The CompassMarket.com Sydney Blue Sox (9-11) will ring in 2017 with a home New Years' series against the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces (15-5).
The festive feels at Blacktown International Sportspark this weekend are set to be heightened with the homecoming announcement of long-time Blue Sox pitcher, Todd van Steensel into the line-up and returning to the mound after playing winter with a Minnesota Twins' feeder club.
"I'm feeling physically and mentally prepared to compete in the second half and hopefully bring that championship home to Sydney," van Steensel said.
The 25-year-old had eight innings pitched in the winter with the Chattanooga Lookouts with one win, six hits, two runs and seven strike outs and an average of .207.
Only a fortnight ago, the Blue Sox went down at Melbourne Ballpark against the Aces 0-4, in a series sweep for the Australian Baseball League (ABL) leaders. However, the two-week break means the "bye" of sorts is welcomed by Sydney's experienced manager, Jason Pospishil.
"I think the break over Christmas will do everyone the world of good. We were disappointed with the result down in Melbourne, and mentally it's a great opportunity to see where we're at against the same opposition but on our turf this time," Pospishil reflected.
The Victorians have won 9 of their past 10 ABL matches, including clean sweeps over the Blue Sox (9-11) and Brisbane Bandits (9-11), sandwiched by a 3-1 series win over second-placed Canberra Cavalry (11-9).
However, the Aces will be missing their young-gun hitter Ronald Acuna, but have added major league experience with pitchers Peter Moylan and Jeremy Guthrie joining the roster.
The CompassMarkets.com Sydney Blue Sox are up against the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces this weekend in Series 6. The four-game away-stand commences Thursday night at Blacktown International Sportspark. First pitch at 7:30pm (AEDT).
You can purchase tickets to this weekend's New Years' series and join the conversation with the Sydney Blue Sox on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all @SydneyBlueSox and our website, www.sydneybluesox.com.au.
Sydney Blue Sox v Melbourne Aces, Blacktown International Sportspark
Game 1: Thursday December 29th 2016 - 7:30pm
Game 2: Friday December 30th 2016 - 7:30pm
Game 3: Saturday December 31st 2016 - 6:30pm
Game 4: Sunday January 1th 2017 - 1:00pm