WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC 2017

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In the winter preceding the formation of the new Australian Baseball League the ABL's administration sought negotiations with 'Flintoff & Dunn' in order to reach an agreement that would see us become official Media Partners of the new league.
We are pleased to announce that an agreement was reached and signed so that 'Flintoff & Dunn' will be recognised as Media Partners.
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ADELAIDE BITE

BRISBANE BANDITS

CANBERRA CAVALRY

MELBOURNE ACES

PERTH HEAT

SYDNEY BLUE SOX

For Previous F&D WEEKEND WRAP Reports for 2016/17, click below:

WEEK 1

WEEK 2

WEEK 3

WEEK 4

WEEK 5

WEEK 6

WEEK 7

WEEK 8

WEEK 9

WEEK 10

PRELIMINARY FINAL

 

11 FEB 2017 - BANDITS BACK-TO-BACK CHAMPIONS 2-0 OVER ACES!

OVERVIEW:   ACES - 3R  12H  0E  v  BANDITS - 9R  18H  0E. You wouldn't need us to explain that three runs scored over two nine inning games is very, very rarely enough to get any type of positive result. In this case Melbourne's paucity of offence saw it swept aside in two straight Championship Series games on home turf. Although it wasn't quite good enough, Melbourne's pitching battled manfully enough to keep them in both contests for for the most part and they were entitled to expect more run support. In the end Brisbane's all-round balance of pitching, defence and offence came through to secure them successive ABL Championships from two road finals series.

 
 

WEEK 12 - CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES - Game 1 - 10 FEB 2017 - Melbourne Ballpark

 

Team

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E

BRISBANE

2 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 6 10 0

MELBOURNE

0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 0
REPORT:  Forget about that well worn baseball debate about the superiority of pitching versus hitting, the theory that came to mind strongly while watching this Championship Series Game 1 tonight was that recent form certainly tops ancient history!
Alright, it is hardly ancient history, but the fact that Melbourne held a 7-1 winning advantage over the Bandits this season meant little compared with the late season offensive surge enjoyed by the Bandits. Coming off a confidence boosting offensive barrage in their Preliminary Final win over Adelaide, the Bandits rolled into Melbourne on the crest of a wave. Conversely, the Melbourne Aces limped toward the post season with a scuffling offence after building a huge lead in the standings with some terrific all-round performances.
Brisbane rode to victory tonight on the back of four home run balls and the momentum was with them right from the outset at Melbourne Ballpark on a very pleasant evening. The Aces placed much of their hopes in the capable hands, or right arm, of former major league pitcher Mark Hamburger and, although he was a gallant contributor once again, the Bandits got the better of him and Melbourne was simply unable to keep pace with their run scoring. Hamburger re-grouped from a battling start to strike out ten Bandits while taking the ball through eight innings, but he didn't deliver the win that Melbourne badly wanted from him on this big occasion.
Hamburger did look hard done by in the very first inning when, after Aaron Whitefield got the game started with a leadoff single, he didn't get the benefit of one or two very close pitches as former major leaguer Trent Oeltjen worked him to a full count. Oeltjen knew that a fastball strike was coming and he didn't miss it with a two-run "jack' disappearing over right centre. Melbourne had still not secured the first out and already much of the festivity had been knocked out of home fans. Hamburger again had to battle in the top of the second when Brisbane rallied once more and he did well to give up just one run on a rather fortunate infield pop-up that fluttered to ground.
Like he did in the Preliminary Final, Brisbane manager Dave Nilsson turned to unlikely starter Justin Erasmus who did just enough to keep his nose in front. Mike Walker led off the bottom of the second with a double and Melbourne plated two via RBI singles from Jared Cruz and Cody Jones. At that stage the Aces were feeling quite good about trailing only 2-3, given Brisbane's offensive dominance, but those good feelings soon subsided again in the top of the third. Dangerous import David Rodriguez lofted a swirling shot to the right field corner and Melbourne fans groaned in unison when the umpire signalled that it was fair by inches when it just cleared the low part of the fence.
With a two run advantage, Nilsson rung the pitching changes and he used a committee of arms to keep the Aces bats off balance. Once again the back end of his bullpen proved tough to attack with Rick Teasley grabbing the win, Zac Treece taking a hold and Ryan Searle closing out the final two frames in customary "lights out" style, including four punch outs! The game had vanished all too quickly for the hosts.
Before the last rites were administered Brisbane took the opportunity to pad their advantage in the top of the eighth against a tiring Hamburger who deserved better in what is surely his last appearance of the 2017 season. With two out in the inning, Logan Wade and Kevin Padlo piled on the pain for dejected Melbourne supporters with back-to-back long balls that made the score line bulge.
The upshot is that the Brisbane Bandits require just one more win to become Champions for successive seasons. Melbourne's solace will come from the often used axiom in these situations that their assignment hasn't changed in that they still need to win two games to take the title. Of course the big difference is that they can no longer afford to lose one. I know who wears the more comfortable shoes right now!
Momentum is certainly a big thing in sport yet, in baseball especially, it can be a fleeting thing.

MELBOURNE ACES

BRISBANE BANDITS

PITCHING:

Mark HAMBURGER (L,0-1)  8.0ip 10h 6r 6er 1bb 10k;
Dushan RUZIC  1.0ip 0h 0r 0er 1bb 2k

OFFENCE:

Cody JONES 3-4 (RBI); Jared CRUZ 1-3 (RBI); Mike WALKER 1-4 (D);
Roman COLLINS 1-3; Allan de SAN MIGUEL 1-4;
Matthew ZABLAN 1-4

PITCHING:

Justin ERASMUS  2.1ip 6h 2r 2er 1bb 1k;
Ryan ROWLAND-SMITH  0.1ip 0h 0r 0er 0bb 0k;
Ty'Relle HARRIS  0.1ip 0h 0r 0er 0bb 0k;
Rick TEASLEY (W,2-0)  2.2ip 1h 0r 0er 2bb 1k;
Zac TREECE (H,1)  1.1ip 1h 0r 0er 0bb 3k;
Ryan SEARLE  2.0ip 0h 0r 0er 0bb 4k

OFFENCE:

Logan WADE 3-4 (HR-RBI); Kevin PADLO 2-4 (HR-RBI);
David RODGRIGUEZ 1-4 (HR-RBI); Trent OELTJEN 1-5 (HR-2RBI);
David SUTHERLAND 1-3 (RBI); Thomas MILONE 1-3;
Aaron WHITEFIELD 1-5

 
 

WEEK 12 - CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES - Game 2 - 11 FEB 2017 - Melbourne Ballpark

 

Team

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E

BRISBANE

0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 8 0

MELBOURNE

0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0
REPORT:  The Brisbane Bandits have gone back-to-back as Australian Baseball League Champions after turning over the Melbourne Aces at Melbourne Ballpark tonight. Largely fuelled by an offensive power surge over the last few weeks of the 2017 season, Brisbane went from unlikely finalists, to scraping into third place, to winning a Preliminary Final and then sweeping to the Championship in two straight games.
Many statistics could show that the Bandits relied heavily on their stacked batting lineup, and that is fair enough, yet you simply cannot win any baseball title without a solid measure of pitching and defence. In a game that was hard fought tonight, Brisbane received a mighty start from lanky import Kramer Champlin who rose to the big occasion in tremendous style with seven strong innings that allowed Melbourne just one run from one solitary hit. He was pretty much matched by Melbourne's Josh Tols who wasn't as dominant, yet he found most of the answers at the right moments to allow just one run over his five frames. Brisbane was one the scoreboard first when a leadoff walk in the top of the second compounded into a two out RBI single from Wade Dutton. The Aces found a brief moment of euphoria when Cody Jones crushed one over right field for a game tying run as the lead off batter in the bottom of the fourth. However, as mentioned, that was the only hit that could be inflicted upon Champlin who settled back into his neat work that was characterised by ten ground ball outs. It was top stuff!
The decisive inning of the game arrived in the top of the sixth when young Melbourne pro Jon Kennedy replaced Tols on the bump and the pressure of the situation might have contributed to some lack of control. A couple of one out walks, a single and a passed ball virtually gifted the Bandits a big go-ahead run before Kennedy was lifted in favour of another young pro Sam Street. Brisbane manufactured another highly valuable run on Aaron Whitefield's ground out and that proved to be the only scoring necessary to secure the Championship.
As usual, the rubber stamp on the title was applied by closer Ryan Searle who earned his second save of the post season with two potent innings at the end of the game that produced four more strike out victims as the Aces' bats remained in the deep freeze.
Major league pitcher Pete Moylan did his best at the bitter end for Melbourne with three commanding innings at the death, but his team mates were unable to back him with any run support. That has become an all too familiar lament for the Aces toward the end of what was a tremendous season that saw them lead the ABL standings by a remarkable eight games coming into Week 9. By any measure it was a great season for them to rise from the dungeon and become Championship favourites, yet you can't help feeling that their offensive mojo went away on the plane to Venezuela when dynamic Atlanta Braves import Ronald Acuna unexpectedly had to go home. To be honest, the warning sirens were already blaring before this home Grand Final series started and those worst fears were only confirmed.
Take nothing away from the resilient Brisbane Bandits who played their best baseball when the season was on the line for them and their well balanced lineup is a formidable mixture of home-grown talent and high quality import players. As we mentioned in an earlier report, in boxing terms you have to beat the champ to become the champ and the Bandits will remain the measuring stick for at least another season.
These Championships are hard to win and to go back-to-back is a rather special thing. Hats off to the Brisbane Bandits for 2017!

MELBOURNE ACES

BRISBANE BANDITS

PITCHING:

Josh TOLS  5.0ip 5h 1r 1er 3bb 6k;
Jon KENNEDY (L,0-1)  0.1ip 1h 2r 2er 2bb 0k;
Sam STREET  0.1ip 0h 0r 0er 0bb 0k;
Daniel McGRATH  0.1ip 0h 0r 0er 0bb 1k;
Peter MOYLAN  3.0ip 2h 0r 0er 0bb 3k

OFFENCE:

Liam BEDFORD 1-3; Mike WALKER 1-3; Ryan DALE 1-1;
Cody JONES 1-4 (HR-RBI)

PITCHING:

Kramer CHAMPLIN (W,1-0)  7.0ip 1h 1r 1er 0bb 4k;
Ryan ROWLAND-SMITH  0.0ip 1h 0r 0er 0bb 0k;
Ryan SEARLE (S,2)  2.0ip 2h 0r 0er 0bb 4k

OFFENCE:

Wade DUTTON 2-4 (RBI); Thomas MILONE 2-4;
Logan WADE 1-4 (D); David RODRIGUEZ 1-4;
Aaron WHITEFIELD 1-5 (RBI); Mitch NILSSON 1-5;

SERIES STARS:  Logan Wade had four hits from the two Championship Series games, including a double and a home run to take the series MVP honours in deserving fashion. Melbourne had very little to smile about offensively, aside from import Cody Jones who returned from injury with four of the Aces' twelve hits across the two games, including their only home run in Game 2.
Brisbane's Game 2 starter Kramer Champlin was easily the star pitcher of the two games, although Melbourne's gallant Game 1 loser Mark Hamburger tried his best to give the hosts a chance to take the vital opening game.