Sunday, 18 December 2011

ABL Week 7 - vs Canberra Cavalry

So after having the week off for week 6 of the season we were ready to rip in the the Canberra Cavalry. We added David Kandilas to the roster as well as Major League pitcher Brad Thomas.

Game 1
We won this game 1-0 and as the score suggests, it was a real pitchers duel. The only run that was scored in the game came in the 1st inning thanks to a Tyler Collins single which scored Mitch Dening from 3rd base. Craig Anderson, Matt Williams and Dae-Sung Koo combined to keep the Cavalry bats quiet all night with only 1 runner getting to 3rd base the entire game. Like in most 1-0 ball games, not much happened.

Game 2
We won this game 3-2 on a walk-off walk in the bottom of the 11th inning. We were down 2-0 heading into the 9th before we started a little rally and eventually tied it up when we were down to our last out. Mitch Dening hit a line drive single to left field to score the run from 3rd to send us into extra innings. Things became a little interesting in the bottom of the 9th though. As Tyler Collins grounded out to end the 9th words were shared between him and the Cavalry pitcher and then all of a sudden the benches had cleared. Once all that died down no team managed to get much going until we mounted another rally in the 11th. With loaded bases, the man that was in the middle of the benches clearing drove in the winning run, on a walk-off walk. Funny thing was, that he forgot that he had to go touch first base. He was ready to celebrate with the team, but we were all yelling at him to run up the line. So it was an entertaining night and we ended up on the right end of the scoreboard.

Game 3
We ran out 7-0 winners in game 3 of the series. It was a great all round team performance led by the dominant pitching by starter Aiden Francis who went 6 2/3 innings giving up 0 runs on 3 hits. Everyone that came up to bat got on base with Joey Hage going 3 for 4. It was a good game of baseball as we executed in the box with runners on base as well as playing really good defence.
With most games theres always something funny that stands out. In this case it came in the 4th inning when Jacob Younis lined a ball into centerfield when Pat Maat was on 2nd base. As Pat was rounding 3rd base and heading home the catcher had already received the ball when pat was about 10 feet away from the plate. Like most plays at home that are close the runner will most likely try and take out the catcher. Since Pat Maat is a big boy, he decided he would try and take out the catcher to dislodge the ball, but instead, the catcher got out of the way and gave Pat a clear path to home plate. You got to love baseball, see something new everyday.

Game 4
We completed the sweep with a resounding 11-0 victory. Once again we had great starting pitcher as Vaughan Harris continued his good form the throwing 7 shutout innings. Brandon Barnes and Boss Moanaroa each got 3 hits a piece with Boss adding the final blow to the Cavalry in the 8th inning with a 3 run home run. The 3-6 hitters in our lineup went a combined 9 for 19, scored 7 runs and 8 runs batted in. I threw the 9th inning in this game. The first runner got on base via an error, and then I retired the next 3 hitters to end the game. If you have been following my blog all year you will have noticed I am extremely superstitious. I usually wear my socks up when I pitch, but when I pitch at Blue Sox Stadium I had an era above 16.00. So I thought I needed to change it up a bit and I wore my pants down for this series. Guess from now on I will wear my pants down at home games.

Vaughan Harris     -        Boss Moanaroa greeted at home after his home run

So after a very succesful last few weeks that has seen us win 8 of our last 9 games and move up the standings from 6th to 3rd we get to take a little break over Christmas before we head down to Melbourne for New Years. If we sweep Melbourne down there, it would give us 12 wins in a row and break Perth's record that they set at the start of the season. You never know, it could happen.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Quote of the Day

The quote of the day is more like a small conversation. Luke Wilkins and me were talking about pitchers and their fastballs. We then spoke about Brendan Wise who signed with the Minnesota Twins this offseason and I told Luke that Brendan had a really heavy fastball. I knew Chris Oxspring threw with Brendan everyday while we were away in Panama for the World Cup, so I told Luke to ask Chris what Brendans fastball was like. This is the conversation that took place.

Luke : "Hey Ox, what's Brendan Wise fastball like?"
Chris : "Imagine standing in front of a cannon, and having a cannonball shot at you, that's exactly what it feels like"

Quite a funny way of explaining a Brendan Wise fastball.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Photo of the Day

These photos come from the vault. As I was searching around the internet at I came across some great photos the night David Welch threw his no-hitter against the Adelaide Bite in the ABL playoffs in the inaugral season.

One of the greatest individual performances I have ever been lucky enough to witness and be apart of. We miss you here Welchy!

Big League Talent

In the old Australian Baseball League, over 100 of the players who played in it went on to play in the Major Leagues. When you think about it, that is a lot of players over a 10 year period who's careered blossomed from time spent in Australia. Already 2 players from last years ABL season went on to make their Major League debuts. Those 2 being Liam Hendriks and Shane Lindsay.

If you look at the rosters for all ABL teams from last year and this year, you will see that their is handful of players who have tasted the Major Leagues.

Sydney Blue Sox
Chris Oxspring - San Diego Padres
Dae-Sung Koo - New York Mets
Richard Thompson - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Trent Oeltjen - Arizona Diamondback, Los Angeles Dodgers
Brad Thomas - Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers

Adelaide Bite
Chin-Lung Hu - New York Mets

Melbourne Aces
Jason Hirsh - Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies
Brad Harman - Philadelphia Phillies
Justin Huber - Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, Minnesota Twins
Shane Lindsay - Chicago White Sox

Perth Heat
Luke Hughes - Minnesota Twins
Liam Hendriks - Minnesota Twins

To go along with all the players who haved played in the Major Leagues, there are a lot of players on the cusp of getting the call up. The Perth Heat roster is littered with AA talent, and we just acquired Brandon Barnes who has spent time in AAA with the Astros and has earned an invite to big league spring training in 2012. Everyone should get familiar with some of these names in the ABL, you could see them playing in a Major League ballpark in the near future.

Trent Oeltjen, Brad Thomas, Rich Thompson, Chris Oxspring

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Blue Sox Videos

All you bloggers, tweeters and facebookers should subscribe to the Sydney Blue Sox YouTube page! and check out all the fun we have on game day here in the Australian Baseball League :)

Just click this link below! DO IT! I KNOW YOU WANT TO!

Video of the Day

Sunday, 4 December 2011

ABL Week 5 - vs Brisbane Bandits

This was the first our 5 game series for the year. Everytime we play a team for the second time it will be a 5 game series. Since it was a 5 game series we were able to expand the roster to 24 players. A few players were dropped from this week to make room for a familiar face in Mitch Dening and also two new imports from the United States. Brandon Barnes is from California and has played with the Houston Astros organization and Joey Hage is from Florida and has spent time with the St Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays organizations. All 3 are very welcome faces to our team.

Game 1
They always say you see something new everyday when you play baseball and today was definitely no exception. For the first time in my career we had a "light out". One of the light towers at our field went out after the transformer blew. Sitting in the bullpen we could see the smoke coming from the tower. We went into a 20 minute delay before the game got suspended and we would have to come back the next day to complete. We were down 1-0 at that point after 2 innings.
We resumed play at 11:00am the next day and were ready to play 7 innings to complete the 9 inning game. That wasn't the case as we ended up playing a 15 inning game. We won the game 4-3 in the bottom of the 15th on a walk off single by Boss Moanaroa who scored new guy Joey Hage from 2nd base. Our new players Hage, Dening and Barnes did well for us going a combined 6 for 19. Todd Grattan threw 6 innings for 2 runs, and then Matt Williams and Matt Rae combined to throw 7 no hit innings with Matt Rae picking up the win.

After the game we had a lot of time to kill before the second game started at 7:30pm so Luke Wilkins and Aiden Francis came back to my house and we just watched the cricket all afternoon which was extremely relaxing.

Game 2
We lost this game 6-4. We were in control for most of the game and then Brisbane scored runs in the last 4 innings and we weren't able to reproduce the late inning heroics from game 1. I pitched the 9th inning in this game and my fastball location was pretty good but was unable to locate my breaking balls which really hurt me. I struck out the first hitter, and then the second hitter hit a ground ball just out of the reach from our 2nd basemen. The runner then stole 2nd and I got the 3rd hitter to ground out to 3rd. The runner then stole 3rd then I threw a wild pitch which allowed him to score. It was pretty frustrating that the runner scored because I couldn't execute pitches or control the running game. The 4th hitter flew out to right field on the next pitch.

The next two games of the series were a double header and because they were rescheduled games, each game would only be 7 innings instead of the usual 9 inning games.

Game 3
Thanks to some clutch hitting we won the game 5-3. The game was tied 3-3 going into the 6th inning before we put on 2 runs thanks to an RBI sacrifice bunt by Andrew Graham and then Boss Moanaroa drove in Jacob Younis from 2nd base to give us the 2 run lead. We sent out Dae-Sung Koo out there to save the game and in usual Koo fashion he shut the door to seal the win.

Game 4
Things are definitely starting to come around and we looked like the Sydney Blue Sox from last season again. We won 7-0 on an early offensive outburst and great pitching by Vaughan Harris who threw 6 shutout innings. Every position player that started got on base, and 7 of the 9 starters each got on base safely from base hits. We got on base early and often and were up 7-0 after 3 innings. It was all we needed as Harris cruised threw the lineup before handing the ball over to my Ryde-Eastwood team mate Luke Wilkins who threw a perfect 9th inning to complete the shutout.

On the day of our last game I woke up and it was shaping to be a beautiful day for baseball but that suddenly took a turn for the worst. Around 90 minutes before game time we had an extreme sudden downpour of rain that was accompanied by hail.

This hail downpour was enough to push the starting time of the game a little over 2 hours which meant we had a lot of downtime again. Like always, decks of cards were brought out and various card games were being played throughout the clubhouse. A few of us went into the function room and entertained some kids who were enjoying a birthday party at the ballpark.

The front office staff and the grounds crew were on the field trying to get all the water off but when we found out more rain was coming it was decided that they would try and pull the field infield tarp onto the field. This would be difficult for two reason. One was that we didn't have a large cylinder to roll the tarp out and the second reason was that we didn't have the man power to pull a 170 foot by 170 foot tarp on the field. So the call was made to the fans in the crowd if they could run out onto the field and help with the tarp. It turned out to be a success as they were able to fully cover the infield and stop it from getting even more wet. I don't think  you could go anywhere else in Australia and see fans out on the field helping to get the game underway. It just shows we have the best group of fans in the Australian Baseball League.

Front office staff working tirelessly to get the water off the infield. I bet they didn't sign on for this.
When the rain stopped we needed to get even more people out there to pull the tarp off. So about 40 fans came onto the field and helped taking it off. They were given instructions over the speaker phone by one of the grounds crew members on where to pull and how to fold it and then eventually roll it back up.

Game 5
After the 2 hour rain delay it was decided by officials that the game would be 7 innings in hope that Brisbane would be able to catch their flight home. The 7 innings plan failed as the game went into 10 innings and finished on a walk off single by new comer Brandon Barnes. Thanks to some great pitching we were able to stay in the game even though we hadn't got a hit until the bottom of the 7th inning thanks to a Boss Moanaroa single to right field. Trent Schmutter than ran for Boss and then he advanced to 2nd base on a sacrifice bunt and was driven in by a Mitch Dening single. We then went into extra innings and both teams were able to get runners on but couldn't capitalize and score a run. That was until the 10th inning thanks to a lead off single by Mitch Dening who stole 2nd and 3rd in the space of 5 pitches. That set up the heroics by Brandon Barnes who roped a walk off single to center field and then the celebrations begun. It wasn't easy to catch him but Brandon was able to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge himself away from all of us and he made my look stupid as well by putting on one of the best right foot steps I have seen in a while.

Trying to chase down Barnesy
So the injection of new blood seemed to work straight away as our 3 new players all played major parts in some of our wins this weekend. Joey Hage scored the winning run in game 1, Mitch Dening drove in the tying run and was the winning run in game 5 and well, you already know all about Brandon Barnes contribution. We're a whole different ball club now and things are starting to turn around for us.

The New Blood - Joey Hage, Brandon Barnes and Mitch Dening