The Canberra Cavalry put together a charge on the final weekend of the regular season to sneak into the playoffs thanks to some help from the first place Perth Heat.
Despite splitting the four final games with the Brisbane Bandits, the Cavalry ended up in a tie for third place with the Melbourne Aces at 22-24 but held the hammer in the tie-breaker with a 5-3 head-to-head record. The Adelaide Bite lost all four games in their series with the Perth Heat to fall to fifth place, one game behind Canberra and Melbourne.
With their Thursday game postponed due to rain, the Cavalry took on the Bandits for the first game of the series on Friday, losing a heartbreaker, 4-3 in 13 innings. The Cavalry scored three runs in the first but couldn’t get anything else going for the the rest of the game off the Brisbane pitchers. Blue Jays prospects Jon Berti and Mike Crouse both had good games with Berti going two for five with a walk and a stolen base while Crouse went one for three with a two-run home run and a walk.
Playing a double header on Saturday to make up for the rain out on Thursday, Canberra won Game One 2-1 in a seven inning contest. Berti had another two-hit game, stealing three bases while Crouse walked twice and stole a base and Jack Murphy went one for four.
In Game 2 on Saturday, the two clubs played another one-run game but this time the Bandits came out on top, winning 3-2 after playing the full nine innings. The Blue Jays’ boys combined for four hits with Berti having two on his own. Berti and Crouse each drove in one of the of the team’s two runs.
The season finale finished with the Cavalry making a late-inning comeback from a 3-1 deficit, scoring three in the seventh and one more in the eighth to take a 5-3 victory and seal their playoff chances (once the news arrived that Perth had beaten Melbourne). Crouse was the big hero in this one, going three for five and driving in two runs (the first and the insurance run) while both Berti and Murphy went one for four with a walk.
Thanks to their win, the Cavalry will take on the Sydney Blue Sox in the Preliminary Final Series starting on Thursday and will begin their drive to repeat as the Australian Baseball League champions.