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Young guns hold on against Sox
Adelaide levels the series ahead of Saturday DH
01/26/2018 5:17 AM ET
Chris Powell pitched five strikeouts in a confidence boosting win for the Bite.
Chris Powell pitched five strikeouts in a confidence boosting win for the Bite. (James Worsfold/SMP Images/ABL Media)

A fast start turned into a nervous finish as the Adelaide Bite, proudly presented by SA Power Networks, claimed a 10-8 win over the Sydney Blue Sox at Active Displays Stadium.

Leading 10-2 lead evaporated in the ninth as a team of teenagers looked to secure victory - and while it was a nervous finish they held on for the ninth win of a difficult season.

Time for three takeaways.

A new day, all the young guns

It feels like every day a young Bite player makes their debut, they dominate. Today, Harry Knuckey added his name to the list with a great debut at left field. In his first at-bat he hit a sacrifice fly in the second inning before his next at-bat saw him record a RBI single. Throw in solid fielding at left field and Knuckey looks like a ready-made product, much like Curtis Mead.

Not only did Knuckey impress, by the ninth inning, seven of the Bite players on field were teenagers and six weren't even old enough to drink. Knuckey, Sean Maple, Brodie Arriola and Griffin Weber made their debuts and in the ninth the Bite field looked like this at one point:

LF - Weber, CF - Arriola, RF - Knuckey, 3B - Lohr, SS - Mead, 2B - Maple, 1B - McArdle, C - Nooij, P - McKee

With a whole host of Under-18 talent it truly was a taste of the future and few ABL clubs have rewarded youth like this.

Powell finishes in style

Chris Powell has had some up-and-down moments but he made one of his best starts, in his final start. Seven hits, two runs and five strikeouts in seven innings, plus a pair of defensive stops on the mound and it was an impressive outing from the American. He also easily outlasted Sydney starter, Craig Anderson, who lasted less than two innings and gave up eight hits and six runs.

From a fast start which saw 12 runs in the first three innings, Powell turned the cogs to dry up any potential Sydney comeback during the key middle innings. His reflexes were on fire when faced with bouncing hits, and there was no freaking out from the former LA Dodger prospect. Easy grabs and easy outs were the flavour of the day and with confident pitching Bite fans have been left with a great memory.

Van Mil saves the day

As great as it was seeing the next generation, when the score ballooned from 10-3 heading into the ninth to 10-8 with two outs, it was a massive moment for the Bite. Errors hurt the young Bite as McKee started the ninth inning, while Ryan Duncan could not work his way to an out in relief.

In came Loek van Mil. The Netherlands international picked up two strikeouts in a 10-6 ballgame and he was a little unlucky to concede the hit that made it 10-8. With loaded bases, though, those strikeouts were huge, while he then faced loaded bases for the second time - and a home could have put Sydney ahead.

Experience is always crucial and thankfully it was an opportunity for teenagers to face a high-stakes ballgame and arguably a better learning curve than a simple win... right? Chris Adamson might have been sweating a little more than usual at the finish but knowing he can count on the likes of van Mil to help out his young stars is a relief - to him and fans.

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