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Dening, Searle earn first weekly awards
Slugger, pitcher helped lead teams to Round 1 series split
11/03/2014 9:14 PM ET
Ryan Searle (left) and Mitch Dening shined brightest in the ABL's Round 1.
Ryan Searle (left) and Mitch Dening shined brightest in the ABL's Round 1. (SMP Images/ABL Media)

SYDNEY, 4 November - An offensive explosion carried the Adelaide Bite, proudly presented by SA Power Networks to wins in the first two games of their 2014/15 fixture. Quality pitching helped the Brisbane Bandits, proudly presented by WellDog, to rebound with two wins against Adelaide. The back-and-forth nature of that thrilling Round 1 series was reflected in the first weekly awards of the Australian Baseball League season with Adelaide's Mitch Dening and Brisbane's Ryan Searle earning Delta Air Lines Player and Pitcher of the Week honours.
    
Dening is in his first season with the Bite after three campaigns with the Sydney Blue Sox and impressed his new side in a major way over the weekend. The outfielder ripped six hits in his 14 Round 1 at-bats, good for a .429 batting average that checks in fifth on the league leaderboard. Dening's biggest night at the dish came in a Friday thrashing of the Bandits, during which the 26-year-old went 3-for-5 with three home runs, matching an ABL single-game record. He added a fourth home run on Saturday night.

Over his four games, Dening also earned six walks to reach base 12 total times, putting his on-base percentage at .600. With his league-leading four homers and a double, the former Boston Red Sox and current Japanese minor leaguer's 1.357 slugging percentage leads the league after one weekend of play.

After the Bite romped in their Thursday and Friday wins by a combined 31-11 score, Brisbane turned to tested veteran Searle, and the right-hander did not let his team down. After pitching 1 1/3 innings of perfect relief in Thursday night's opener, Searle stemmed the tide of the Adelaide onslaught in a Saturday start. The former Chicago Cubs prospect struck out 12 batters and issued just one walk while allowing two runs on six hits over 7 1/3 innings. Searle earned his first win of the season and took the initial lead on the league strikeouts leaderboard.

Following Searle's lead, the Bandits picked up a Sunday win behind Jaspreet Shergill's five shutout innings to finish off a Round 1 split with the Bite.

Dening's Bite club will be off in Round 2. Adelaide open their home fixture next week, hosting defending league-champion Perth for a four-game series at Norwood Oval from 13 November. Brisbane hit the road for the first time, travelling to Victoria to take on the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces in a four-game series beginning Thursday. The Round 2 set will mark the Aces' season opener.

Tyler Maun is the ABL's staff writer and a contributor to MiLB.com, the Official Site of Minor League Baseball. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun. This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.