Four teams have taken the field through the first week of the 2014/15 ABL season. How does your team look either after, or heading into their first clash?
1. Perth Heat (Season high-1 , Last week – 3) – The Heat are back at the top of the ABL pile and it’s down to their amazing ability to fight themselves out of a hole. Heading into the second game of the twin bill on Saturday, it looked for all money like the Heat were going to lose to the Blue Sox on Opening Weekend for the second straight season. A four-pitcher, five-hit shutout was the cornerstone of a 5-0 victory in game three, with Allen de San Miguel’s two out, two RBI single in the eighth was the icing on the cake for their first victory of the season. The series finale saw the Perth Heat that teams have feared across the last five seasons. Fifteen runs in the last four innings to overcome a four run deficit not only sealed a series split, but the Heat taking top spot on the Power Rankings for the first time.
2. Adelaide Bite (Season high-1, Last week – 1) – The Bite fall from top spot after surrendering a two game lead over the Brisbane Bandits to give up a split. An ABL record 23-3 victory over the Bandits on Friday night included three home runs for Mitch Dening on the night and shows the potential in the Adelaide bats. An inability to score in bunches cost the Bite on Saturday and Sunday, where they had just two multi-run innings over their last two games. A three-run ninth inning on Saturday saw a one run loss, while a two-run inning was all the production the Bite saw on Sunday.
3. Sydney Blue Sox (Season high-2, Last week-2) – The Blue Sox move to third this week on the back of a weekend which saw two different Blue Sox outfits. Friday and the first game on Saturday saw the dominant Blue Sox who have reached four straight ABL Preliminary Finals, while the second game on Saturday and the Sunday final saw the side who have been plagued by their inability to finish across the history of the league. The low point for the Sox came with the bullpen given up 13 runs on 16 hits over 3.1 innings. David Kandilas served as the high point for the Sox as he drove in eight runs across the series.
4. Brisbane Bandits (Season high-4, Last week-4) – Would the real Brisbane Bandits please stand up? The only ABL team without a playoff berth got off to a slow start, conceding 31 runs across the first two games of their series against Adelaide. The back end of the series saw Ryan Searle shut down the Bite, striking out 12 over 7.1 innings. Granden Goetzman and Maxx Tissenbaum combined for eight RBIs and were instrumental in the Bandits fightback.
5.Canberra Cavalry (Season high-5, Last week-5) – It’s tough to move a team that haven’t played. The Cavs look like they will have a good range of offensive weapons, but depth in the pitching is the primary concern in Canberra. The one-time ABL champs are going to need a fast start to the season if they are going to add another title.
6. Melbourne Aces (Season high-6, Last week-6)- As per Canberra, the Aces stay put after being inactive in ABL action last weekend. Experienced hitting will be key for the Aces this weekend against the Bandits. A 9-1 victory over the Baseball Victoria Division 2 All-Stars was a strong finish to a preseason where confidence is at an all-time high under new manager Tommy Thompson.