Cavalry pitcher John Holdzkom gave up just two hits, three walks and struck out six Perth bats. Photo: Melissa Adams
Starting pitcher John Holdzkom produced his best outing for Canberra on Sunday to lead the Cavalry to a 9-0 victory over reigning Australian Baseball League champion Perth Heat at Narrabundah Ballpark.
The result gave Canberra a 3-1 series win, their sixth series victory in a row, and moved them 4½ games clear of Perth and Sydney Blue Sox.
Adam Buschini, Antonio Callaway and Jeremy Barnes all smashed home runs over the left-field fence - meaning Canberra hit 10 homers for the series.
Jeremy Barnes tags out Perth runner Aaron Bonomi. Photo: Melissa Adams
Buschini is leading the league for home runs, runs batted-in and slugging percentage (a combination of batting average and power).
''Our hitting is so much better than anyone else's,'' Holdzkom said. ''Most teams' weaknesses are in their bullpen and ours is really strong.
''We're the best team in the league by far, from what I've seen.''
Cavalry's Adam Buschini makes a run for home base in the 9-0 win. Photo: Melissa Adams
There were no mental demons awaiting Holdzkom on the mound in his first game after a shocker against Perth on New Year's Eve.
The 2.07-metre Kiwi international dismissed the first seven Heat hitters he faced and was credited with his third win of the season after setting up a shutout with his seven innings pitched. Holdzkom gave up just two hits, three walks and struck out six Perth bats before Kyle Perkins and Sean Toler closed the game out.
''After how poorly I pitched last week, it's good to get some confidence back from the skipper [and] let him know I can go out and throw strikes,'' Holdzkom said.
In contrast, Perth's bullpen was off target and the visitors accidentally hit 10 Canberra batters during the series.
They arrived in the ACT a pitcher short and had to call in 42-year-old knuckleballer Phil Brassington, from Canberra, to fill in.
Injuries to Warwick Saupold and Jack Frawley weakened their roster, which will now lose former major leaguer Virgil Vasquez (returning to the US) as well.
Their offence has also been hit with Luke Hughes and three of the Kennelly brothers also unavailable.
''It's never easy when you're up against it,'' Cavalry coach Michael Collins said.
''They're a little bit short in the bullpen, they're a little bit short on offence with a couple of guys out - although it's only one guy here, one guy there, it seems to get magnified … one or two injuries puts them on the back foot.''
The Cavalry heads to Brisbane on Friday for a series against the Bandits.