Sport

Pirates pitcher John Holdzkom's success underlines merit of Australian Baseball League

Australian Baseball League general manager Ben Foster says he always knew the league was a breeding ground for the next Major League stars, but John Holdzkom's rapid rise from obscurity to play-offs pitcher is confirmation.

Foster said this summer was a very important year for the ABL to build on the back of a massive year for the sport in Australia.

On target: Former Canberra Cavalry pitcher John Holdzkom relieved in the Pittsburgh Pirates' defeat in the MLB wild card ...
On target: Former Canberra Cavalry pitcher John Holdzkom relieved in the Pittsburgh Pirates' defeat in the MLB wild card game.  Photo: Getty-Images

The Canberra Cavalry created history when they defied the odds to beat multi-million dollar payrolls to win the Asia Series last November.

Then the SCG hosted this year's Major League Baseball season opener, between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers, in March.

Now Holdzkom has come through the ABL ranks to follow in fellow Cavalryman Kevin Kiermaier's footsteps to the MLB play-offs.

Holdzkom pitched one innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild card game on Thursday.

"We always knew that we had some pretty special players coming to the ABL and it was a breeding ground, but it's good to have that official confirmation when you see the guys play every day in the Major Leagues over there," Foster said.

Foster said they needed to carry the momentum into the 2014-15 ABL season.

"It does make it a very important year, but we have built upon the legacy of those events all the time," he said.

"There's nothing finite about the attention we've garnered over the last 12 months.

"We've seen early ticket sales very strong, we've had a couple of sponsors come on board … a month out from opening day we're already seeing the translation of some of those fantastic achievements."

The ABL is looking to introduce a few rules to help speed up the game, including time limits for innings breaks, as well as not throwing pitches for intentional walks.

They're also hoping to attract some Asian professional teams Down Under in 2015 to play games around the country.