Thursday, 27 December 2012

ABL Week 8 vs Melbourne Aces

This week we travelled down south to take on the Melbourne Aces. Over the last few years travelling to Melbourne hasn't been too friendly to us but now that the Aces have moved to a new home ground, anything could happen.

Travel days haven't been smooth for us this year and this one wasn't any different. The flight was delayed for a little while but it was no big deal as we were entertained by a couple who put on a very impressive stretching display at our gate. It seemed as though we were the only people at the airport who thought this was quite strange. Everyone else at the gate were playing on their phones or reading their magazines, but we had our eyes glued to what these two were doing.

Game 1
We won game one of the series 5-1 thanks to a great start, middle and end by the starting pitcher. Once again Craig Anderson was given the game one and we couldn't have asked him to do anymore. He went the distance throwing a complete game while giving up only one run. This gives him his fourth win in his last four starts and is in the middle of his best ABL season so far. Like I've said before, watching Craig pitch is a joy because he doesn't get away with mistakes. He is a control artist that relies on deception and movement, and to see him freeze hitters on 78mph fastballs is just a pleasure to watch. Zach Penprase had a great game on the basepaths stealing three bases, while Boss Moanaroa broke out of his slump by blasting a two run home run.

After the game a few of the boys were treated to an amazing dinner thanks to our Korean friend Dae-Sung Koo.We hung around all night just indulging in some great Korean barbecue. Whenever you go out with Koo its going to be an experience and this was no exception. Koo signed many autographs and took countless photographs with other patrons at the restaurant. It was a fun night out with the boys and like Chris Snelling said "This feels like we're now a family".

Game 2
This was a very frustrating game for the boys. The pitching was once again outstanding with former Major Leaguers Chris Oxspring and Brad Thomas striking out 18 hitters through eight innings. That set an ABL record for most strikeouts in a game. Unfortunately I think we also set another ABL record by leaving 17 runners on base. That is a lot, especially when you lose the game 1-0. Thats not taking anything away from the Melbourne pitchers who pitched out of big situations the entire game but its one of those games where you look back and go "what if" and "just maybe".

For some reason we had a 5:05pm for game three of the series, so it meant less time to get up to activities. Tim Atherton and me decided to take a tram ride down to the markets. While the tram ride there was easy and painless, trying to get back to the hotel was a different story. We were on the tram for quite a while and Tim and me both started to worry. We got off the tram and checked the maps on our iPhones and we were 2.6km away from out hotel. The time was 12:40pm, and the vans for the field left at 1:15pm so we had to make a decision. Our choices were catch another tram and hopefully it goes where we need to be, catch a taxi, or run. We were unsure when the tram would come, we were also unsure whether we'd be able to find a taxi. What we did know is that it would take us about 15 minutes to run, so we decided to run. We also weren't wearing running attire. We both had board shorts on and flip flops. We looked like we were ready for the beach, not a casual 2.6km run. To make it worse it was also 28 degreese celsius with no cloud cover so we were just bathing in sun the entire time. Not going to lie, it was a tough run. We were running up hills and on concrete. My calves were burning the entire time but we had to keep on keeping on. We made it back in a great time of 16 minutes. We both thought it was a good effort considering we didn't stretch, didn't warm up and we weren't wearing shoes. Its just another Atherton and Van Steensel roommate adventure.
The route Tim and I took to get to the hotel
Game 3
This was a wild game. It felt a lot like game two with our hitters stranding a lot of runners on base. We were behind the entire game and only had three hits, but thankfully Trent D'Antonio came up with one of the biggest hits of the season blasting a two out, two strike, two run home run in the bottom if the ninth inning to give us a 4-3 win. Its fun for once to be able to play heartbreaker and ruin the night for the opposing team.

Game 4
In another wild game we got out to an early 5-0 lead, only to give it up and then rally back to win it 10-8. Trent Schmutter played his best role as a superhero as he got three hits and three crucial RBIs to help us down the Aces. In a game that saw 14 runs scored from the sixth inning onwards, Schmutter hit the game winning single in the top of the ninth inning, scoring JD Williams and Jacob Younis for a 10-8 lead. Once again these heroics came when we were down to our final out. Heading into the ninth inning we were down 6-8 and I specifically remember Jacob Younis say "Alright boys! Lets put on a four spot!", and well I guess the rest is history.
JD Williams taking out the catcher to score in the 8th inning

This coming weekend we take on the fourth place Adelaide Bite. A series win will put us in a great position as we get closer to the playoffs.

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