Cavalry batter KC Hobson helped the side to a 3-1 series win over Sydney on Sunday. Photo: Melissa Adams
Michael Collins could feel the momentum building in the Canberra Cavalry dugout as they produced the best rally in the club's short existence, coming from five runs down in the ninth inning to beat fierce rivals Sydney Blue Sox 7-6 at Blacktown on Sunday.
The 3-1 series win puts the Cavalry outright second on the Australian Baseball League ladder with only reigning champions Perth Heat ahead of them.
Canberra never really looked like winning due to a sloppy defensive effort that gave the Blue Sox the upper hand for most of the game.
But the visitors' bats sprung to life in the top of the ninth, with usually reliable Sydney closer Matthew Williams copping a hiding.
Before Sunday, Williams had allowed only one run all season. The Cavs scored five runs to force the game into an extra inning, where they finished the job with Kody Hightower driving in Josh Matavesi for what proved to be the winning run. Cavalry closer Sean Toler then earned his seventh save of the season.
Collins said once Michael Wells and Jack Murphy got the first two hits the team started to believe.
Wells singled, then Murphy sent him home with a double before Marcus Knecht made it 6-3 with a triple. Williams walked Antonio Callaway and Kohei Shibata, with both scoring from a KC Hobson double.
Hobson was out at home plate trying to score the go-ahead run from a Jeremy Barnes single, but he made Blue Sox catcher Trent D'Antonio earn the out with a fierce hip-and-shoulder.
''After we had a couple of good at-bats, we had a few runners get on, a few hits, you could feel the momentum starting to shift, the attitude in the dugout,'' Collins said of his team's heroics.
While the ending was very good, most of the game wasn't Canberra's best. Cavalry starting pitcher John Holdzkom was either striking out Blue Sox batters or walking them.
He had six of the former and eight of the latter, with the Blue Sox opening run coming from a walk with bases loaded.
Holdzkom struggled with his control all through his five innings and hit Sydney short stop in the bottom of the second.
Collins had a heated exchange with the umpires, who thought Holdzkom had intentionally struck Blue Sox batter Michael Lysaught - a charge he strenuously denied.
The Cavalry travel to Melbourne for a four-game series against the bottom-placed Aces on Thursday.
Canberra 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 1 - 7
Sydney 1 0 0 0 3 1 1 0 0 0 - 6
Runs - Canberra: Murphy 2, Matavesi 2, Shibata, Wells, Callaway; Sydney: Kandilas, Penprase, Snelling, Robbins, Moanaroa, Shepherd.