Canberra Cavalry lose series to Adelaide Bite in preview of ABL prelim final

Canberra Cavalry manager Michael Collins used the final round of the Australian Baseball League against the Adelaide Bite to "prepare for the championships".

The Cavs lost the fourth-and-final game against the Adelaide Bite 2-1 at Norwood on Sunday to lose the series 3-1.

Canberra Cavalry pitcher Steven Kent was on fire against the Adelaide Bite on Saturday.
Canberra Cavalry pitcher Steven Kent was on fire against the Adelaide Bite on Saturday. Photo: Ryan Schembri/SMP Images / ABL

They'll face each other again in the preliminary final, with game one to be played in Adelaide on Friday night before the series moves to Canberra for games two and three (if required).

It looked like it could be a tough day for Cavalry starting pitcher Scott Cone, after Bite shortstop Travis Demeritte hit his first pitch of the game for a home run.

But Cone dominated from there and the Cavs levelled the score when Rivers Stevens' sacrifice fly drove in second-base Jeremy Barnes in the top of the fifth inning.

The Bite were able to capitalise on a rare throwing error from Cavalry shortstop Jason Leblebijian, who'd been brilliant until then, with outfielder Ben Lodge scoring the winning run in the seventh. 


"We set out from last week that this week was about preparing for the championships," Collins said.

"So we did try a couple of things – we bunted throughout the series, we had a couple of guys try and get in motion running or hit and runs on offence as well as trying to run a couple of plays on defence that might come up in the play-offs.

"Definitely not going through the motions, this was about preparing."

There was an injury concern for the Cavs, with Barnes appearing to struggle with the turf toe that ruled him out for six weeks, which led to him getting subbed out of the game.

Collins said it was an injury that just had to be managed. 

He said Brian Grening and Steven Kent would start the first two games, with a decision to be made between Louis Cohen and Scott Cone for the final starting role.

Because it's a best-of-three series, Collins will also consider only picking nine pitchers in his 22-man roster.

The Cavalry suffered heavy losses in the opening two games, but fought back to win the third 3-2 – on the back of strong performance from Kent (six innings, four hits, no runs, two walks and 12 strike outs) – and narrowly lose on Sunday.

Kent felt the pitching staff had arrested the momentum that was with the Bite going into the finals.

"You've got to bounce back and turn it around, don't let it keep happening," he said.

"It gets to the point where someone has to step up and get the job done. All the boys flicked that switch and were locked in for the last two games."

While he said the extra travel was a factor, Collins said having the final at-bat was always an advantage.

"In the decisive games ... you want to have the last at-bat in baseball so you want to be the home team," he said.

"Obviously the travel schedule is probably not the easiest or best for it, but realistically that doesn't matter – enough guys on both teams have been a part of professional baseball and travel like this is part of it."

Tickets go on sale for the Narrabundah Ballpark games on Monday at 11am. 


Canberra 000 010 000 - 1R 7H 1E 

Adelaide 100 000 10x - 2R 6H 1E

Win: Takuro Ito (2-0, 2.51); Loss: James D'Arcy (0-1, 9.00); Cavs best: P-Scott Cone (5.0IP, 5H, 1R, 2W, 5K, 1HR), RF-SS-River Stevens (1-4, 1RBI), .