Sport

Canberra Cavalry in hunt for Australian pitcher

The Cavalry's pitching roster includes Canberran Steve Kent.
The Cavalry's pitching roster includes Canberran Steve Kent. 

The Canberra Cavalry are looking for one Australian pitcher to complete their roster and while chief executive Donn McMichael is confident they've assembled a strong roster, he admits injuries will make or break their Australian Baseball League season.

McMichael added they might need to ask the ABL for concessions in regard to the new import rules, which deem five of the 10 players in the game need to be Australians.

Canberra is looking to go one better than last season and reclaim the Claxton Shield they won the year before.

The 25-man roster includes returning stars Brian Grening and Jack Murphy, who played big roles in last year's Asia Series win, and has been bolstered by Australian national team pitchers Tim Atherton and Tristan Crawford.

But McMichael said the Cavalry would need some luck with injuries, although he said that wasn't a problem restricted to Canberra.

Included in the 25 is Canberra-born pitcher Steve Kent, who  is returning from Tommy John surgery and will miss the first month.

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Hayden Beard (shoulder) could bolster the ranks in the second half of the season if his rehabilitation goes well.

"We do have a good roster and we are a competitive side, but  ... we are always going to be in trouble if we have injuries," McMichael said.

"Probably our concern at the moment is our pitching strength - we've got good pitchers, but we don't have a lot of depth."

McMichael said they were still looking all over Australia for an extra Australian pitcher to bolster their bullpen as a middle-innings reliever, with the ABL assisting in the search.

Grening has helped recruit some of his Southern Maryland teammates, including reliever Jake Brown and starters Ian Marshall and Gaby Hernandez, while Gary starter Dustin Crenshaw is also coming from the independent leagues.

The new import rules means five players from the pitcher, eight positional players and the designated hitter need to be Australian.

Canberra has the smallest baseball population of any of the ABL teams to draw on and McMichael admitted they might ask for some help.

"We've been trying to get some concessions for some time and we'll continue to push," he said.

"The ABL's been very good about it and very supportive about it because of our reduced numbers."

While the ABL season has already started, the Cavs have a first-round bye and begin their season against arch rivals, the Sydney Blue Sox, at Narrabundah Ballpark on Thursday.

But the entire roster and coach Michael Collins have arrived in Canberra and will play in a Halloween exhibition game at the Fort on Saturday.

AT A GLANCE

Saturday: Canberra Cavalry Halloween exhibition game at Narrabundah Ballpark, 4pm

Cavalry roster - pitchers: Brian Grening, Tim Atherton, Jake Brown, Tristan Crawford, Steve Kent, Aaron Thompson, Dustin Crenshaw, AJ Holland, Ian Marshall, Gabriel Hernandez, Wayne Ough; catchers: Jack Murphy, Robbie Perkins, Kieran Bradford; infielders: LB Dantzler, Christian Lopes, Marcus Lemon, Mitch Walding, Aaron Sloan, Jason Sloan; outfielders: Todd McDonald, Anthony Alford, Scott Hillier, Adam Silva, Alex Hudak.