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Bandits Clinch Playoff Berth
Bandits take three of four in Canberra to secure postseason play
01/28/2017 10:53 PM ET

The Brisbane Bandits, proudly presented by WellDog, will live to see the postseason! With a 11-2 win over the Canberra Elite Cavalry Sunday afternoon, the Bandits have clinched the third-place position in the ABL leaderboard, officially claiming a spot in the 2016/17 playoffs!

The Bandits were under must-win conditions in the four-game series against the Cavalry. Under complete control of their own destiny in Round ten, the Bandits rose to the occasion, winning three of four games in Canberra and surpassing the "if-necessary" game in Sydney on Monday.

Head Coach Dave Nilsson credits much of the success as of late to the momentum swing over the last three weeks.

"Such a big weekend, Canberra is a great team and we continue to play well. I think that is 11 of our last 13, so we have a lot of momentum and you really can't ask for more going into the playoffs. Adelaide and Melbourne are both great teams, but to win that many coming into the playoffs feels really good," Nilsson said.

In his first start of the year, Simon Morriss performed under pressure. The right-hander allowed just four hits and two runs over 4.2 innings, setting the Bandits' offence up in prime position.

Canberra's Scott Cone struggled early in Game 4, walking three Bandits straight to give David Rodriguez a bases-loaded opportunity with no outs in the top-of-the-first inning. As per routine, Rodriguez secured another RBI opportunity, plating Wade Dutton and Aaron Whitefield with a double to left field.

In the next at-bat, Logan Wade added another run across the board, scoring Mitch Nilsson with an RBI groundout to first base to take a 3-0 lead.

The Cavalry fired back in the bottom-of-the-first, plating a run off David Kandilas' RBI groundout to edge the score, 3-1.

Despite the lopsided score, the Bandits and Cavalry were nearly even offensively on Sunday. Brisbane recorded nine hits in Game 4, just one more than Canberra. That being said, the Cavalry were unable to produce anything with runners on base. Canberra was 0-for-5 with runners on base.

Driving in runs was far from an issue for the Bandits. Over the fifth and sixth innings, Brisbane plated five more runs, putting their playoff hopes in clear view. The offensive pressure has been a major tool for Nilsson's club.

"We're a pretty deep team and we ask a lot of the other team. We stretch out their pitching staff and all good teams do that and makes a nine-inning game tough. Guys are peaking at the right time and I couldn't be happier where we are at," Nilsson said.

Rodriguez cracked yet another home run at MIT Ballpark, as the designated hitter drove a two-run home run to right centre field in the top-of-the-fifth inning. Rodriguez was 2-for-5 with four RBI's and a run Sunday.

With Kevin Padlo on third base and Tommy Milone on second base, Ryan Battaglia sent a chopper to shortstop Scott Kelly that he was unable to handle, allowing Battaglia to reach first safely and score Padlo. In the following at-bat, Whitefield drove a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Milone from second base. Two more defensive errors by the Cavalry followed in the next two-at bats, plating the third run across the board in the top-of-the-sixth and extending Brisbane's lead, 9-2. Canberra committed five total errors in Game 4.

Brisbane's offensive dominance refused to let up in the top-of-the-ninth. Milone's double off the left field wall scored Wade and Dutton to extend the lead, 11-2.

The Tampa Bay Rays prospect was 2-for-4 with two RBI's, a walk and a run Sunday afternoon.

"Right now we are just enjoying the win. Not much is going to change. We're going to keep rolling and doing what we have to do. We've prepared a certain way all year and we'll make sure that we don't alter anything and we prepare the same way," Nilsson said.

Adelaide will host Game 1 of the ABLPF this Friday and the teams will head back to Brisbane Saturday for Game 2 of the ABLPF at 6:00 p.m. AEST. If necessary, Game 3 will be at 1:00 p.m. AEST at AFA Stadium at Holloway Field.

Full ticket information to be released.

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