Knecht's numbers improve
Marcus Knecht in full flight for the Cavalry. Photo: Ben Southall (SMP Images)
A Canberra Cavalry fan's quick wit led to outfielder Marcus Knecht changing his jersey number from 51 to four and, after a slow start to the season, the Toronto Blue Jays prospect has started moving his batting numbers in the right direction.
One of his teammates heard someone in the crowd yell out, ''Knecht Four'', a reference to the children's game Connect Four, and it quickly caught on in the Cavalry dugout.
It became the 22-year-old's nickname.
Marcus Knecht. Photo: Ben Southall (SMP Images)
A week later the No.51 was consigned to history after a few fans, led by Jim Taylor, approached Cavalry management and suggested presenting Knecht with the No.4 jersey.
''[The change] wasn't my doing,'' Knecht chuckled.
''In the first series everyone started calling me Knecht Four - the board game - so I got asked if I wanted to change my number from 51 to four because the fans wanted it.
''And I was like, 'Yeah sure, let's do it'. And the next week I walked into the clubhouse and I was No.4.''
Knecht struggled to find his feet early on and had just one hit from his first 16 visits to the plate, but he has slowly turned that around.
His batting average has increased to a healthy .263, with his series against Australian Baseball League reigning champion Perth Heat his best so far.
He averaged .412 against the Heat and hit his first home run, as well as six runs batted-in.
But his contribution was more than just numbers - he's been getting those hits at crucial times.
None more so than the two-run double he hit in game two against Perth, which gave the Cavs an 8-6 victory in a 12-inning marathon.
''I took some time, but me and the coaches have been working on some stuff,'' Knecht said.
''I found something that worked that day and got comfortable and it clicked and I'm getting hits.''
The Toronto native grew up supporting the Blue Jays and still celebrates the 1993 World Series win.
''Hell yeah,'' he said when asked whether he was excited about being drafted by the Blue Jays.
''I've been watching them since I was three-years old when they won the World Series in 1993.
''It's always been a dream and I'm trying to live that dream.''
The Cavalry is looking for its sixth consecutive series win when it hosts Perth at Narrabundah Ballpark on Thursday - although they are coming off a 19-12 hiding in their last game against the Heat.
AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE
Canberra Cavalry v Perth Heat at Narrabundah Ballpark. Thursday at 7pm; Friday at 7pm; Saturday at 7pm; Sunday at noon.