Melbourne and Canberra will both open their ABL seasons this weekend, as they host Brisbane and Canberra respectively. What are the keys for victory? Our eyes on the ground break it down. All dates and times listed are local.
Brisbane Bandits (Alex Chisholm) – Yet again Brisbane’s sluggish starts to a series got the better of them as they continue their streak of drawn series. It’s probably fair to say they are the drawn series specialists of the ABL as they continue their form from last season. Early victories are going to be key and that means the bats are going to need to fire from the first pitch tomorrow night. If that happens, the Bandits win the series.
Melbourne Aces (Chris Meister) – The key to the Aces winning the series over the Brisbane Bandits is to stop the big inning. Too often in the past two seasons, Melbourne look good but give up one big inning defensively either from the starting pitcher or the from the pen. If they can keep this from happening over the weekend against a dangerous Bandits offence, it will bring their hitters into play and give Tommy Thompson the flexibility to use his pitchers in the right situations throughout the series.
Sydney Blue Sox @ Canberra Cavalry – November 6th: 7pm, November 7th: 7pm, November 8th: 7pm, November 9th: 6pm.
Sydney Blue Sox (Murray Conallin) –The Blue Sox, fresh off a series split with the Perth Heat head down the Hume Highway to take on the Cavalry. The Sox started red hot against the Heat winning the first two games and will have to take that offensive strike power down to the Nations capital if they want a series win.
It will also be interesting to see how Manager Jason Pospishil works the starting rotation this weekend or of he sticks solid with the four who started against the Heat.
Canberra Cavalry (Mel Leach) – After not only losing the ABL Championship Series to Perth last year but also losing the Hume Highway Cup, the Canberra Cavalry will have a lot to prove in their opening series against arch-rivals the Sydney Blue Sox this weekend.
The Cavalry will be looking for their pitchers to really shut down the Blue Sox offense. The Blue Sox scored 26 runs against the Heat last week with some hot hitting from Oeltjen and Kandilas. The Cavs will be relying on ABL veteran Brian Grening and returning pitcher Tim Atherton to keep the Blue Sox out of the game.
With the Cavalry’s terrible away performance last season it’s lucky their first series is at home, hopefully they will be able to use the home crowd to get them off to a winning start.