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PREVIEW: Port Adelaide v West Torrens
2016/17 SABL Championship Series
03/22/2017 10:38 PM ET
Last season it was the Glenelg Tigers who came out on top, who will take their crown this time - Port Adelaide or West Torrens?
Last season it was the Glenelg Tigers who came out on top, who will take their crown this time - Port Adelaide or West Torrens? (Baseball SA)

WHO: Port Adelaide and West Torrens

WHERE: Adelaide Shores Baseball Complex, West Beach

WHEN: March 24-26 - Friday @ 7PM, Saturday @ 6PM & Sunday @ 12PM (if needed)

How they got there: Port Adelaide was on track for an opening series win over Goodwood but their path was changed as a protest over pitching saw Goodwood awarded the win. The Magpies survived as a lucky-loser, though, and a hard fought series win over Kensington ensured the Magpies reached the big dance.

Joining them is West Torrens, and the Eagles started off in style with straight sets win over Sturt, before tackling Goodwood. Taking down the eastern club in three, the Eagles put on a convincing win to book their place in the final.

Recent history: Across three games this season, Port picked up two wins while they also swept West Torrens in the opening round of last season's finals series.

What the coaches say: With the A-Grade and B-Grade sides from West Torrens featuring in grand finals, Tyrone Hambly said there is plenty of energy at the club and a great mix of talent.

"The mix has been good because we've got guys like Jordan McArdle who's signed with Arizona, and Arik Sikula who's been a professional player for the past five years," Hambly said.

"Then we have Curtis Mead who's 16 and has not only broken into the A-Grade for the first time, he's got older guys helping him out and keeping him calm in every situation."

There is also quiet confidence out west after a long season at the top, and despite some late wobbles, the team is looking hot.

"It's been a pretty good year. I've had the confidence in believing we have been one of the best two or three teams so it's nice to see the guys have success at this time of the year and actually get to this position," Hambly said.

"Some of them have heard me say all year we are the best team and now that we've got to this point they have started to believe it.

"It's a good year to see the juniors break through, and seniors have a good year, with a few guys over 30 having one of their best seasons."

Meanwhile, the Magpies come in having lost at the semi-final stage of last season and having lost the likes of Dushan Ruzic, Josh Cakebread and John Schultz, first-year coach Chris Sims has steered his side to a remarkable finish.

"We've got a bit of a mixed bag in terms of grand final experience. We have a few guys having their fifth go and another bunch who are having their first shot," Sims said.

"We've had a high turnover of players and for a group of us it's an opportunity to make up for last year. We are a different team and any opportunity you get to win, you want to take it."

Like the Eagles, a good mix of youth and experience has guided the Magpies to where they are and there has been an emphasis on bringing in the next generation.

"We've been really keen to expose some of the younger guys to Division one," Sims said, "Brodie Arriola, a 15-year-old, he had 80 at-bats in A-Grade and has been contributing consistently."

"Jack Stead had 40-50 at-bats and he can certainly bring something off the bench so mixing those guys into a core group of veterans is key. Guys like Todd Langman, Adam Crabb, Luke Rackebrandt, they've been staples of our team for 12-13 years now.

Bite stars: The story of Jack O'Loughlin (Port) v Jordan McArdle (WT) is one to follow intently, with two affiliated guns showing off all they have to offer.

For West Torrens, we will see pitching depth with the likes of Canadian import, Arik Sikula, and locals Nathan van der Linden and James Snelgrove. Port, meanwhile, features the big hitting of Alex Carter.

Players to watch:
PORT - Not only do the Magpies bring in depth, they bring in this season's Capps Medalist, Dylan Brammer. The import has been one of many shining lights, taking out the MVP award by 10 votes. Alongside Brammer, Port's veterans are the likely players to lead them to success. Langman's bat is running hot after mashing four homers last weekend, while Rackebrandt is hitting .545 postseason. Pitching wise, Adam Crabb is 2-0 from his postseason journey and he will step up alongside O'Loughlin, showing off all Port has to offer.

WEST TORRENS - McArdle has been dominating and with plenty of experience at West Beach, we could see the big gun smash some homers, but he's not the only one. Jacob Vojak and Torey Williams have been impressive all season, averaging above .300 and hitting over .400 during postseason. With an even spread of talent on the mound as well, Sikula is the main man, striking out over 100 hitters this season with a superb 1.66 ERA.

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