SYDNEY, NSW -- The battle for second place took a new twist, teams showed their support for ending domestic and family violence, and the league honoured a fallen friend in Round 7 of the 2016/17 Australian Baseball League season.
In Adelaide, the Canberra Elite Cavalry beat the SA Power Networks Adelaide Bite, taking a three-game lead in second place on the ladder in the process. The Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces stayed strong though, beating Brisbane at home to stay in first place.
On a sad note, West Australia lost one of its local legends, in the passing of Greg Jelks. Playing at home, the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat won their first series of the season, including two games via the walk-off, in a fitting tribute to the beloved player and coach.
MELBOURNE (21-7) def. BRISBANE (12-16)
The Aces won another series, defeating the Bandits at home to take a five-game lead atop the league ladder. Melbourne took the series opener 4-3 in dramatic fashion, winning on Mike Walker's walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth that drove home James Beresford. Walker was the hero again in Game 2, belting a monster blast in the bottom of the eighth inning of the Aces' 5-3 win.
But the Bandits roared back, putting double digits on the board and taking Game 3 by a dominant 19-4 final score. Four Brisbane batters went yard in the win, including former Major Leaguer Trent Oeltjen and Tampa Bay Rays prospect David Rodriguez, who each hit two longballs. Melbourne took the finale 5-1, led at the plate by multi-hit days from four players and stellar pitching from all five hurlers they sent to the mound.
PERTH (11-17) def. SYDNEY (11-17)
An emotional weekend saw the home Heat win their first series of the season in honour of West Australian baseball legend Greg Jelks, who passed away over the weekend. Trevor Foss (2-2, 2.81) tossed five innings of five-hit, seven-strikeout baseball and Trent D'Antonio had a pair of hits in the Blue Sox 3-0 shutout win in Game 1. However, the Heat took Game 2 in dramatic fashion, winning 8-7 on Matt Kennelly's walk-off single, that capped off a two-run rally in the ninth inning.
The youngest Kennelly was the hero for Perth in Game 3, as Sam went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored in the Heat's 10-8 win. The Heat capped off the series with an eleven-inning walk-off winner in the Sunday finale. Tim Kennelly went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and a run scored in the win.
CANBERRA (16-12) def. ADELAIDE (13-15)
The second-place Cavalry took a three-game lead over the third-place Bite thanks to their road series win in Round 7. Adelaide rookie sensation Jack O'Loughlin (3-2, 3.16) was just that in Game 1, tossing six innings and allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out one as the Bite won 8-3. Canberra roared back in Game 2, scoring four runs in the final two innings of the match to win 5-2.
The Cavalry completed the doubleheader sweep by winning Game 3 by a 5-3 final score, backed by another strong outing by starter Louis Cohen (2-0, 1.85). Cohen went six innings and allowed three runs on four hits while striking out three batters for his second win of the season. Canberra cemented the series win with a 6-1 win in the finale, led at the plate by River Stevens, David Kandilas and Robbie Perkins, who drove in two runs apiece.