If the 2018-19 Australian Baseball League playoffs started today, the Canberra Cavalry would be playing, but only just.
One game is all that seperates the Cavalry from the Adelaide Bite, who are yapping at the heals of the Cavalry as the season draws to a close. With only three series remaining before playoffs begin, the Cavs are desperate to continue their charge to their second Claxton Shield.
Canberra has an intimidating run home, with home series against Sydney this weekend, followed by a trek to Brisbane to play the defending champions before finishing the season at home against Perth.
Cavs pitcher Steve Kent said the side is focusing on one game at a time, starting with tonight’s clash against arch-rivals Sydney Blue Sox, who sit atop the ABL Northeast Conference.
The last time the sides played, the Cavalry walked away with a 3-1 series win but Kent is still wary of the conference leaders.
“Since we last played them, they seemed to have hit their stride,” he said. “We are confident in our ability and we have a really good team. We haven’t hit our straps yet but now is the time.
“We are taking the rest of the season one game at a time and we have to go out there and win tonight.
“We need to keep pitching well and get our bats going and start to build up some consistency. We have been a bit up and down the last few weeks but hopefully we can all get it going together this weekend.”
The Cavs will be boosted with the return of outfielder Michael Crouse and relief pitcher Madison Younginer, who will help provide extra depth to the side in their run to the playoffs.
Cavalry fans will also witness an unusual sight this weekend as Canberra legend and cult hero Jack Murphy returns to MIT Ballpark but in the opposing team dugout. Murphy spent four memorable years in the Capital which included an ABL Championship series and an Asia Series Championship in 2013.
Murphy was an integral part in the growth of the club and despite now playing for the club’s rivals, Kent believes the fans will give him a warm welcome.
“In Jack’s time here he turned into a cult figure in Canberra and he will still have plenty of fans here,” he said. “I’m sure when he will come up to bat he will get plenty of applause.
“For us, he is just another guy on Sydney’s team and we will be going out there to strike him out and not let him get any hits.”
Canberra Cavalry vs Sydney Blue Sox at MIT Ballpark
Thursday 7 pm, Friday 7 pm, Saturday 7 pm, Sunday 4 pm