In the weekend around New Year’s Eve, the Melbourne Aces extended their lead in the standings by winning three out of four. They were able to do so as the runner up, the Canberra Cavalry split the series against the Perth Heat. The Adelaide Bite won the first two games of their series vs the Brisbane Bandits, but then lost the final two in Saturday’s double header.
After the Sydney BlueSox tied the series against them on Friday, the Melbourne Aces showed that they are to top team of the ABL by beating Sydney 6-4 on Saturday and by 4-1 on Sunday.
On Saturday, the BlueSox managed to take a lead twice but eventually German Sven Schuller wasn’t able to salvage the lead as he gave up three runs on three hits and a walk to hand the Aces a 6-4 victory
The foundation for the Aces’ victory on Sunday was laid in the fifth inning. Trailing 1-0, the Aces produced three runs in that inning as Mike Walker and Allan de San Miguel hit back-to-back doubles that drove in one run, followed by a single and a walk to load the bases. The second run was scored on a single by Jared Cruz and the third run crossed home plate when Jarryd Dale grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. The Aces eventually won this game 4-1.
Former Curacao Neptunus pitchers Dushan Ruzic and Craig Anderson had mixed results. Anderson beat Jeremy Guthrie as he pitched five frames in which he allowed one unearned run on four hits, walked one and fanned three. Ruzic lasted 5.2 innings in which he gave up just two runs on five hits, walked one and struck out three, but because Peter Moylan blew the save in the ninth, Ruzic got the no-decision in the 6-4 victory over Sydney.
All other teams played a double header on Saturday.
The Brisbane Bandits hosted the Adelaide Bite and salvaged the series as they won the last two games after they had lost the previous two.
In the first game of the double header, former Dutch hoofdklasse pitcher Justin Erasmus, lasted for four innings in which he gave up three runs on seven hits. His opponent, Steven Chambers did a lot worse as he lasted only 2.2 innings after giving up six runs on eight hits.
Trailing 13-7, the Bite started a rally in the seventh inning, but after they scored trhee runs the rally fell short and they lost 13-10.
In the second game of the double header, the Bite was not match for the Bandits as they lost 13-5.
German Donald Lutz had a good series. After going 3 for 9 in the first two games, he went 3 for 3 with a homerun and two RBI in the first game of the double header. In the second game he went 0 for 4 but still managed to drive in a run.
After the Canberra Cavalry and the Perth Heat had won a game each of the first to confrontations, they did the same in the double header.
In the first game, the Heat the 7-0 win was rather flattered. In the first six innings the game was pretty close, but the Cavalry managed to score five runs in the seventh inning to get to this result.
The second game between the two was much more of a game. After Canberra had taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, the Heat bounced back in the bottom of that innning. Back-to-back-to-back singles loaded the bases before Sam Kenneley drove in two with a single to center field. A bases loaded ground out by Joey Wong, drove in the go-ahead run for Perth. From that moment on the Heat never looked back and walked off with a 7-4 victory.
Thanks to the three wins, the Melbourne Aces (18-6) now have a five game lead over second place Canberra (13-11). The Adelaide Bite is in third place with a 12-12 record followed by the Brisbane Bandits (11-13) who are in fourth place. The Sydney BlueSox are fifth with a 10-14 record, two games ahead of the Perth Heat (8-16).