Canberra Cavalry's bats continue to struggle and manager Michael Collins admits the Sydney Blue Sox'S better preparation gave them a distinct advantage as they beat the home side 3-1 at Narrabundah Ballpark on Saturday night.
But there could be reinforcements for the Cavalry's undermanned bullpen on the way with rumours star closer Sean Toler could be rethinking his decision not to come Down Under this summer and arrive in Canberra in a fortnight.
The Blue Sox had several pre-season games and started their Australian Baseball League season last weekend when they travelled to Perth, whereas most of the Cavalry only arrived a week ago.
While Collins said it wasn't ideal, there wasn't much that could be done with most of the Cavalry coming from overseas.
He'd also heard the Toler rumour, but said he didn't know whether it was true.
"The pre-season is all about opportunity, we really didn't have the opportunity," Collins said.
"Our local guys did as much they could and they're as ready as they could be, but for our import guys coming in they couldn't get here until the time that they did.
"Our offence is definitely a little underdone, they haven't played many games lately and Sydney are a week in and hopefully we'll see the kind of results they're having next week."
Cavalry catcher Jack Murphy (2-4) and designated hitter Jason Sloan (2-3) were the exceptions, with the latter getting on base at three of his four visits to the plate and also driving Murphy in for the home team's only run of the night.
Sloan had the chance to be part of a late Cavalry rally, but legendary Blue Sox closer Koo Dae-Sung struck him out to end the game with a runner on base.
"Facing Koo, he's a pretty good pitcher, has a lot of experience, been in the Major Leagues in Asia, been in the Major Leagues in America," Sloan said.
"I just tried to get the ball in play, but it didn't seem to happen.
"They're a pretty good side and have a few games under their belt, but we'll keep coming and we'll be back out here tomorrow and try and get another W."
While the offence is struggling, the Cavalry defence is starting to come together, although once again they gave up a burst of runs.
Canberra starter Tristan Crawford had a great outing in his return to the Fort, with seven strikeouts, but the Blue Sox bats got on top of him in the sixth inning to set up a match-winning lead.
Sydney shortstop Tyler Bortnick started off the charge with a double, before a David Kandilas sacrifice fly and Joshua Dean single made it a three-run frame.
Cavs recruit Scott Hillier took a great catch up against the left-field fence in the third, while the infield turned a nice double play in the ninth.
The win gave Sydney a 2-1 series lead, with the final game at the Fort on Sunday at 6pm.
AT A GLANCE
BLUE SOX 000 003 000 - 3R 8H 0E
CAVALRY 000 000 100 - 1R 7H 0E
Cavalry best - P Tristan Crawford (5.1I 7K 2BB 6H 3R), DH Jason Sloan (2-3, RBI, HBP), C Jack Murphy (2-4, R).