LOSING a key cog in the batting line-up may just be the best thing that ever happened to the Canberra Cavalry.
With clean-up hitter K.C. Hobson (calf) going back to the US, Cavalry coach Michael Collins asked those left to step up and all nine players did exactly that, with an Adam Buschini long bomb ensuring it defeated the Brisbane Bandits 6-1 at Narrabundah Ballpark on Saturday.
With the game on the line, Buschini blasted it over the left-field fence to score three runs and put the game beyond reach of the Bandits. It was his fifth home run of the season.
Collins was impressed with how the team responded.
''These guys have to step up, it's an opportunity, everybody wants to be the hero,'' Collins said. ''All the pitchers want to pitch in the ninth inning with the game on the line, all the hitters want to come up in the big situation.''
Collins was tight-lipped about a leg injury to utility Ryan Stovall, who left Friday night's game early and hasn't played since. Even without those players, the Cavalry bats exploded into life at either end of the game, with a pitching duel through the middle innings.
After conceding an early run, Canberra's top three - Kody Hightower, Kohei Shibata and Buschini - all got across home plate to give the hosts a 3-1 lead after one.
Then the starting pitchers - Cavalry's Chris Motta and Brisbane's Chris Smith - duelled it out before Buschini stepped up in the bottom of the eighth.
The former Philadelphia Philly, who was recruited through Brian Grening and former Cavalry coach Steve Schrenk, cleaned up the good lead-off hitting by Hightower and Shibata.
''We've got a good team, everyone can play,'' Buschini said.
''Those were good guys [we're losing], we're definitely going to miss them, but everyone around us is pretty good.
''Our line-up, even our bench, are good hitters.''
Collins's only concern was a couple of fielding errors early in the game.
But he would have been pleased with a catch taken by third-base Jeremy Barnes. Brisbane bat Ryan Battaglia almost brought rain with a fly ball that Barnes caught leaning over the rail into the Canberra dugout.
After Motta had pitched an impressive seven innings, Dustin Loggins came in and bamboozled the Bandits bats with his curve ball, before Canberra product Steve Kent completed the win.
The Cavalry will look to win their fourth consecutive series in the fourth-and-final game against the Bandits on Sunday.
AT A GLANCE
Canberra Cavalry 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 x - 6
Brisbane Bandits 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 1
Runs - Brisbane: Campbell; Canberra: Hightower 2, Shibata 2, Buschini 2 (1 home run) at Narrabundah Baseball Park. Crowd: 1387.