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Kent mounts return for Cavalry

Date

David Polkinghorne

The return of closing pitcher Steve Kent will boost the Canberra Cavalry's bullpen for the coming Australian Baseball League series against the Brisbane Bandits.

Born and bred in the ACT, Kent returned from the US this week and attended training on Wednesday.

Originally a starting pitcher, the 23-year-old switched to the bullpen last season and was an instant success.

He found his niche as a closer and was credited with five wins and one loss, while boasting an earned-run average of just 3.26 - which indicates how many runs he'd give up every nine innings pitched.

Cavalry coach Michael Collins is hopeful Kent will be ready for the three-game Bandits series at the Brisbane Showgrounds next weekend.

Collins is tossing up whether to give him the closing role or use him as a middle innings reliever against left-handed hitters.

''He said he feels good and was excited to start cranking it up as soon as possible. I'm pretty excited to see him back,'' Collins said.

''He's been working out, getting in shape. I don't think he's quite at 100 per cent yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if come the Brisbane series he's itching to get out there.''

But he will miss two days of friendlies being played against the New Zealand national team at Narrabundah Ballpark. An unofficial friendly was held on Thursday night, with no statistics kept.

It will be the pre-season the Cavalry didn't have. Club insiders believe they would have won last weekend against the Sydney Blue Sox if they'd had the same preparation as their rivals.

Collins will try a few things and test out Tuggeranong Vikings import Ryan Stovall.

But he also wants to get more work into his regulars and is eager for starting pitchers Brian Grening, Rob-ert Dickmann and Chris Motta to pitch as many innings as they can.

''Just through word of mouth, a few people have said [Stovall] might be a guy you want to look at,'' Collins said. ''We've had him out to training a few times and he definitely might be a guy that can help us.''

If Stovall has a good series against the Kiwis he could find himself bolstering the Cav's infield stocks.

CAVALRY v NEW ZEALAND

At Narrabundah Ballpark. Friday and Saturday, 7pm.

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