Australian Baseball has been a lot of fun through a long cold winter. New seasons in Asia and the Americas are just around the corner, but it’s still difficult to picture spring in the northern latitudes. In this chilly corner of the world, a steady howling wind was punctuated by 100 km/h gusts for several days. It’s -7C outside and the snow is starting to pile up. Trees are waving warnings around the neighborhood diamonds. Better keep that glove tied up a little bit longer.
Jack Murphy Fan Choice
The voters named switch-hitting catcher Jack Murphy of the Canberra Cavalry the 2013-2014 ABL Fan Choice. While he might be considered the current face of the game in Australia, the iconic Murphy hails from Sarasota, Florida. The 25 year-old from the Toronto Blue Jays system has migrated south for the past two winters and was part of the 2012-2013 Claxton Shield run. He also made an impact before the 2013-2014 ABL season began. The Cavalry won the first ever Asia Series crown by an Australian team and Murphy earned the MVP trophy. Solid behind the plate, he has also spent time at the corners and designated hitter. He is the first player from the Canberra club to win the Fan Choice award.
ABL Scoreboard: February 2
Last weekend, the ABL Preliminary Final came down to a deciding game three at Blacktown International Sports Park. The Sydney Blue Sox were poised to clinch a berth in the ABLCS after a dishing out a thumping in game one at The Fort. Even a split in their house would have sent them to Barbagallo Ballpark, but they could not put the Cavs away. With a pair of postseason road wins already under their belts, the Canberra Cavalry will be making a return trip west to face the Perth Heat and defend their 2012-2013 Claxton Shield triumph.
Coverage by David Polkinghorne for Canberra Times
ABL Action: February 7
ESPN will be broadcasting the ABLCS across Australia and New Zealand. This is a great development locally, but it fans around the globe will not be able to watch the action as it unfolds. However, live play-by-play and commentary on 91.3 SportFM will be streamed worldwide.
The final battle in Perth for the Claxton Shield is a big story. The ABLCS features prominently in a jam packed episode of “Strike Zone” hosted by Chris Coleman of ABC Radio. Xavier Player previewed the series for Hewitt Sports. Boris Kilpatrick also took a look at the matchups this weekend for the ABL Buzz.
First pitch is at 3:05 a.m. PST or 6:05 a.m. EST. Live coverage from 91.3 SportFM begins at 2:50 a.m. PST or 5:50 a.m. EST. Follow the Australian Baseball League Championship Series all weekend long.