Tensions boil over at The Fort on Friday night after Jack Murphy was hit by a pitch. Photo: SMP Images
THE Canberra Cavalry-Sydney Blue Sox rivalry bubbled to the surface after Cavalry catcher Jack Murphy was struck by a wild pitch in Saturday's 11-4 home loss.
But Canberra manager Michael Collins dismissed the altercation as ''all part of the game'' after the dugouts were cleared and verbal barbs exchanged after the second inning incident.
The umpires and coaches were able to calm the situation before it escalated further after Murphy was hit by a Connor Whalen pitch.
The two sides have enjoyed a healthy on-field rivalry since the Australian Baseball League's inception, but it was the visitors who retained their composure best to level the series at 1-1.
It snapped a five-game losing streak for Sydney, and allowed Perth to leapfrog Canberra at the top of the table.
''These things happen, one of our guys got hit and he didn't like it,'' Collins said.
''That's all part of the game. You play a team enough times and there's sure to be a bit of rivalry and excitement both ways.
''On a personal level there's no rivalry for me, Sydney's so close to us so some of their fans come down to watch.
''There's always a bit of oohing and ahhing when someone gets hit, regardless of who's playing.''
Collins denied the Cavalry suffered a mental letdown after the second inning incident.
''I wouldn't say it was anything to do with that,'' he said.
''Our pitching wasn't at its best, we walked a lot of batters and gave up a lot of hits.''
On Saturday night, Canberra’s pitching again struggled as the Blue Sox romped to an 8-1 win.
With the scores locked at 1-1 in the top of the sixth, the Blue Sox stung Cavalry starter Jeff Lyman for three runs and were never headed as they added further runs in the eighth and ninth innings.
The result levels the best-of-11 Hume Highway Cup season series at 3-3 and puts the Cavalry in danger of losing their first series of the season.
The four-game series will conclude with a rare Sunday night fixture at Narrabundah Ball Park from 6pm.
Canberra normally plays its Sunday games in the afternoon, but believes the experiment will help boost the crowd.
''It's something our front office is trying out to get a few more fans in,'' Collins said.
''Sunday's typically a bit quieter because the local baseball community have club games on Sunday afternoon.
''It's probably not the ideal situation for Sydney to have to stick around a few extra hours, but it's about the league and if more people can come it's promoting the game.''