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Sox vets tabbed Rd. 11 award winners
Sydney pitcher Anderson, outfielder Oeltjen earn honours
01/13/2015 1:05 AM ET
Anderson and Oeltjen mark Sydney's second awards sweep of the season.
Anderson and Oeltjen mark Sydney's second awards sweep of the season. (SMP Images/ABL Media)

SYDNEY, 13 January - Ever-tightening playoff races and rain delays highlighted last weekend's ABL action in Canberra, Perth and Sydney. Amidst overcast skies and powerful Heat, two Sydney Blue Sox veterans demonstrated exactly why their careers have been so long and successful, accomplishing historic feats and tying records.

Former Major Leaguer Trent Oeltjen hit for the cycle for the first time in his 15-year baseball career, while left-handed starter Craig Anderson tossed his second complete-game shutout of the season. For their performances, Anderson and Oeltjen are the Delta Air Lines Pitcher and Player of the Week for Round 11.

Anderson earns his third career award and second of the season, after picking up the honour in Round 3, while Oeltjen wins the award for the first time in his three-year ABL career.

In Sydney's series opener against the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces on Thursday, 8 January, Oeltjen added his name to the ABL history books by hitting for the third cycle in the five-year history of the reborn league. After striking out in his first at bat, Oeltjen first completed arguably the two most difficult segments of the cycle, homering in the bottom of the second inning and belly-flopping into third base with a two-run triple in the bottom of the third.

Two innings later, the Sydneysider hit a one-out single that put him a double away from history. Oeltjen came to bat for the fifth time that night with two runners on in the bottom of the sixth inning, and smashed the third pitch he saw into the right-centre field gap for a double that sealed the cycle.

Shortly after sliding into second base, Blue Sox manager Jason Pospishil removed Oeltjen from the ballgame in favour of a pinch runner, and the ever-smiling veteran jogged off the field to a standing ovation from the Sydney faithful.

Oeltjen became the third ABL player to hit for the cycle, after his Sox teammate David Kandilas became the first player to achieve the feat in 2011 and Casey Frawley of the Canberra Cavalry accomplished it in 2013. Though the Blue Sox and Aces managed to play just two of their four scheduled games because of weather concerns, Oeltjen still hit .556 in nine at bats in those two games, scoring two runs and driving in six.

The Blue Sox kept rolling the next night as Anderson dominated the Aces for all nine innings, going the distance while surrendering just two hits. Showing no signs of stress from a delay that caused the ballgame to start shortly after 9:00 p.m., Anderson also carried a perfect game into the top of the fifth inning, when Josh Hendricks hit an infield single that broke up both the perfect game bid and the no-hitter. Consistently working the corners of the plate, Anderson struck out nine batters while not walking a man to earn his fourth win of the season.

The win brought the 34-year-old's career total up to 22, which still ranks him second all-time since the ABL restarted in 2010/11. The game represented Anderson's second complete-game shutout of the season, and the two shutouts tie him with former Brisbane hurler Chris Smith for the modern-era ABL record for most shutouts in a season.

Behind the dominance of Anderson and the hammer of Oeltjen, and after sweeping the rain-shortened two-game series against the Aces, the Blue Sox look to keep their playoff hopes alive in a Round 12 road matchup against the Brisbane Bandits, proudly presented by WellDog.

Tickets are still available for all games this weekend and can be purchased online at

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