It’s Australia Day. Although the 26th of January has been historically significant for generations, the national celebration of Australia Day wasn’t officially adopted by every territory and state until 1935. Similarly, baseball was played in Australia for quite a long time before the first Claxton Shield tournament in 1934. Eighty years later, these two traditions with roots in the 1800s will converge as the final spot in the playoffs will be determined on this last day of the regular season.
In other words, a resourceful nation figured out how to make a big weekend even bigger. The Perth Heat and Sydney Blue Sox are perennially in the playoffs, but there is one last postseason spot remaining with Canberra Cavalry, Adelaide Bite and Melbourne Aces all tied for third place. It’s all coming down to a single day of action. It’s coming down to Australia Day.
ABL Scoreboard: 1/25
Ethan Cole went 6 2/3 and Sean Toler came in for the final out in the first of two between the Cavalry & Bandits. It was a short seven innings that ended with a 2-1 victory for the Cavs. Even though the Bandits have been out of the playoff picture for some time, the Brisbane faithful filled Holloway Field with the hope of seeing something exciting in game two. They weren’t disappointed. Justin O’Conner broke a 2-2 tie in the 8th and secured a split for the hometown Bandits with a 3-2 win.
The Sydney Blue Sox were the one and only club to secure a spot in the playoffs on Saturday with a 4-2 victory over the Melbourne Aces. Effective bats kept the home crowd happy while the Sox arms kept them in the game from start to finish. The loss dropped the Aces back into a three way tie for third place, but did not totally spoil the chance Melbourne has to make the postseason.
For the third time in as many games, the Perth Heat edged the Adelaide Bite by a single run. It also marked the second time in a row that Corey Adamson provided the winning hit. The Heat led 3-0 after the 3rd inning, but the Bite came back to tie it up late and send the game to extra frames. The Heat pleased the crowd at Barbagallo Ballpark with a 4-3 walk-off in the 10th.
ABL Action: 1/26
The final day of the regular season at Holloway Field will be the very last game of 2013-2014 for the Brisbane Bandits. If they don’t secure a victory and have a few other things fall into place, it may be the last game for the Canberra Cavalry too. Both teams will be eager to end the campaign on a strong note. Action begins at 5:00 p.m. PST or 8:00 p.m. EST on the 25th.
The Sydney Blue Sox have already punched their ticket to the postseason for the fourth straight year, but the Melbourne Aces are still in the hunt. Needing a win to stay in the conversation, the Aces will be fighting hard for every pitch and out at Blacktown. The Blue Sox are in the position of spoiler. Action begins at 6:30 p.m. PST or 9:30 p.m. EST on the 25th.
The Perth Heat have run away from the pack at the end of the year, but can still make a difference in the playoff picture. Barbagallo Ballpark will be the site of the ABLCS, so a win today will only be a bonus for the Perth faithful. The Adelaide Bite may be done for the year if they don’t get a victory. Action begins at 7:05 p.m. PST or 10:05 EST on the 25th.
Streams for the games can be found at the Australian Baseball League website. Click on the tab that says “Watch Live” for the exciting end of a great campaign.