Sport

'Big pieces' return for Canberra Cavalry's ABL series against Sydney Blue Sox

The Canberra Cavalry get two "big pieces" back ahead of their crucial home series against the Sydney Blue Sox, with manager Michael Collins confident four wins from their final two rounds will be enough to qualify for the Australian Baseball League play-offs.

Collins said both shortstop Jason Leblebijian (back) and first-base Boss Moanaroa (calf) were fit for the Blue Sox series, which will determine the winner of the Hume Highway Cup, although Leblebijian might play designated hitter at some point.

The Blue Sox have won five of the eight games between the two sides after sweeping the Cavs in Sydney last time they met.

Canberra hasn't won the cup since it's inception two seasons ago, but the home team will be boosted by the return of two of its biggest offensive weapons.

Moanaroa missed all of last weekend's series against the Perth Heat, while Leblebijian only played in two of them.

Leblebijian leads the league in runs scored and runs batted in, while Moanaroa is third in the ABL for RBIs.

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Not only are they offensive weapons, but Leblebijian is crucial at shortstop and Moanaroa's glove work at first turns potential throwing errors into what appear to be easy outs.

"Leb's a big piece, Boss is a big piece also, but with the defensive Lebby provides and the leadership in the middle of the field on defence - he's been a big part of the team all year," Collins said.

"His entire game is a big part of our team so he's definitely one we really want to get the most out of.

"Boss also, with the big left-handed bat in the middle, is huge."

Collins has made just one change to the roster, bringing Moanaroa in for pitcher Rafael Fernandes.

He's kept James D'Arcy in the bullpen to have one final look at the relief pitcher, with the view to playing his potential play-off roster against the Adelaide Bite next week.

Third-base Jeremy Barnes (toe), who is away coaching the ACT junior boys teams, was expected to be fit to play the Bite.

Collins said catching the ladder-leading Brisbane Bandits was still "doable", even they hold a three game advantage over the Cavs with just eight to play.

But he wasn't focused on that - just on making the play-offs.

Canberra is three games ahead of third-placed Bite and four in front of Sydney.

"Looking at who we play and the numbers, realistically four wins gets us there without having to worry about other results," Collins said.

"Three games back with eight to play, I'd say we'd have to win a minimum of five or six, probably six or seven, to catch Brisbane  ... so to chase them down we're going to have to play some pretty good quality baseball - definitely doable."

ABL ROUND 13

Thursday: Canberra Cavalry v Sydney Blue Sox at Narrabundah Ballpark, 7pm. Friday 7pm, Saturday 7pm and Sunday 5pm.

Cavalry roster - pitchers: Michael Click, Louis Cohen, Scott Cone, James D'Arcy, Brian Grening, Jimmer Kennedy, Steven Kent, Phil Kish, Aaron Marshall Thompson, Colton Turner; Catchers: Ryan Miller, Jack Murphy, Robbie Perkins; Infielders: Jason Leblebijian, Boss Moanaroa, Bryan Pounds, Aaron Sayers, Jason Sloan, River Stevens; Outfielders: David Harris, Cord Sandberg, Aaron Sloan.

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