Canberra Cavalry 9 bt Sydney Blue Sox 1
Canberra Cavalry celebrate their game three preliminary final win over the Sydney Blue Sox. Photo: SMP Images
Two months ago Canberra Cavalry pitcher Steven Chambers was warming the Brisbane Bandits bench, unwanted by the Australian Baseball League cellar-dwellers.
Now the right-hander's rags to riches story is complete after his fine display helped Cavalry clinch a preliminary finals series win over Sydney Blue Sox with a 9-1 rout in Sunday's deciding third clash.
Starter Chambers gave up just three hits and one run through six innings to give Canberra a chance to defend its title in the three-game championship series in Perth next week.
Steven Chambers, cast aside by the Brisbane Bandits mid-season, pitched the game of his life for Canberra Cavalry on Sunday to help guide the side back to the ABL Championship Series. Photo: SMP Images
A pitching depth crisis forced Canberra to take a punt on the 23-year-old, and he returned the faith in spades by saving his best performance of the season for when his new club needed it most.
Three horror Blue Sox errors in the sixth inning helped Canberra pile on five runs and end its arch-rival's season.
Chambers, who plays independent baseball in Japan over the off-season, was resigned to playing in Brisbane's local league before Canberra gave him a lifeline in December.
''It's been the ride of a lifetime for me; I'm so happy to have this opportunity and be a part of this team,'' Chambers said.
''My plan was just to pitch as much as I could in the local [Brisbane] comp and when I head back to Japan, to be ready as much as possible. When I got the call to come to Canberra it was a no-brainer, it was a yes straight away.''
The loss means Sydney has been eliminated at the preliminary final stage in all four seasons of the Australian Baseball League.
Two errors from Zach Shepherd and another by Mitch Dening helped the Cavalry blow the game wide open in the sixth inning at Blacktown.
Shepherd's first blooper denied Sydney a probable double play. Instead Canberra had runners on first and second with no outs, and made the host pay.
Sydney hit back with a run in the bottom of the sixth to bridge the gap to 5-1, but couldn't avoid a dominant Canberra win.
The Cavalry didn't make an error and set up a chance to add another local title to its shock Asian Series win earlier this season.
After losing seven of its past 10 matches before the Blue Sox series, the Cavalry has regained form at the right time and will square off with the Heat for the title for the second straight year.
Game one will be held on Friday night from 10pm (Canberra time).