CANBERRA, ACT - It was a intense night in Canberra as the Canberra Elite Cavalry battled against the Brisbane Bandits proudly presented by WellDog during Game 1 of a must win series. Despite the Cavalry's efforts with the bat and some late scoring, in the end, the Bandits took the game 8-5.
The Cavalry started strong with a triple to Josh Almonte in the top of the first inning that was driven in by David Kandilas. They added another run in the sixth inning when David Kandilas was driven in by Robbie Perkins single but the Cavalry couldn't find their rhythm.
Bandits opening pitcher Rick Teasley settled in, keeping the Cavalry to 2 runs for six innings until he was replaced by Zac Treece in the seventh inning. Treece went 1 innings, keeping the Cavalry scoreless.
Cavalry starting pitcher, Brian Grening went 5.2 innings and gave up 5 runs. Grening was replaced by Tyler Herr in the fifth inning, throwing 1.1 innings and keeping the Bandits scoreless.
Despite the loss, Cavalry Manager Michael Collins believed the pitching performance was, in parts, still outstanding.
"Tyler Herr was great, again," Collins said.
"The one big inning against Grening hurt in the fifth, with the three run homerun but you take that homerun away and he has pitched an outstanding ball game."
AJ Holland came on in the eighth inning but after giving up 2 quick runs, Cavalry Manager Michael Collins called upon Josh DeGraaf to close the night out. DeGraaf (3.61 ERA) went 2 innings, with no runs.
The Bandits guns started firing when Aaron Whitehead drove home Thomas Milone in the fourth inning. This was followed by a 3 run homerun from Trent Oeltjen that placed the Bandits in front 4-1.
The Bandits added another run in the fifth inning but their guns didn't stop there, adding three more runs in the eighth inning. A single to centre field from Kevin Padlo drove in two and an Aaron Whitehead single into short centre field extended the Bandits lead to 8-2.
The Cavalry attempted a late charge late in the game closing the gap 8-5. In the eighth inning they added two more runs against Bandits pitcher Justin Erusmus and one run against closing pitcher, Ryan Searle in the ninth inning but it just wasn't enough for the night.
Cavalry Manager Michael Collins knows the team must now win their next three games against the Bandits to secure an ABL Playoff spot and keep their postseason alive.
"It puts us in a must win series, we need to bounce back tomorrow," Collins said.
"There were a couple of big innings that really hurt us. We gave up 4 runs in the fifth and three more in the eighth. Those big run innings were the difference."
"Being able to bounce back late in the ball game and put pressure on their [Bandits] better pitchers are positive signs."
Game 2 between the Cavalry and the Bandits is on Friday 27 January from 7 pm AEDT at MIT Ballpark.