PERTH - Joey Wong has another trophy to add to his shelf.
The Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat shortstop was named MVP of the ABLCS, adding yet another honour to his CV after taking home All-Star Game MVP accolades back in December. Wong played a pivotal role in the Heat winning their third Claxton Shield in four years.
The Colorado Rockies prospect made several dazzling plays in the field as well as delivering big hits when Perth needed them most. Wong's performance came at the climax of an impressive campaign, during which the Heat shortstop has been making big plays all season. On the year, Wong hit for an average of .290 with 8 doubles, 18 RBI and 27 runs scored (fifth-most in the league). Alongside impressive batting totals, Wong also established himself as a top contender for the Rawlings Gold Glove award, given to the best fielder in the Australian Baseball League brought to you by Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking.
The first example of Wong's heroics came in the top of the seventh inning of Game 1 of the 2014 ABL Championship Series when he made an incredible play in the field. Perth found themselves in a hole, trailing the Canberra Cavalry, driven by Rolfe Renault, 3-2. Canberra had their leadoff man, Jon Berti, on base with no outs and were threatening to expand their lead. With Berti aboard, Ben Warner hit a shot up the middle which appeared to be a base hit. Wong demonstrated his great range, making a diving stop, tagging second base, and throwing the ball from his knees to first in time to complete the double play and prevent Perth from facing even more of a deficit.
Wong was not done playing the role of hero for the Heat in Game 1. The shortstop saved some late-game heroics for the game's final inning. In a marathon game, Wong strolled to the plate in the bottom of the 14th. With one out and a runner on first, the former Oregon State Beaver belted a line drive down the left field line to drive in the game's winning run.
Wong rode the momentum of his walk-off double into the second game of the ABLCS. Perth's number two hitter went 2-2 from the plate to help lead the Heat past Canberra by a final score of 2-1, clinching the Claxton Shield. The perfect night at the dish, Wong boosted his playoff batting average to an impressive .444, second-highest on his team.
Although several players on Perth had solid performances during the ABLCS, Joey Wong was the clear-cut choice for MVP. Whether it was saving runs in the field or driving in runs at the plate, Wong did it all for the Heat in Perth's historic weekend. Next on the agenda for the ABLCS MVP will be returning to the United States where he will continue to play affiliated ball in the Colorado organisation. The shortstop spent last season in Double-A with the Tulsa Drillers. If Wong is able to build upon his tremendous success from his first season in the ABL, he very well could ascend through the Rockies organisation in 2014.