Canberra Cavalry 5 bt Adelaide Bite 2
Michael Crouse blasts a go-ahead two-run homer for the Cavalry in the sixth. Photo: Ben Southall (SMP Images)
Having spent New Year's Eve at the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Canberra Cavalry outfielder Mike Crouse brought some of the fireworks back with him as he produced two long bombs to spark a 5-2 win over the Adelaide Bite at Narrabundah Ballpark on Thursday night.
It can't be the water, but Crouse must like something about Adelaide.
For the second time in a week, the Toronto Blue Jays prospect hit back-to-back home runs from consecutive trips to the plate against the Bite.
Cavalry ace Brian Grening gave up just two earned runs through 6.1 innings. Photo: Ben Southall (SMP Images)
His first was a two-run dinger over left field that reclaimed the lead for the Cavs and the second was a solo shot that was the cherry that brought them closer to the top of the Australian Baseball League.
Perth's 5-4 loss in Melbourne drew Canberra one win behind the top-placed Heat.
Crouse said his time Down Under was all about getting better and producing the big hits on a regular basis.
''I was just seeing it well today and in one of the games in Adelaide,'' he said.
''I've just got to keep seeing it, get my pitches and put that swing on it. Coming into the New Year you've got to come out strong, you know.''
Jon Berti's outstanding form continued after he produced a double with his first visit to the plate.
A wild pitch and Jeremy Barnes single later and the second baseman was crossing home plate to give the Cavalry the early lead in the first.
But the Bite rallied and went in front with two runs in the third as Cavs starter Brian Grening struggled to find his rhythm.
Then Crouse stepped up to the plate.
Having discovered a liking for Adelaide pitching last weekend, Crouse smashed a bomb over the left-field fence to drive in two runs and give the Cavs back the lead in the bottom of the sixth.
A Casey Frawley sacrifice-fly allowed Perkins to get home to give the reigning ABL champs a two-run buffer.
Canberra reliever Nick Pugliese held the lead going into the final frame, before another Crouse bomb ensured Cavs closer Sean Toler would have a bigger margin to work with.
Game two of four is Friday at 7pm.
Canberra's best: LF-Crouse (2-3, 2HR, 3RBI), 2B-Berti (2-4, 1R), P-Pugliese (1.2IP, 1H, 0ER, 4K), 3B-Barnes (1-3, 1RBI, 1BB), P-Grening (6.1IP, 6H, 2ER, 3K).