In the second game of the Championship Series of the Australian Baseball League, it was a must-win situation for the Melbourne Aces. But in this game, all things worked out just fine for the Brisbane Bandits as they beat the Melbourne Aces 3-1 and repeated as Australian champion.
After the Bandits took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Thomas Milone scored from third on a fly ball single to left field, hit by Wade Dutton.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Cody Jones personally tied the game with a leadoff homerun that cleared the right field fence.
In the top of the sixth, Aces manager Jon Deeble, pulled Josh Tolls in favor of Jon Kennedy. But this appeared to be a bad move. After he retired the first batter, he gave up a walk to Kevin Padlo, followed by a single by Thomas Milone that allowed Padlo to advance to third base. Allan De San Miguel could not hang on to a pitch and Padlo scored the go-ahead run.
The next hitter, David Sutherland, drew a walk and that was a sign for manager Deeble to replace Kennedy with Sam Street. After third baseman Matthew Zablan could not make the transition after he dove to field the ball hit by Wade Dutton, the Bandits loaded the bases. Eventually, they scored an insurance run on a 4-3 ground out, hit by Aaron Whitefield, that allowed Thomas Milone to score.
In the meantime, Kramer Champlin cruised through seven innings as he pitched a one-hitter and struck out four, only allowing Cody Jones to hit that solo homerun in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Champlin’s replacement, Ryan Rowland-Smith, only faced one batter, Mike Walker who singled on a bunt towards third base. Closer Ryan Searle entered the game and retired the first batter he faced before giving up a line drive single to Liam Bedford and a single to Ryan Dale to load the bases with one out. But the Aces could not cash in as Ryan Searle kept his cool and retired the next two batters on strikeouts.
Peter Moylan kept the Aces in the game for the final two innings, so it all came down to the ninth for the Aces. But Ryan Searle did not cooperate as he retired the side for the win and the second championship for the Bandits in a row.
The Bandits came off a slow start this season, but eventually, they peaked at the right time by reaching the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, then beat the Adelaide Bite in a convincing way to clinch a spot in the ABLCS.
Kramer Champlin earned the win and Ryan Searle earned his second save of the ABLCS. Jon Kennedy took the loss after 0.1 inning in which he was tabbed for two runs on a hit and two walks.
Best hitter was Thomas Milone, who went 2 for 4 with two runs scored.