping to keep their teams' playoff dreams alive. By doing so these two players have been named the league's Round 12 Delta Air Lines Players of the Week.
Williams made two appearances against his former team this weekend, but his most notable performance came during his start on Sunday in which he completely shut down Sydney's offence. The ABL veteran threw seven strong innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run while striking out six batters en route to his third win of the season.
Williams came up big for Adelaide on Sunday as the Bite were relying on him to keep them in contention for an ABL Preliminary Final home series. By picking up the crucial win, Williams and the Bite earned a Round 12 split with Sydney and sit even with the Blue Sox at 21-21, good for a second-place tie on the table. Round 12 was not the first time that the Bite have relied on the former Blue Sox reliever to come up big for them, as the versatile Williams has proven to be reliable throughout the course of the entire season. The bearded right-hander currently has an ERA of 2.66 which is sixth-best in the entire league, while his 19 appearances are good for the third-most in the ABL. Williams has pitched as a starter and relief pitcher this season, a rarity in the game.
While Williams was doing his part to keep Adelaide's playoff hopes alive and well, Moanaroa was doing the same for the Sox. The former Boston Red Sox prospect played his first series of the season for Sydney this weekend and made his presence felt in a major way. On the weekend Moanaroa, hit for an average of .571 (8-from-14) with two home runs and four runs batted in.
The Newcastle-born first baseman could not have made his return to the Blue Sox lineup at a better time as Sydney could really use his bat to help them secure a spot in the playoffs. With an identical record of the Bite's 21-21 and tiebreakers in play, Sydney are grasping on to the third and final playoff spot with the Canberra Cavalry, driven by Rolfe Renault, and the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces just one game behind. The Blue Sox will be hoping that Moanaroa will provide them the lift they need to make the ABL Postseason for the fourth straight year and make a run towards an elusive Claxton Shield crown for NSW.
Be sure to tune in next weekend as both Williams and Moanaroa will be leading their teams towards a spot in the playoffs. The Bite will be on the road in Perth where they'll face the first place Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat, while Sydney will be playing at home against the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces.