Tuesday, 31 January 2012

ABL Playoffs - Elimination Playoff vs Adelaide Bite

So after a 45 game regular season it was now time for the playoffs. Since we finished 4th in the regular season we had to travel to Adelaide for the first round of the playoffs. It was a best of 5 series, winner goes on, and the loser goes home.

Due to it being Australia Day on Thursday, we had to fly the team out on two separate days. I left with about 14 other players on Wednesday. Once again, caught the train into the airport with Joey Hage and Tyler Collins.

When we arrived in adelaide we had so much time to kill, so I decided that time was best killed in my room. I made the terrible mistake of taking a nap at 7:00pm, and I didn't wake up until 9:00pm so i was up all night. Luckily my room mate made the same mistake so we found ways to entertain ourselves like watching movies on the iPad and playing Monopoly on the iPad. We finally fell asleep around 4:00am and that means, we had an epic sleep in. I woke up about midday while Jacob woke up around 1:30pm. We were just relaxing in our room until Aaron Sookee called Jacob at 1:50pm telling us the bus to go to the field leaves in 10 minutes. So Jacob and me both jumped up and got ready, and we were downstairs in the bus with 5 minutes to spare.

Game 1
Like we always do, we gave Craig Anderson the ball and he delivered a workmans like outing going 6 2/3 innings giving up 3 runs, all of which were unearned on 5 hits. The rest of the pitching staff did an equally good job as they came in to throw 2 1/3 shutout innings. David Kandilas was the offensive star of the night. He went 1 for 4, drove in 3 runs and scored a run himself.

After the game I just went back to my room to relax and hopefully get to sleep early but once again, that plan was an epic fail. I was up to about 2:00am again. I finally fell asleep, but was woken up at 4:00am by a crazy drunk guy banging on my room door. For some strange reason I thought Jacob was outside so I was just going to get up and open the door, but the banging got more aggressive so Jacob got up and called the front desk, while I tried to talk to the drunk guy through the door trying to convince him that this wasn't his room. He thought we were telling him lies, he also thought our name was Jeremy. He came back a few times but eventually left us alone around 4:40am. It's funny what alcohol can do to people isn't it.

When I finally woke up I didn't have much time to do anything so I just had lunch and packed my stuff to get in the van to go to the field.

Game 2
We went down 8-3. We scored all our runs in the 3rd inning as Paul Mildren went the distance to record a complete game for Adelaide. I pitched from the 6th to 8th inning. I had success in my first two innings facing the minimum amount of hitters, but ran into trouble in the 8th after a few defensive miscues led to 3 runs being scored. My velocity was around 89-92mph consistently over the 3 innings so that's one positive.  Funny thing happened when I came out for my 2nd inning. The umpire behind the plate actually apologized to me for making a bad call in what would have been the 3rd strike to the Adelaide hitter. I struck him out on the very next pitch, so the bad call didn't really affect the outcome of the at at, but it was nice to know that umpires themselves, do admit to making mistakes.

I woke up quite late again, so all I did was eat lunch and get in the bus to go to the field.

Game 3
After one of our biggest offensive outbursts of the year where we scored 8 runs through the first 3 innings the rain started to come down, and it came down in a hurry. We waited for the rain to stop before we resumed play, but as soon as the rain stopped, there was a power outage and the lights at the field didn't turn back on. We waited around until about 10:00pm before we left the field, but we managed to keep ourselves entertained in the dark. Adelaide had small toy baseballs that lit up and changed colors so we thought it would be the perfect time to try and play cricket in the dark. It turned out to be a great success as both teams joined in on the fun. The bad thing about this rainout and power outage is that we would have to restart the game tomorrow with the scores tied at 0-0.

Day 4 in Adelaide was set to be a long one. A double header was on the cards and it was going to be a very humid day.

Long story short, we won both games and ended Adelaide's season just like they did to us last season. We won the back of great starting pitching as Aiden Francis took the win in game 1 throwing 8 innings giving up only 2 earned runs, while Vaughan Harris returned to his midsession form throwing 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball.

We've won 3 games, now only 5 more wins to go.

Monday, 23 January 2012

End of Regular Season Statistics

Since I'm a stat rat, I decided I had to post up my final stats of the regular season. Apart from my first outing against the Perth Heat, I feel like I had quite a successful season. I even made the top 5 in a few categories for relief pitchers. I led the league in strikeouts per 9 innings, 2nd in the league in opposing batting average, 4th in fewest walks per 9 innings and 3rd in walks/hits per 9 innings.

ABL Week 11 - vs Perth Heat

We had a crucial series against the Perth heat. It was important to win as many games as we could to ensure ourselves a play off spot.

Aiden Francis stayed at my place and we caught th train in the morning to the airport. Since we had to be at the airport at 6:45am we caught a 5:35am train. Wasn't very fun. Pretty sure I fell asleep on the train and was awoken by an old lady sneezing

I was lucky to have a spare seat next to me on the flight which was perfect so I caught up on some sleep. I slept for about 2 1/2 hours and when I woke up I started to watch the third Transformers movie, which in my opinion, is the strongest of the trilogy. A funny thing happened on the flight. Since I fell asleep before the plane took off I forgot to turn my iPhone to aero plane mode. About 10 minutes before landing I received a text message in the air. I thought it was quite funny, and the plane landed safely despite my phone not being on aero plane mode.

When we arrived at the hotel I took a nap and then went to meet up with one of my friends Rebecca. I only get to come to Perth once a year so I make sure I try and catch up with all my Perth friends.

Game 1
We went down 4-3. The game was ours to win but we made some bad mistakes at the wrong time that really hurt us. It was basic fundamental errors that ended up being the death of us in this game.

On day 2 in Perth I woke up pretty late so I just laid in bed for a while before deciding to go for a walk to the shops nearby as well as picking up some lunch.

Game 2
We came out on top 4-2 thanks to another one of our early offensive outbursts. We scored 4 runs in the top of the 1st and that was all we needed as Chris Oxspring delivered a quality start going 7 strong innings giving up only 2 runs. Tyler Collins led the offence going 3 for 4 but the big blow came from Alex Johnson in the 1st inning when he hit a bases clearing double to give us the 4-0 lead.

Day 3 in Perth I decided to be really lazy and just relax in bed watching movies. I got up once to go get lunch but as soon as I finished I was back in my room watching movies again.

Game 3
We've had plenty of heartbreaking losses during the season but this one seemed to hurt a little more seeing as we were so close to winning and clinching our postseason birth. Brad Thomas started and gave us 6 strong innings and gave up only 2 runs as he opposed another big leaguer, Virgil Vasquez who was equally impressive going 6 innings for 1 run. I came into the game in the 7th inning after our offense managed to tie the game up against Perth reliever Cameron Lamb. I went 3 innings giving up 1 hit and striking out 3. The hit I gave up was to Tim Kennelly and I can honestly say that is was the hardest ball ever hit off me. Personally, I was extremely happy with this outing because of how badly Perth beat me up when they came to Sydney at the start of the season. Tim Kennelly wasn't done with hard hitting balls as he made the final blow in the bottom of the 15th inning hitting a walk off home run to send the Perth fans home happy. During the game I noticed that were a group of softball girls cheering for us, I'm not sure if they were from Sydney but it's always nice to have a bit of support on the road. Also my friends Tenielle and Rebecca were at the game, and it was definitely nice to hear someone yell out "Go Todd!" when you're on the road.

Day 4 in Perth was quite enjoyable. Tenielle came and picked me up from the hotel and I went to her house to meet her puppy Freya, who is now my most favourite puppy of all time. After many attempts to try and get her into the pool, Freay only got her feet wet. Once we were done trying to get Freya to swim we went to pick up Rebecca before going to Hillary's Boat Harbour for lunch. It was a pretty good view for lunch, that's for sure.

Tenielle trying to get Freya into the pool

View from lunch
Game 4
Aiden Francis started and despite going 7 inning we were unable to score any runs to back him up as we were shut down by the Perth pitching staff. We went down 3-0 in what was a very frustrating game. Perth starter Warwick Saupold continued his good form and went 6 2/3 innings and didn't allow multilple base runners get on base in any inning.

Last day in Perth we were getting ready for a few possible scenarios. If results went our way and we beat Perth we would have finished the season in 2nd place and stayed in Perth for the next week. The other scenario was that results don't go our way and we end the season in 5th place and miss out on the playoffs. Luckily results did go our way and we found out we had made the playoffs before our game had begun. Now all we had to do was win to finish in 2nd place.

Game 5
Unfortunately, we didn't win and went down 7-2. We were never really in the game as Perth scored runs in the first 3 innings and our bats were kept silent once again by the Perth starting pitcher.

So, as the last week came to a close, Perth ran out with 1st place, while Melbourne finished in 2nd, only 1 game ahead of 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th place. Safe to say, it was a pretty close season and the playoffs should deliver some great baseball.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Photo of the Day

This picture comes from our series against the Canberra Cavalry. Picture was taken moments before the benches cleared, safe to say Canberra and Sydney have a pretty fierce rivalry in the ABL.

Come at me bro!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

ABL Week 10 - vs Adelaide Bite

We didn't have much of a break between the Canberra series and this one. We played our last game in Canberra on Sunday, and we were back at it on Wednesday at home to play the Adelaide Bite. After being swept by Canberra there was a 3 way tie for 3rd place. So every game from now on til the end of the season is extremely important.
Game 1
Our woes continued to haunt us as we fell 1-0. It seems as though when you're in a losing streak and we do something really good, it feels as if the other team is doing it just better. Craig Anderson bounced back well from his previous 2 outings to go 6 1/3 innings giving up only 1 run. That was the only run that the Bite needed as we weren't able to capitalize when you got runners on base. Pat Maat's hot bat remained hot as he collected another 2 base hits to stretch his hitting streak to 11 games.

On Thursday we had day 1 of Training With The Pros. Training With The Pros is a baseball clinic run by MLB and we run the young baseball players through different sets of drills. I ran the home run derby, which is a bit of fun for the kids after they do the hitting station. I just fed them soft toss as they tried to hit the long ball on a small field. The clinic finished around 3:30pm so I had time to go back home and relax before our 5:00pm report time.

Game 2
We started off a bit shaky as Adelaide scored 3 runs in the 1st, but that lead didn't last for long as we scored 7 runs in the 4th inning to take a commanding 8-3 lead. I came into the game in the 8th inning when the score was 11-7. I struck out the first hitter then got the next hitter to pop up. Unfortunately I walked my third hitter and came out of the game as Dae-Sung Koo came in to close the game. They had the radar gun working at the game today and my velo was 90-91mph, and one person said I hit 92mph, but I'll be happy with 90-91mph for now.

We had another Training With The Pros clinic before game 3 of the series but I was lucky enough to be part of the pitching station instead of the home run derby. Safe to say I know a lot more about pitching than I know about hitting home runs.

Game 3
We fell to the Bite 6-1 in game 3. Mitch Dening gave us an early lead with a solo home run in the 1st inning but that's all the damage we could do as Adelaide starter Paul Mildren went 8 strong innings. It was also Kids Day at the ball park where dozens of kids ran the bases after the game, and a lucky few played the role as announcer for a couple of innings during the game.

Game 4
Thanks to an early onslaught and some great starting pitching we ran out winners 10-3 in this game. We scored all our runs in the first 4 innings with 2 runs in the 1st inning, 5 runs in the 2nd inning which was highlighted by two run home runs by both Andrew Graham and Boss Moanaroa and then 3 runs in the 4th inning. Brad Thomas started and threw 5 shutout innings for 1 hit and 0 runs picking up his 1st win of the season.

Game 5
Thanks to some clutch hitting and a 4 for 4 day by Pat Maat we won game 5 6-4 and won the series against Adelaide to send us into 2nd place on the ladder. Tyler Collins and Jacob Younis each helped out by getting 3 hits a piece. I came onto pitch the 6th and 7th inning getting 3 strike outs and not allowing a runner get on base. My velocity was 89-91mph again so pretty happy I have been consistently getting my velo in the 90's lately.

Since it was our last regular home game of the season, all the fans were allowed to come onto the field to get autographs and take photos after the game. Most Sundays we go out into the concourse to meet the fans but this once they were allowed on the field.

Fans on the field collecting autographs

This was a huge series for us as we now head to Perth for the final round of the regular season in 2nd place 1 game ahead of the 3 teams behind us and 2 games ahead of last place Brisbane. If you thought the end of the Major League season was exciting, better prepare yourself for the last week of the Australian Baseball League.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Visit To The Hospital

One of the best things about playing professional sports, if not the best thing is being able to go out into the public and put smiles on little kids faces. Today a small group of us paid a visit to the Westmead Childrens Hospital where we met some amazing kids.

David, Kevin, Brandon, Tyler, Joey, Jacob, Michael and Me

One of the boys we met was Xavier who is one of the bravest boys I have met. He has been in hospital since June 2011 after having surgery to remove a brain tumor. He wasn't the only patient in this room as his little toy monkey named Trevor who also had surgery to remove a butt tumor. So him and his monkey were recovering together. His mum had told us he has been writing a list of all the dangerous activities when he gets out of hospital such as going fishing on a boat. We told him he should add 'attend a baseball game' to that list since at times, it can be dangerous sitting in the crowds. Even though he had been in hospital you wouldn't have known because you could still see a smile on his face.

Xavier with his toy Monkey

Another young boy we met was Justin Lee, who was one of the most talkative and definitely one of the smartest 8yr olds I have ever met. As soon as we walked in the room he was asking us questions about what we do, and what movies we like. We found out that he absolutely loves Lego and he had already built a pretty impressive Lego castle in his room. He made sure to tell us the box said that the castle he built was designed for teenagers 16yrs and over. He was so interested in us, but I think we were even more interested in him and all the fun things he had to tell us. He did make us laugh when the hospital staff member that was chaperoning us walked into the room and he looked at the little badge that she was wearing. He read what it said and then said "Oh, you're only an events manager?" and then said to our Blue Sox staff member "Are you the picture taking girl?". He was quite fun to be around and pretty sure he brightened up our day more then we brightened up his. I also think he was a little excited since today was his birthday.

Joey, Jacob, Justin, Me and Tyler

It's definitely a very rewarding experience. It puts your life into perspective and makes you think, if these kids are in here, going through hell and back to be healthy it definitely motivates me to be the best that I can be. I'm so blessed and thankful for everything God has given me in life, and all my prayers go out to these kids in hospital hoping they get well soon, and hopefully attend a Blue Sox game!

Monday, 9 January 2012

ABL Week 9 - vs Canberra Cavalry

We had to head to Canberra this week to play the Cavalry and since Canberra is pretty close to Sydney we had to take a bus down instead of flying. It was a pretty relaxing drive and took a little over 3 hours including the one stop we made. The night before we left I loaded a whole bunch of movies onto my iPad so I wouldn't get bored on the drive. I watched the Captain America movie which in my opinion, is one of the best superhero movies of all time.

When we arrived in Canberra there were thousands of people lining the streets. At first we thought it was funny that all these people were welcoming the Blue Sox into town, but they actually were lining the streets to see the cars that were apart of the Summernats which is a big car show and festival that they hold once a year. We arrived at the hotel and I was roomed with Todd Grattan, Aaron Sookee and Dae-Sung Koo. We had full cooking facilities once again so I headed off to the supermarket which was only a 10 minute walk away. I bought breakfast, lunch and dinner for 4 days so I was able to save a bit of my meal money again.

People lining the streets for Summernats, and no, they just weren't waiting at the lights

Back at the hotel I was pretty tired so I took a shower, got into my practise gear and got into bed to have a little nap. Even though it was only a 20 minute nap I felt a lot better once I woke up from it.

Game 1
We went down 7-1 in the first game of the series. At times it was a very frustrating game for us. We would hit balls hard straight to fielders, outfielders would make good catches in the gaps to rob us of base hits and we just couldn't get a really going throughout the game. Craig Anderson started and didn't have much luck against the Cavalry as they scored 6 runs in 4 1/3 innings against him. I came on and threw 2 1/3 innings of relief giving up 1 run on a solo home run in the 7th inning. The next hitter of that inning got on base by what I could only say was a controversial call. The ball was hit to Michael Lysaught in what was a routine play. He made the throw to Boss Moanaroa at 1st who had his foot planted on 1st base. After he caught the ball, his foot came off the base a little bit but the umpire saw something different and called the runner safe at 1st saying that Boss's foot was not on the base.

When I woke up on day 2 in Canberra I received some bad news that I had been released from the Minnesota Twins organisation. It just shows how cutthroat the Minor Leagues are. There wasn't much I could do about the situation so I just went on my day as usual.

Game 2
We lost this one again in a very heated game 4-2. The only offence that was provided came off the bats of Pat Maat and Michael Lysaught who both hit solo home runs. The real drama began when Brad Thomas threw a fastball in the back of right fielder Kevin Kiermaier. Like any team would, the Cavalry sent a message back and they threw a pitch over Pat Maat's head. Now when you're trying to retaliate in that situation, you don't throw at a players head. Even though you're trying to hit the batter, there is a right way to do it. Pat didn't appreciate the ball being thrown towards his head, so he retaliated in the best way possible. By disposing the next pitch thrown over the left field wall for a big home run. It was like something out of a movie, it would have mad a great script. We still lost the game, which isn't a good thing, but at least the game may have been entertaining for the fans.

Day 3 in Canberra we had a double header. Double headers are quite dreaded in this league. Playing two 9 inning games in tough on anyone. Even if you're a bullpen pitcher you have to prepare yourself to sit around for a long time.

Game 3
We couldn't get much going in this game, even though we hit the ball hard, it was always to a fielder. Brandon Barnes hit 2 home runs to take his season tally to 6 while David Kandilas and Joey Hage each got two hits a piece. Chris Oxspring started and had a tough one only getting through 5 innings giving up 6 runs, 4 of which were earned off 9 hits and 2 walks. Cavalry bats remained hot as they scored early and often putting runs up in the first 3 innings.

Game 4
We lost this one on a walk off single but we had plenty of chances to keep the Cavalry out of the game. The box score says we only made 1 error, but we definitely made close to 3 or 4. I think the scorer may have been a bit generous to the Cavalry hitters. Pat Maat hit a grand slam in the 1st inning to put us on top early and we lead the entire game up until the 8th inning when the Cavalry tied it and then lost it in the 9th.

On our last day in Canberra we had an afternoon game so we had to check out of the hotel and headed off to the field at 11:00am. When we got there it was quite cloudy and a bit of rain started to fall but it was nothing to write home about. The hitters hit in the cages which is always good news for pitchers since we don't exactly like standing around in the outfield for 40 minutes catching and chasing the balls getting hit.

Game 5
Vaughan Harris started for us and had a pretty shaky start giving up 3 runs in the 1st inning. He settled down to throw 3 scoreless innings before giving up another 2 in the 5th. Pat Maat's bat remained hot as he provided our only runs thanks to a 2 run home run in the 4th inning. I came into the game in the 6th and had one of my best outings of the year. I threw 3 innings, for 1 hit, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts and 0 runs.

The new mechanics I've been working on seemed to paid off quickly as I feel my velocity has increased and it has added a bit more bite to my breaking pitches. Just need to go back to practice on Tuesday and continue to work on making myself a better baseball player and control what I can control.

Released by the Twins

On Friday morning I was told some pretty bad news, and was that I had been released by the Minnesota Twins. It's hard to be mad or upset about it, since the Twins did give me a chance to play professional baseball again and also, I wasn't too upset because I know I gave it everything I had. I honestly don't believe I could have worked any harder than I did.

The most disappointing thing was how I found out about it. I received a text message from a friend who read on the Baseball America website that I had been released and he was sending his apologies for the finding out the news. I didn't write back to him straight away, and instead I immediately wondered whether this was true or not. I was quite puzzled so I sought out the advice from a senior player on the team and he recommended I contact me scout. So I called my scout in Australia to see what was going on. I spoke to him for about 20 seconds and he told me that I had been released and that I should have received a call from the office informing me of my release. I'm sure this situation should have been handled differently, after all, how is it I don't find out about my release before anything is posted online for the world to see?

Conversation with my friend the day I found out about my release

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

ABL Week 8 - vs Melbourne Aces

After enjoying a little Christmas break we were back at it this week against the Melbourne Aces down in Melbourne. A lot of the pitchers weren't looking forward to the trip since the Melbourne Showgrounds has been known to be a bit of a homer dome. On the other hand, the hitters couldn't wait to get out there and add some home runs to their season tally.

Once again Tyler Collins and me caught the train to the airport but this time we were accompanied by Brandon Barnes and Joey Hage who were getting ready for their first road trip of the season. After a relaxing train ride we arrived at the airport to the Qantas terminal where they had our boarding passes all there ready for us.

When we arrived in Melbourne as usual we got our vans and made our way to our hotel. I was roomed with Wayne Lundgren and Dae-Sung Koo which would be a bit different for me since I'm used to rooming with the rookie players. The time spent rooming with them was quite good as I learnt a fair bit about pitching.

After I got settled into the room a few of the boys took one of the vans to the supermarket to get groceries. Since our room had an oven and microwave I bought a pizza and a few microwaveable meals and saved myself a bit of money. Most places we go to we don't have a microwave or oven so we always have to buy fast food everyday and the cost of that tends to add up quite quickly. Once everyone got all their groceries we made our way back to the hotel in the vans and I had enough time to relax so I took a little nap.

We got to the field and went through the usual routine of stretching, batting practice and then waiting for game time. As I was walking out to the dugout I was greeted by a fan who gave me one of my baseball cards from the 2011 Minor League season. I thought it was crazy that an Australian fan had my card but it's definitely a first that a fan has presented me with my own baseball card. A moment that I won't forget.

Game 1
The offence was led by Brandon Barnes who went 3 for 5 with 2 home runs and 5 RBIs including the go ahead home run in the 9th inning. The first home run that he hit was one of the biggest home runs I have ever seen in my life. As soon as he hit it I saw the ball for its first 2 seconds in flight and then lost it, it felt like it just kept going. Joey Hage also chimed in with his 1st home run for the season which was a 2 run shot that knocked the Melbourne starter out of the game.
As always Craig Anderson started game 1 of the series and got through 5 1/3 innings of work but wasn't able to escape the dreaded home runs that get hit at the Melbourne Showgrounds. He fell victim to 5 home runs in his outing. To put into perspective how small the showgrounds really are. In his first 7 starts he had only given up 1 home run in 39 1/3 innings and that home run that he gave up was in Adelaide which is also another one of the smaller fields in the ABL.
Wayne Lundgren took over and was welcomed back throwing 2 2/3 perfect innings after spending some time on the disabled list over the last few weeks. Dae-Sung Koo came in as always and sealed the vicory with a scoreless 9th inning.

Day 2 in Melbourne I woke up really late and was still in bed close to midday. I didn't have anything to do so I went to lay by the pool for a little while which was pretty relaxing.. It was a good way to waste some time before we had to head off to the ballpark.

Game 2
We were in for a tough game today having to face Shane Lindsay who pitched in the Major Leagues this year but out hitters were up to the challenge and knocked him out of the game after 3 innings. We started our own big leaguer in this game sending Brad Thomas to the mound who threw 4 solid innings giving up only 2 runs. We won the game 15-5 and even though all the hitters contributed it was David Kandilas who stood out as he hit for the cycle. What makes that more impressive is that this is the second cycle that David hit in 2011 since he hit one during the Minor League season with the Casper Ghosts. 

After the game I was treated to dinner by Dae-Sung Koo. It was definitely one of the best dinners I have been to in a long time for two reasons. The first reason was that the food was absolutely amazing and the second was I felt like I was dining with a rock star. Koo took Chris Oxspring, Wayne Lundgren and me to a little Korean BBQ. Our waitress didn't know much about baseball but when Chris asked her if she knew who Koo was she had no idea. That is until Koo introduced himself to her and she literally took a step back and nearly fell to the ground. We asked her how she knew who Koo was if she didn't follow baseball and her explanation was "You don't know much about politics, but you know who Barrack Obama is, well in Korea if you don't much about baseball, you still know who Dae-Sung Koo is". Also a Korean couple walked passed the restaurant and as they looked through the window they recognized Koo and for lack of a better word, they freaked out. They jumped up and down before the male walked in, bowed to Koo, shook his hand walked out. Also as most of you would know Chris Oxpsring spent some time playing in Korea and as we left a group of guys recognized him and they happened to be LG Twins fans, which was the team Chris played for in Korea, and they stopped him to take photos as well before we left. It was on crazy dinner experience that's for sure.

Koo signing autographs

Our Korean feast
On our 3rd day in Melbourne we had a double header so we had no time to sleep in. We had 11:00am buses to the field and played our first game at 2:00pm

Game 3
Unfortunately our 9 game winning streak came to an end as we fell to Melbourne. We outhit the Aces 12 to 11 but we also made 5 errors which was our downfall. We lost the game 15-7 but only 6 of Melbournes runs were earned. Once again this result shows the importance of playing good defense and not allowing a team have more than 27 outs. 

Game 4
We got back on the winners list with another good, hard fought win. We took the early lead in this one scoring 2 runs in the first but Melbourne bounced back in a big way scoring 6 runs in off Aiden Francis in the 3rd. Those would be the only runs that Aiden would give up as he went on to throw 6 innings to pick up his 4th win of the year. We were able to score 3 runs in the 4th, 4 in the 6th and added an insurance run in the 9th before we sent Koo out there to save the game and preserve the victory.

After the game the entire team decided that we would stay at the hotel for new years and watch the fireworks on tv. Like good Sydney siders we are, we watched the Sydney fireworks instead of the Melbourne fireworks on TV. It was a fun night, lots of laughs were had and it was a good start to 2012. 

On our last day in Melbourne we had a 3:00pm game. Since it was New Years our Manager Kevin Boles decided to let us head to the stadium a little later, so we had 1:00pm vans to the field. I was quite excited for this game since my cousin was in town with his girlfriend and friends and they were planning on coming to the game. It's been a while since he last saw me play so it was fun to have him in the crowd.

Game 5
We lost the last game of the series 12-5. Vaughan Harris started and was really unlucky as he was unable to escape the small dimensions of the Melbourne Showgrounds and surrended 7 runs in 2 innings of work. I was brought into the game in the 3rd inning and had one of my better outings of the year. I went 4 innings, allowed 2 hits which were both home runs and struck out 6. If we played on a regulation size field one of the home runs would have been a double in the left field corner, and the other home run would have easily been run down by the left fielder. So there are a few positives I can take out of the weekend, but there is still a lot of work to do before spring training.

After the game we had to shower, get dressed and head off to the airport. Like most New South Welshman would say, the best part about Melbourne is when you get to leave.