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Relief in sight for under-fire Cavalry bullpen

David Polkinghorne

Published: January 2 2013 - 3:00AM

The Canberra Cavalry bullpen received much-needed reinforcements on Tuesday after the team's worst loss this season.

Australian Baseball League reigning champions Perth Heat were finally stung into action in the last game of the series, thrashing the Cavalry 19-12 in Perth on Monday night.

Pitcher Brodie Downs arrived in Canberra on New Year's Day and was expected to fill a role as a middle-innings reliever.

He's been brought in as cover for the loss of Japanese duo Masanori Fujihara and Hirokazu Shiranita, who returned to the Hanshin Tigers before Christmas.

Downs was with the Seattle Mariners where he made it to AAA-class - the level below the Major Leagues - before he was released at the start of the 2010 season.

Cavalry manager Michael Collins had his first look at Downs at a training session on Tuesday night.

Canberra general manager Peter Bishell envisioned Downs playing as a reliever.

''He is a former starter, but most recently he's been a middle reliever, so throws two or three innings for us … a bit like Steve Kent can do, probably Eric Massingham can do that [as well],'' Bishell said on Tuesday.

The Perth bats took out the frustrations of three straight losses on the Cavalry pitchers on New Year's Eve in the seven-run flogging.

Cavs starter John Holdzkom didn't last the first inning before he was benched, giving up eight runs, three hits and five walks, while only getting one out.

Canberra was 9-0 down after the first and never recovered.

Canberra did pull it back to 13-9 down, but reliever Sean Guinard gave up another six runs in the bottom of the eighth to effectively end the contest.

The Cavalry has the travel day and Wednesday to regroup before another four-game series against the Heat at Narrabundah Ballpark starting on Thursday.

Canberra remains outright first on the ABL ladder, with Perth and the Sydney Blue Sox locked together in a battle for second.



CANBERRA 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 7 3 - 12

PERTH 9 1 0 1 1 0 1 6 x - 19

At Barbagallo Ballpark, Perth on Monday night. Crowd: 1363.

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