2010–11 Australian Baseball League regular season

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The 2010–11 Australian Baseball League regular season was held from 6 November 2010 through to 22 January 2011. All six teams competed in a double round-robin format, playing each other team in two series of four games each, totalling 40 games played each.[1] The top four teams progressed to the postseason. The winner of the championship series will be awarded the Claxton Shield.[2]

At the end of the regular season, the Sydney Blue Sox finished in first place with a 24–15 win–loss record. Half a game behind Sydney were the Perth Heat in second place. The third place team was the Adelaide Bite a further game behind. The Melbourne Aces finished in fourth place six games behind the Blue Sox. The Brisbane Bandits and Canberra Cavalry, who played only 36 games due to 2010–2011 Queensland floods, finished in fifth and sixth place, eight and a half and ten and a half games behind the leader respectively.[3]

Standings[edit]

Key
Clinched major semi final berth
Clinched minor semi final berth
2010–11 regular season standings
Team[3] W L Pct. GB Home Road
Sydney Blue Sox 24 15 .615 12–7[S 1] 12–8
Perth Heat 24 16 .600 12 10–10 14–6
Adelaide Bite 23 17 .575 1 ​12 15–5 8–12[S 2][S 3]
Melbourne Aces 18 21 .462 6 11–9 7–12[S 1]
Brisbane Bandits 14 22 .389 8 ​12 6–10[S 3] 8–12
Canberra Cavalry 12 24 .333 10 ​12 11–9[S 2] 1–15
Notes
  1. ^ a b The third game played between Sydney and Melbourne in round 4 was called a tie with a score of 1–1 under ABL rule 5-6-8. The result is not counted towards the teams' standings. A game postponed from round 4, held in round 5, was played with the Melbourne Aces as the away team and the Sydney Blue Sox as the home team, despite being played at the Melbourne Showgrounds.
  2. ^ a b A game postponed from round 4, held in round 7, was played with the Adelaide Bite as the away team and the Canberra Cavalry as the home team, despite being played at Coopers Stadium, Adelaide.
  3. ^ a b Two games postponed from round 5, held in round 10, were played with the Adelaide Bite as the away team and the Brisbane Bandits as the home team, despite being played at Coopers Stadium, Adelaide.

Opening night[edit]

The season started on 6 November 2010, when the Sydney Blue Sox hosted the Canberra Cavalry at Blacktown Olympic Park. The Blue Sox won the inaugural game of the league, defeating the Cavalry 1–0. In what was effectively a pitchers' duel, Blue Sox starting pitcher Chris Oxspring was the stand-out performer for the night, having scattered 3 hits and 1 walk over 6 innings and striking out 8.[4] The Cavalry, however, opted to use several pitchers, each throwing two complete innings.[5]

Sydney left fielder Tim Auty registered the league's first hit of the season in the bottom of the first with a line drive single to centre field. Canberra did not register a hit until the fourth inning to see their first baserunner when third baseman Kyu-Hyun Moon singled to right field.[6]

The game had been scoreless through the first seven innings, despite Sydney loading the bases in the bottom of the sixth against reliever Lee Jung-Min: right fielder David Kandilas walked to lead off the inning, and was followed by third baseman Trent D'Antonio with a single to left field. Auty hit a sacrifice bunt to move both runners over, leading the Cavalry to intentionally walk centre fielder Mitch Dening. The Blue Sox were unable to capitalise on the opportunity, when designated hitter Patrick Maat struck out and catcher Andrew Graham grounded out.[7]

Sydney scored the only run of the night in the eighth inning against reliever Heo Jun-Hyeok. With two out, Auty singled to left field for his second hit of the night, then stole second base. He was then driven in by Dening, who singled to centre field. Dening also stole second, but was stranded there at the end of the inning. In the top of the ninth, relievers Matthew Williams and Koo Dae-Sung combined to close the game out, earning a hold and save respectively.[6]

6 November 2010 19:30 (UTC+11:00) at Blacktown Olympic Park, Sydney
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Canberra 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Sydney 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 X 1 4 0
WP: Wayne Lundgren (1–0)   LP: Heo Jun-Hyeok (0–1)   Sv: Koo Dae-Sung (1)
Attendance: 1,427
Boxscore

Round 1[edit]

The Melbourne Aces played the Adelaide Bite at Coopers Stadium in Adelaide, the Perth Heat played against the Brisbane Bandits at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground, and the Sydney Blue Sox and Canberra Cavalry continued their series at Blacktown Olympic Park for the first round of the season.[1]

Adelaide v Melbourne[edit]

The Adelaide Bite won its opening game for the season, defeating the Melbourne Aces 9–1, in large part due to the Paul Mildren's pitching and Ben Wigmore's hitting. Mildren pitched 7 scoreless innings, allowing 6 hits and struck out 5, while Wigmore went 4–for–5 with a double, a home run and 5 runs batted in.[8] Despite scoring first in the second inning through back-to-back doubles from Grant Karlsen and Itaru Hashimoto, the Aces lost the second game of the series 7–4. the Bite's starting pitcher Darren Fidge was once again the standout; he pitched 8 innings and allowed 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks, and struck out 7.[9] Quincy Latimore went 4–for–8 over the two games of the doubleheader; he hit a 3-run home run in the first inning and took a catch at the left field wall in the fifth inning of game one to help Adelaide to a 13–2 win,[10] then hit two more home runs in the second game where Adelaide won 8–3 to complete the series sweep.[11]

Brisbane v Perth[edit]

The Brisbane Bandits and the Perth Heat opened their seasons in Brisbane. The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Graeme Lloyd and caught by the Bandits' manager Dave Nilsson; the only all-Australian battery to appear in a Major League Baseball game and both Baseball Australia Hall of Fame inductees in their own right.[12] Despite Robbie Widlansky's two extra base hits and his scoring two runs, Perth was unable to take the lead at any point in the game. Brisbane's Wade Dutton, Shuhei Fukuda, Alan Schoenberger, and Joel Naughton each had multi-hit games to help the Bandits to an 8–3 win.[13] Widlansky was a key player for the Heat again in the second game, which Perth won 2–0, opening the scoring with a solo home run. Daniel Schmidt was the other key player; he was the starting pitcher and pitched 8 innings, allowing no runs on 5 hits and striking out 8 Bandits.[14] Perth also won both games of the doubleheader—4–2 in the day game and 4–1 in the night game—to win its opening series. In the day game Brandon Dale went 3–for–4 with a double and a run batted in, and Luke Hughes went 1–for–2 scoring 2 runs, including scoring a run from his lead-off triple in the fifth inning.[15] Heat pitchers Warwick Saupold, Tyler Anderson, Robert Sorensen, and Liam Hendriks combined to keep the Bandits to 1 run on 7 hits, striking out 11 Brisbane hitters.[16]

Sydney v Canberra[edit]

Six days after the opening night of the season Sydney and Canberra continued their series at Blacktown Olympic Park. Three of the Blue Sox's key players from that opening night gave repeat performances to defeat the Cavalry 4–2: Chris Oxspring was the starting pitcher for Sydney and pitched 8 innings, having allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and struck out 7 to earn the win; Koo Dae-Sung retired the three Cavalry hitters he faced for a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save; Mitch Dening hit a ground rule double with the bases loaded to drive in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning.[17] In the first game of the season to be called early as a result of the league's run differential rule, Sydney comfortably beat Canberra 13–3. Though the Blue Sox combined to hit 7–for–17 with runners in scoring position and 7 runs driven in with two out, they were aided by 2 wild pitches by Cavalry pitchers, 3 passed balls by catcher Michael Collins, and 4 errors in the field, resulting in only 3 of the 13 runs scored by the Blue Sox being earned.[18] Alex Johnson's 3-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning was the difference in the final game of the series, helping Sydney to a 7–5 win and to sweep Canberra 4–0 in the series.[19]

Round 2[edit]

The Perth Heat had their home opening series, hosting the Adelaide Bite at Baseball Park as did Canberra Cavalry in facing the Melbourne Aces at Narrabundah Ballpark. The Brisbane Bandits continued their homestand, playing the Sydney Blue Sox at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground.[1]

Perth v Adelaide[edit]

In their first game at home for the season, Perth defeated Adelaide 4–2. Matt Kennelly and Luke Hughes each hit home runs in the fourth and fifth innings respectively to lead the Heat offence.[20] Despite home runs from Evan McArthur and Ronnie Welty, Adelaide were able to square the series by winning 7–3 in the second game; James McOwen homered as part of the Bite's 6-run sixth inning, while Quincy Latimore hit his 4th home run of the season in the seventh.[21] Tied at 4–4 at the end of nine innings, game three went into extra innings. Ronnie Welty produced a walk-off home run in the bottom of the twelfth inning; his second home run in as many days to give the Heat a 6–4 win.[22] The final game of the series was won by Adelaide 4–3. Quincy Latimore hit an RBI-double in the top of the ninth inning to put the Bite in front. In trying to score the tying run, Matt Kennelly was thrown out at home plate by James McOwen in center field for the final out of the game.[23]

Canberra v Melbourne[edit]

Brisbane v Sydney[edit]

Round 3[edit]

The third round of the season had the same match-ups of teams from the previous round, but with a switch of home and away teams: the Adelaide Bite hosted the Perth Heat at Coopers Stadium, the Melbourne Aces had their home opener against the Canberra Cavalry at the Melbourne Showgrounds, and the Sydney Blue Sox faced the Brisbane Bandits at Blacktown Olympic Park.[1]

Adelaide v Perth[edit]

Melbourne v Canberra[edit]

The Melbourne Aces were scheduled to open their first home series of the season on Friday, 26 November but had to wait for two days and three games to be rained out. As a result, the series was shortened to two 7 inning games played on Sunday, 28 November.[24][25] In the first game the Aces scored all their runs from four home runs, including 2-run shots from Scott Wearne (2–for–3) in the first inning and Grant Karlsen (2–for–3 with a double) in the fourth, allowing Melbourne to win 6–2. Wearne hit another first-inning home run in the second game, but the highlight—also in the first inning—of the game was a grand slam from Takahiro Ijyuin. Both home runs helped to set up a comfortable 10–2 win for the Aces to complete a sweep of the shortened series. [26]

Sydney v Brisbane[edit]

Round 4[edit]

The Canberra Cavalry returned to the Narrabundah Ballpark to host the Adelaide Bite. The Perth Heat also returned to their home ground at Baseball Park to face the Brisbane Bandits, completing their season series. The Sydney Blue Sox completed their homestand against the Melbourne Aces at Blacktown Olympic Park.[1]

Canberra v Adelaide[edit]

As was the case for Canberra's previous series in Melbourne, the opening game of the series was called off because of the rain before a pitch was thrown. The game was rescheduled for the following day as part of a doubleheader.[28]

Perth v Brisbane[edit]

Brisbane dominated Perth in the first game of the series to win in 8–1. Alan Schoenberger led the offence for the Bandits, hitting 3–for–4 with a double and a run batted in, as did Shuhei Fukuda with a home run in the first at bat of the game. Hiroki Yamada was credited with the win on the mound, pitching for 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 8.[29]

Sydney v Melbourne[edit]