The 2013-2014 Australian Baseball League schedule kicked off last Halloween. As the weeks flew past, there were Christmas carols at the ballparks, and toasts to a Happy New Year. Looking back, the 46 game regular season seemed all too brief.
The Perth Heat ran away with first place and started discussions anew about parity. At the bottom of the stairway, it was a tough year for the Brisbane Bandits. Going into the final weekend, the Adelaide Bite, Melbourne Aces, Sydney Blue Sox and Canberra Cavalry all had chances for a postseason berth. The playoffs weren’t completely sorted until the very last pitch of the campaign. Starting with the Canberra Cavalry making history in the Asia Series, 2013-2014 was epic.
For overseas fans, the ABL was a welcome break in a long bleak winter.
ABL Action: February 7
An evenly matched championship series concluded under western skies. In the end, timely hitting made up for costly errors over the course of two games. The Perth Heat were not perfect, but kept a step ahead of the Canberra Cavalry.
After the Heat quickly manufactured a run in the 1st inning, Brian Baker worked a no-no through 4 complete. Jack Murphy led off the top of the 5th frame with a triple, but was left at third base like a jilted bride. If he had scored, the game would have been tied at 1-1. Instead, the Cavalry had to watch the Heat accomplish what they could not. Matt Kennelly tripled to lead off the 6th inning and was brought home by Allan de San Miguel to make it a 2-0 shutout.
Jeremy Barnes sent a solo shot deep into the night to break the scoreless spell and halve the lead at 2-1 in the 7th, but the Cavalry offense could only muster a single from Michael Wells over the remaining frames. The final out was recorded and a magical run by the Cavs that stretched back to 2012 came to a bittersweet end. The Perth faithful celebrated another crown with their hometown nine.
Over the past two postseasons, a combined margin of five runs has separated the champion from the runner up. In the 2012-2013 ABLCS at The Fort, the Canberra Cavalry swept the Perth Heat by scores of 6-4 and 7-6. In the 2013-2014 ABLCS at Barbagallo Ballpark, the Perth Heat swept the Canberra Cavalry with a 4-3 win in 14 innings followed by a 2-1 victory. After 364 days in the capitol of Australia, the Claxton Shield is back in the west for the 3rd time in 4 years.