Injured hitter latest blow to Cavalry's title hopes
Cavalry player KC Hobson. Photo: Melissa Adams
The Canberra Cavalry has suffered a blow to its Australian Baseball League title tilt with star hitter KC Hobson set to return to North America due to a calf injury.
Hobson has been the Cavalry's number-four, or clean-up, hitter since the Toronto Blue Jays prospect arrived in the ACT at the start of the season.
But the Blue Jays decided to recall him and he will leave on Sunday.
The injury has hampered the first base in recent weeks and his average has dropped to .262 from a season-high .600.
Cavalry coach Michael Collins said Hobson was a big loss and it would be up to Ryan Stovall, Kody Hightower, Jeremy Barnes and Adam Buschini to pick up the load.
The left-hander will also be missed in a team filled largely with right-handed hitters.
The Cavalry, who beat Brisbane 8-4 at Narrabundah Ballpark on Friday night to level their four-game series at 1-1, has feelers out for possible recruits.
It's the second season in a row the Cavs have lost their clean-up hitter.
Highly rated switch-hitter John Tolisano also returned to the US due to a shoulder injury.
The Cavalry had its first taste of life without Hobson on Thursday.
They missed his clutch hitting and lost the first game of the series 5-2 to the Brisbane Bandits at Narrabundah Ballpark.
''It's not good [losing Hobson], but you know I've said it the whole year we are extremely lucky with the guys we do have and the versatility they do have,'' Collins said.
''We're able to move some guys around and fill that positional void.
''It's definitely going to be a loss to lose that left-handed power bat in the middle of the line-up.''
The festive season is proving an unhappy one for the Cavalry, with Hobson not the only injury loss.
Blue Jays outfielder Jonathan Jones returned to the US on Friday due to a persistent hamstring problem that restricted him to just eight games.
A shoulder injury means Canberra product Hayden Beard's ABL season is over before it began and he'll fly to the US for surgery.
Beard was a crucial cog in the Cavalry's pitching rotation as a starter last season.
Fellow thrower Chris Coleman has also failed to shrug off an elbow problem and will return home without tasting ABL action.
Throw in Canberra's Japanese imports, who return home after the Bandits series, and the Cavalry roster was starting to get thin.
Collins said it was up to those left to lift their work to keep the team in the top three and in play-off contention.
''We've taken a bit of a hit to our overall roster, but you know what when something like this happens and these guys get hurt now there's an opportunity for other guys to step up and take on that big role,'' he said.
The Cavalry faces the Bandits two more times at Narrabundah Ballpark - on Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 12pm.