Canberra Cavalry manager Michael Collins says first-base Jason Sloan was a "huge contributor" for the way he stepped up in the absence of Boss Moanaroa (calf) and Jason Leblebijian (back).
Sloan and cult hero Jack Murphy were brilliant in the middle of the Cavs batting line-up, helping Canberra to a 9-5, extra-innings victory over Perth Heat in Perth on Sunday.
The win keeps the Cavalry's (27 wins, 21 losses) remote chances of pinching top spot on the Australian Baseball League ladder alive and three games behind the Brisbane Bandits (30-18) with eight games remaining.
But Collins was focused on simply making the play-offs rather than finishing top as their final two series are against the third-placed Adelaide Bite (24-24) and fourth-placed Sydney Blue Sox (23-25).
He was happy with the way his pitching staff responded this week and said if they continued in that vein they should be "just fine".
Sloan drove in three runs, as did Murphy, while third-base Bryan Pounds and shortstop River Stevens, who was celebrating his 24th birthday, seemed to get on base at almost every at-bat.
His efforts were made even more important due to the absence of Moanaroa and Leblebijian, who are Canberra's most productive bats.
"Jason Sloan has been a huge contributor, being very productive and this weekend he hits third," Collins said.
"With Boss being away and for him to step up that's awesome."
Canberra got off to the perfect start, with Sloan's sacrifice fly bringing home lead-off hitter David Harris to open the scoring.
But from there the game ebbed and flowed, with the lead never greater than one run during the regulation nine innings.
Perth designated-hitter Allan de San Miguel continued to be a thorn in Canberra's side, his eighth-inning home run levelled the scores and proved enough to send it into extra innings.
From there the Cavs' offence exploded, helped by some wayward Perth throwing, as they took advantage of the ABL's tiebreaker rules – which puts runners at first and second in the 11th inning – to score four runs.
Cavalry closer Michael Click didn't give the Heat hitters a sniff to record his fourth win of the season.
Canberra's next series is hosting the Blue Sox for four games at Narrabundah Ballpark, with the first game on Thursday at 7pm.
Collins was expecting both Moanaroa and Leblebijian to be available.
"That's a big series for us. Over the years we've played Sydney really tough," he said.
"If I recall they've probably had the upper hand taking the Hume Highway Cup a couple of times over the last couple of years so it's definitely something we need to talk about and prepare for this week.
"The big issue with them is going to be minimising the damage. When we played them last time, we didn't really stop a lot of their hitters ... and we couldn't get going as an offence."
An error-riddled performance contributed to the Cavs losing game three to the Heat 7-3 on Saturday night, where the visitors gave up a 3-1 lead.
AT A GLANCE
Canberra 102 010 100 04 - 9R 13H 0E
Perth 021 001 010 00 - 5R 10H 1E
Win: Michael Click (4-1, 1.46); Loss: Warwick Saupold (1-4, 4.26); Cavs best: 1B-Jason Sloan (1-3, 3RBI, 1W, 2SF), DH-Jack Murphy (1-4, 3RBI, 2SF), SS-River Stevens (3-4, 1W), P-Michael Click (2.0IP, 0H, 0R, 0W, 3K).
Canberra 001 110 000 - 3R 5H 5E
Perth 000 140 20x - 7R 10H 1E
Win: Scott Mitchinson (3-1, 1.57); Loss: Steven Kent (6-3, 3.32); Cavs best: DH-Jack Murphy (3-5, 1RBI), 3B-Bryan Pounds (1-2, 1RBI, 2W), P-Jimmer Kennedy (2.0IP, 1H, 0R, 1W, 1K).