12 February 2018

Preview: Title challenge begins as Cavalry head west

| Dominic Unwin
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Boss Moanaroa is ready for a big series. Photo: SMP Images/ James Worsfold.

The Canberra Cavalry will look to secure their place in the Australian Baseball League final when they travel west to face the Perth Heat in their semi-final.

The winner of the series, starting today (2 February), will earn a shot at either the Brisbane Bandits or Melbourne Aces for the right to hold aloft the Claxton Shield.

What happened last week?

The Cavs split their last series at Narrabundah Ballpark 2-all with the Brisbane Bandits. With both teams having already qualified for the playoffs the series served as a good warm-up for their respective semi-finals.

Canberra went down in the opener 5-4 before reversing that scoreline in the second. Sunday’s double-header served up two markedly different encounters with the Cavalry edging the third game 6-5 before being well beaten 12-2 later in the day.

Perth’s eyes on the prize

Similar to Canberra, the Heat also played a fellow finals side in the form of the Melbourne Aces during their last regular season match up. The similarities don’t end there as they also split the series with 10-9 and 7-5 wins sandwich between 9-2 and 6-3 loses.

The Heat ended the season 2.5 games behind league leaders Brisbane and will fancy their chances at home against the Cavalry. They comfortably dealt with the men in orange last time around in Perth including a record-breaking 32-10 thumping in the final game.

Players to watch

Cavalry – Jay Baum

The recently crowned Cavalry MVP of season 2017/18, Baum will be front and centre in his team’s quest for a grand final appearance. The American boasts a .439 batting average this season and will hold the ABL record if he continues hitting at that consistency throughout the playoffs. With Perth’s offence guaranteed to keep the scoreboard ticking over, the Cavs will need Baum to return serve if they want to be in with a chance.

Heat – Michael Brosseau

Going on stats, the Brosseau is almost a doppelganger for Baum. The Heat infielder has posted near identical statistics to his Cavalry counterpart. He is hot on the heels of Baum with a .427 batting average and just pips him for on-base percentage with .496. The Cavalry bullpen will have to be firing on all cylinders to keep the Perth hitter in check.

Did you know?

Have you checked out our “get to know your Cavalry” segment? Each week we sit down with a Cavs star and get to know the person behind the player. You can find our chat with slugger David Kandilas here!

When and where?

Game one: Friday 2 February @ 10pm

Game two: Saturday 3 February @ 10pm

Game three: Sunday 4 February @ 7pm

Times AEST

All game at Baseball Park, Perth.

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