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ABLCS preview: Brisbane vs Perth
ABL dynasties square off in blockbuster decider
01/30/2019 10:46 PM ET

It all comes down to this!

Australian baseball's modern-day dynasties Brisbane and Perth will go head-to-head in the 2019 ABL Championship Series presented by Boral starting tonight.

The Bandits are after an unprecedented fourth Claxton Shield in as many years and the Heat a fifth title in the Brut Australian Baseball League's nine-year history.

Brisbane and Perth's run to the ABLCS was not without obstacles, despite both topping their divisions by the end of the season.

The Bandits battled injury woes and held the fourth-best record in the ABL at the midway point of the season before a red-hot 10-3 finish lifted them to the North-East Division title.

The Heat claimed the South-West Division crown on the second-to-last day of the regular season after a shock loss to Geelong-Korea on January 13 left them requiring results to go their way in round 10.

Perth then recovered from a game one loss in its ABLSF against Sydney.

This weekend's best-of-three series puts the ABL's two best offences against each other.

The Heat and Brisbane finished the regular season one and two for runs scored and homers.

Perth averaged 7.2 runs per game, compared to 6.1 by the Bandits.

Brisbane led the league with 68 homers, followed by the Heat with 51.

The Bandits will send left-hander Ryan Bollinger to the mound in game one in a bid to stop Perth's offence.

Bollinger produced his best start of the season to lift Brisbane to a game one ABLSF victory over Canberra last Friday.

The San Diego Padres prospect allowed one run in eight innings with five strikeouts.

Bollinger will come up against Heat lefty John Anderson.

Anderson went 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA during six regular-season outings and gave up five runs against Sydney last weekend.

Perth has home advantage in game one ahead of the series shifting to Brisbane for game two and three (if required).


When they last met

Perth took three of four games when the teams met in Brisbane during December.

The Heat outscored the Bandits 42-27, including 26-12 in a sweep of their Saturday doubleheader.

Perth homered 10 times to eight and finished with 56 hits to 35.

Now departed catcher Chris Betts drove in seven runs for the Heat, with Tristan Gray, Robbie Glendinning and Tim Kennelly each recording five RBI.

Brisbane utility TJ Bennett was 6-for-14 with two homers and six RBI.


Playoff history

Despite being the dominant teams in the relaunched ABL, Brisbane and Perth have never met in the postseason.

The Heat are into their sixth Championship Series in the ABL's nine-year history while the Bandits are into their fourth-straight decider.

Perth claimed four of the first five titles, twice going back-to-back, and Brisbane is chasing a historic four-peat.

The Heat are 8-5 in ABLCS games and the Bandits 6-1.


Probable starters

Game 1: Ryan Bollinger @ John Anderson

Game 2: Conor Lourey @ Tim Atherton

Game 3 (if required): TBA @ Travis Blackley


Series information

Game 1: Tonight, 7pm AWST at Perth Harley-Davidson Ballpark, Thornlie WA

Game 2: Saturday, 6pm AEST at OneHub Stadium powered by Optus, Newmarket, QLD

Game 3 (if required): Sunday, 4pm AEST at OneHub Stadium powered by Optus, Newmarket, QLD


Broadcast guide

Click here to view full 2019 #ABLCS presented by Boral broadcast guide prediction

Brisbane 2-0. The Bandits have been here before and enter this year's series with more experience than Perth. They've also hit stride at the right time of the season. Ryan Bollinger produced his best start of the season in the Bandits' ABLSF opener and will provide a platform for another Claxton Shield.


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