Without playing, the Melbourne Aces have clinched a spot in the ABL Championship Series. As you could read here yesterday, everything was possible, even a scenario in which the Adelaide Bite would clinch a spot in the ABLCS right away. But then the Bite should win all four games and the Aces had to lose all games vs Perth, an unlikely scenario.
Today the Adelaide Bite hosted the Sydney BlueSox. With a win, they would have their own fate in their own hands. But the BlueSox appeared to be a spoiler.
After two innings, the Bite had a 3-1 lead over the BlueSox but Jack O’Loughlin could not cling on to the lead as he allowed Sydney to tie the game in the third inning. With runners on the corners, Tucker Neuhaus flied out to left field. A throwing error by third baseman Stefan Welch allowed Malik Collymore to score and Alex Howe to advance to third base.
A single by Jacob Younis drove in Howe to tie the game at three.
With the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning, Joshua Dean grounded into a 4-6 force out that allowed Tucker Neuhaus and Stone Garrett to score and give the BlueSox a two-run lead.
But the Bite had to do something. With runners in scoring position, Jordan McArdle hit a sac fly to right field, that allowed Marcus Greene jr. to score and bring Melbourne within a run of Sydney.
Both teams had quite an opportunity to add some more runs to their total in the ninth, but both teams failed to do so.
Dutchie Loek van Mil retired the first batter in the ninth, but then gave up a walk, a single and hit Tucker Neuhaus with a pitch to load the bases but with two strikeouts he got out the inning without any damage. With this scoreless outing, Van Mil lowered his ERA to .042.
Josh van Steensel entered the ninth inning in relief for Sydney. He started his outing with giving up a double to Jordan Cowan. After retiring the next two hitters, he hit Stefan Welch with a pitch and loaded the bases as he walked Josh Altmann. But he earned the save as he struck out Angus Roeger for the final out. Vaughan Harris earned the win after pitching two innings in which he gave up a run on two hits and a walk and he struck out three.