Canberra Cavalry 8 bt Sydney Blue Sox 7
Cavalry pitcher Kyle Perkins in action on Sunday. Photo: Melissa Adams
Canberra Cavalry will scour the country for a pitcher to boost its stocks after a tightening of import exemptions forced it to sit out two players in its home series with Sydney on Sunday.
The Cavalry sidelined pitcher Mike Morgan and outfielder Antonio Callaway from the amazing 8-7 come-from-behind win over the Blue Sox to tie the series 2-2.
It followed the Australian Baseball League's decision to reduce the imports allowed on its 22-man roster from 16 to 14.
The new rules came into effect for the Sydney series, and while the Cavalry has replaced Callaway with Jason Sloan, Canberra played a man short as it strives to replace Morgan.
Cavalry launched a spirited fightback against its arch rival, recovering from 7-0 down to seal one of the club's more memorable wins.
Canberra is level with Perth atop the table and hopes to sign a pitcher this week before eight straight games against Heat, starting with an away series this weekend.
"We're carrying less pitchers and it puts a lot of stress on everyone else to get those innings in,'' Cavalry general manager Thom Carter said.
"We're spending a lot of time scouting a lot of Australian players and pitchers to fill those spots. We need a resolution before we go to Perth - we can't go a pitcher down playing four games in three days. We're hopeful we can fill that spot this week.''
Although Cavalry still fields slightly more imports than the other five clubs due to Canberra's smaller population, the changes threaten to be a major blow to its title defence.
On Sunday, Canberra had to put regular infielder Sam Thornton on the mound for an inning through necessity, while starting pitcher Kyle Perkins has played most of the year as an outfielder.
Perkins gave up five runs in the first inning and two more in the third as Sydney took a commanding 7-0 lead.
The Cavalry responded with two runs in the fifth inning and a monster home run to Michael Crouse in the sixth.
A wild pitch then allowed Michael Wells to score from third base, reducing the deficit to 7-4. And when Jon Berti drove home Robbie Perkins, the Cavalry trailed by two.
Another run in the seventh drew the hosts closer, and the Cavalry sealed the remarkable comeback win when a Crouse single drove home Casey Frawley in the eighth.