The Adelaide Bite needed one more win on Saturday in the tenth round to clinch a play off spot. It seemed that their opponent, the Sydney BlueSox did everything to help them. Other games that were scheduled were the Brisbane Bandits @ Canberra Cavalry and the Melbourne Aces @ Perth Heat.
On the opening day of the tenth round, the Adelaide Bite still had a chance to reach the championship series directly. But it was an unlikely scenario in which they had to win all games and the Melbourne Aces had to lose all. The Sydney BlueSox appeared to be the spoiler for the Bite as they won this game. Without even playing the Aces clinched the spot in the championship series. While the Aces lost their first game in the tenth round on Friday vs the Perth Heat, they got their revenge as they beat Perth 7-1 in the first game of the double header on Saturday.After Perth had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Aces came back in the third as they scored three runs. A one run fourth and another three run inning in the sixth, extended their lead to six runs, which was too much to overcome for the Heat. Virgil Vasquez earned the win after pitching six innings in which he limited the Heat to six hits, walked two and struck out three. Tom Bailey took the loss and his numbers tell the story pretty well. Of the four runs that he allowed, only one was earned as the Heat committed three errors.
Next to the Adelaide Bite, two other teams had a chance to reach the play offs. The Brisbane Bandits battled the Canberra Cavalry for that second play off spot.
Trailing Canberra by half a game in the standings, the Bandits took their fate in their own hands as they won Thursday’s game 8-5. But the Cavalry bounced back on Friday as they won 4-1. If these two games did not show that both team were each other’s equals, then Saturday’s game did. after eight innings the game was tied at four. Brisbane took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning on back-to-back solo shots by David Rodriguez and Logan Wade and a two out solo shot by David Sutherland. But Canberra would bounce back with a two run second inning and a one run third.
In the top of the fourth, Brisbane took another (one run) lead but it did not last long as the Cavalry scored on back-to-back doubles by Scott Kelly and Josh Almonte.
Both teams failed to score in the next innings, so extra innings were needed. But after both teams did not score in the tenth either, the tie-breaker rule was implemented in the eleventh innings. With runners on first and second, the Brisbane Bandits did not quite show how to produce a run in a situation like this. Cavalry relief pitcher Zech Lemond struck out the first two batters he faced. But then David Rodriguez doubled to center field on a ground ball and drove in, what appeared to be the winning run.
Aaron Searle pitched the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh inning in relief for the win. In 3.2 innings Searle only gave up one hit and he fanned three.
Best hitter for the Bandits was game winner David Rodriguez, who went 3 for 5 with a double, a homerun, two RBI and a run scored.
Thanks to this win, the Bandits have taken a half game lead over the Cavalry, but still the latter can clinch a play off spot with a win tomorrow. So for both teams it is a must win situation tomorrow.
The Adelaide Bite took on the Sydney BlueSox at home. This weekend they needed two more wins to secure a play off spot. After losing the first game vs Sydney, they made the first step towards the play offs by winning the second game of this series 5-2, in which former Dutch hoofdklasse pitcher Craig Anderson took the loss. With nothing at stake for Sydney, the BlueSox took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second. But the Bite would tie the game by scoring a run in the bottom of the second and each of the next two innings. BlueSox starting pitcher Luke Wilkins had problems with finding the strikezone in the fourth and the fifth and he did not get any help of his defense. In the bottom of the fourth, second baseman Ryo Nishimura killed a double play as he bobbled a ball hit by Jordan McArdle that allowed McArdle to reach first base safely and Marcus Greene to advance to third. A 5-3 ground out hit by Karl Hoschke, drove in Green for the game tying run. In fhte fifth, two more errors would cost the BlueSox dearly. Catcher Guy Edmonds approached a pop up fly in fould territory a bit too casual and dropped it. Instead of recording the second out, this gave Angus Roeger a chance to get on base as he hit towards third where Joshua Strong committed another error to load the bases. A bases loaded walk given up by Luke Wilkins, gave the Bite a one run lead. That was enough for BlueSox manager Jason Pospishil, who replaced Wilkins with 41-year old Korean pitcher Gyoung-Wan Lim. In an interesting matchup with 18-year old Jordan McArdle, the 18-year old hit a grand slam to left field to give the Bite a commanding five run lead.
Eventually the Bite won 15-3 and clinched that first spot in the play offs.
A sign of the BlueSox pitching woes was Aaron Sookee, who threw over fourty pitches and did not manage to record more than one out in the sixth inning.
Devon Barker pitched five innings for the win in which he gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits. He also walked as many as he struck out: three.
Best hitter for the Bite was Mitch Dening, who went 4 for 5 with two runs scored.
So the play off landscape is almost set with Melbourne already in the ABLCS and Adelaide clinching the first spot in the play offs today. If the Bandits win tomorrow, they will head to the play offs too. Otherwise they will have to play a make up game on Monday vs the Sydney BlueSox, the game that rained out two weeks ago. If the Bandits will that game then, both Brisbane as Canberra will be tied for the second play off spot. In that case the Bandits will advance as they have won more games in the head-to-head competition against the Cavalry. Right now the Bandits beaten the Cavalry five times out of seven.