Canberra Cavalry players celebrate their win over the Perth Heat at Narrabundah Ball Park on Saturday night. Photo: Jay Cronan
WITH one swing of the bat Michael Wells launched himself and the Canberra Cavalry into the record books with his solo home run proving the difference in a tight 7-6 victory over the Perth Heat at Narrabundah Ballpark on Saturday night.
It's the first time a team from Canberra has won the Claxton Shield, the centre piece of the Australian Baseball League championship series.
A pitching duel had ensued after a Heat rally in the top of the fifth inning levelled the scores at 6-all until a solo shot by Wells in the bottom of the seventh put the Cavs back in front.
ABL championship series game two - Canberra v Perth
The victorious Canberra Cavalry. Photo: Jay Cronan
Canberra product Aaron Sloan was named most valuable player after another exceptional night with both bat and glove.
From his four at-bats, he had three hits and produced a couple of clutch plays in the field.
The 19-year-old was happy with the championship ring, but blown away by the MVP award.
He said his focus was now on working hard over the winter and trying to take his game to the next level.
Sloan's had no offers from a Major League affiliated team as yet, but with the game beamed into 40 countries he's bound to have caught a few eyes.
''What can I say now? I'm even more stoked, I don't know what to say now, I'm lost for words, I'm just really excited,'' an overwhelmed Sloan said.
After claiming the first game of the series on Friday, the Cavs got off to a mixed start.
You never know what you're going to get when ''Big'' John Holdzkom's on the mound and his first inning was a mixed bag - full of strikeouts, walks, hit batters and two runs.
It gave the reigning champs an early two-run lead - a lead they should've held until at least the third inning, despite a solo home run by Cavs shortstop Kody Hightower.
Former major leaguer Luke Hughes looked set to turn a double play for Perth, but fumbled and didn't even get the force out of Aaron Sloan at second base - although both Hughes and Heat starter Warwick Saupold argued the call with the umpires.
From there the Cavalry runs flooded in and 10 minutes later the home side was 5-2 up. Then the usually reliable Heat third base Carter Bell had a throwing error that led to that going out to 6-2.
It didn't look like Hughes's night when he grounded into a double play and found himself in the middle of a run down - running back and fourth between first and second base trying to get past the Cavs defence.
But he showed why he's played in The Show, playing a big part in the Heat rally.
He hit a triple to get his team within one, before catcher de San Miguel drove him home to level the scores.
It proved the end of Holdzkom's night, whose first five outs were all strikeouts.
Before Perth got on top of him, he'd troubled them with his mix of heat and sliders.
Then the pitchers took over until Wells produced his heroics, with Canberra's bullpen getting the bragging rights over their Heat counterparts.
Cavalry manager Michael Collins, born and bred in Canberra, deflected any praise from becoming the first manager to win the Shield for the ACT.
There will be no need for game three as the Cavs celebrate a much-deserved win, having clearly been the best team all year, also winning the minor premiership.
AT A GLANCE
PERTH 2 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 - 6
CANBERRA 1 4 1 0 0 0 1 0 X - 7
At Narrabundah Ballpark. Crowd: 2043.
Runs - Perth: Adamson 2, T Kennelly 2, Bonomi, Hughes; Canberra: Callaway 2, Hightower (1 home run), Wells (1 home run), Stovall, Buschini, Sloan.