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Is Darryl George the key to an Aces playoff push in 2018?
01/05/2018 9:41 PM ET
 

A three-hit night from short stop Darryl George has kept the Melbourne Aces well and truly in the hunt for a post-season berth in 2018.

When Canberra's Buddy Reed led off Friday night's contest with a monster home run to left, the audible groans that echoed around Melbourne Ballpark suggested that Aces fans thought they were in for a long night.

Enter Darryl George!

Leading off for the Aces in the bottom of the first inning and refusing to be outdone by his Cavalry counterpart, George matched Reed's lead off effort with a drive to left centre to tie the game and instantly sparked life back into the Melbourne Ballpark crowd.

Off the field, it's his cheeky smile and fun-loving personality that make him a favourite with the fans, but it's his production on the field that really turning heads post-Christmas. 

With a .241 batting average at the half way point, George's first six games back after Christmas have been nothing short pf phenomenal. 
From 28 appearances he's hit safely on 14 occasions with four of those going for extra bases, to take his season average back up to .308 and see him currently rank amongst the league's top hitters.

"I think probably early on in the season I stared forcing things a little bit" said George after his game-winning performance on Friday night.

"I just relinquished control of the results and try and focus as much as I can on the process."

"Working with Shannas, Delmon and the rest of the boys too, it's been great and they've been a huge key to my progression."

George would go on to have two more hits on Friday night (his sixth multi-hit game of his last 10) including an RBI double in the eighth and on a night when Cavalry catcher Robbie Perkins seemed to be throwing everyone out, he even managed to swipe third on a delayed steal late in the game.

A noticeable absentee in last season's Championship push, George's inclusion as an everyday player back at the top of the Aces line-up this season looms as a potential key if the Aces are to return to a second consecutive Championship Series.

With Sydney dropping their Friday night contest against the league-leading Brisbane Bandits, the Aces have now opened up a two-game buffer between themselves and the Blue Sox and with the Cavalry just one game clear of the Aces in third place, a series win for Melbourne this weekend would see them finish round seven in third place.

For a guy like Darryl George that seems to take so much joy from simply playing the game, it's easy to forget that behind that smile is an athlete that's being driven by the sheer will to succeed. A passionate Melbourne man, George's focus is on returning the Aces to the playoffs and when asked if Friday night's come from behind win over the Cavalry was the platform to do just that, he didn't hesitate.

"Every win is mate, every win is. That's for sure."
 

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