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No first time nerves for Ryan Dale
02/01/2017 10:09 PM ET
Ryan Dale (Melbourne Aces) - (SMP Images). PHOTO : IAN KNIGHT SMP IMAGES
Ryan Dale (Melbourne Aces) - (SMP Images). PHOTO : IAN KNIGHT SMP IMAGES (Ian Knight)

WITH the 2017 Australian Baseball League (ABL) Championship Series drawing closer, there's host of young Aces players about to experience ABL playoff baseball for the first time.

After reaching the Championship Series against a dominant Perth team in 2012, the Aces have not tasted post season action since and it's something infielder Ryan Dale says the group is really looking forward to.

"I think everyone is just pumped up to have a Championship Series in Melbourne to be honest" said Dale.

The worry for the Aces over the previous two series against Adelaide and Perth has been their inability to score runs, scoring just 2.3 runs per game over their previous eight, down from 4.9 across their first 32.

While pitching has been the Aces biggest strength all season with a league best 3.23 ERA, waiting for the Aces in the Championship Series will be either Adelaide or Brisbane, the two teams with the biggest offenses in the league, both having eclipsed 200 runs scored on the season (Brisbane 234, Adelaide 206).

While Dale acknowledges the slump, he says it's not something the team is particularly focussed on heading into the series.

"Were not worried, we just put it down to we're tired at the end of a long season" continued Dale.

"It was out last two series and we're lucky now we get a week off to get ourselves right for the Championship Series".

"We've got a few practice games coming up and then Club ball on Sunday so I think we'll just get our at-bats in and try and head into the Championship series as fresh as possible".

From a personal standpoint, Dale has featured in 32 games for the Aces this season eclipsing his previous best of 16 during the 2014-15 season and says he didn't expect to see that much game time this year.

"I was hoping for it for sure and luckily Deebs [Jon Deeble] gave me some game time".

"I wasn't getting much game time in other seasons so I figured I was better off spending my time in the gym working out and trying to get my body stronger".

Joining the 20-year-old Kansas City Royals prospect on the infield this season has been younger brother Jarryd, who first got his opportunity when Ryan wore the brunt of an errant foul ball into the Aces dugout. Older brother Ryan said it's the first of hopefully many years together on an Aces infield.

"He played his first, firsts game at Waverley and then a few weeks later it was his first Melbourne Aces game so it was definitely a surprise".

"Me and Cruzy [Jared Cruz] in particular try and look after him a little bit on road trips where we can".

"It's been really fun having him in the team with me".

With the season drawing to a close, Dale is scheduled to head back to the US on March 1 as a part of the Kansas City Royals Organisation and has one final message for fans.

"Hopefully everyone comes out for the series and we can get Melbourne to fall in love with baseball again".

Tickets for the 2017 ABL Championship Series are currently on sale. With fireworks scheduled for Games 1 & 2, BOOK YOUR PLACE to witness histry as the Aces search for their first Australian Baseball League Championship.


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