Cavalry pitcher Steve Kent's ABL season delivers Japan tryout and baby
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Cavalry pitcher Steve Kent's ABL season delivers Japan tryout and baby

He's going to Japan, was going to Melbourne, but instead ended up in hospital. It's been an eventful few days for Canberra Cavalry star pitcher Steve Kent.

Having earned himself a trip to join Japan team Yokohama DeNA Baystars' spring training, Kent was set to lead the Cavalry charge in their knockout wildcard game against the Melbourne Aces on Wednesday night.

The imminent arrival of his third child and a trip to Japan for spring training are on the cards for Cavalry pitcher Steve Kent.

The imminent arrival of his third child and a trip to Japan for spring training are on the cards for Cavalry pitcher Steve Kent.Credit:Jamila Toderas

But not long after receiving the Cavalry pitcher-of-the-season award at their MVP night on Monday, his wife Brittany started feeling contractions and he was still in hospital awaiting the birth of their third child when the team flew to Melbourne on Tuesday.

It's led to a quick change of plans, with Frank Gailey now to start against the Aces instead.

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The winner will progress to the semi-finals to take on the Brisbane Bandits in Brisbane in a three-game series starting on Friday.

Kent could be back to start game one of that series and he backed Gailey to get the job done in Melbourne.

"Everyone in the team has just as much faith in Frank as they would in me," he said.

"It's not like he's the second best, he's more than capable of being the No.1 pitcher himself."

Aside from the imminent arrival of his third child, it's been a big season for Kent.

The 29-year-old has an earned-run average of 2.90 - meaning he gives up less than three runs for every nine innings he pitches - was joint leader of the ABL for wins with seven and was second for strikeouts with 76.

His efforts caught the eye of the Baystars and he'll spend two weeks joining them at spring training in February.

While it's unlikely it will lead to a contract for the upcoming Nippon Professional Baseball season, Kent said it might open a door for 2020.

He said it might also help the Cavalry recruit players in the future if they know it could lead to a contract with Yokohama, who have a partnership that saw Baystars players play for the Cavalry.

They sent four players Down Under, including Shota Imanaga, who will be remembered as one of the best pitchers to have played in the ABL.

"But over the weekend some pretty important people from the Baystars were over here and I had a meeting with [Cavalry general managers Dan Amodio and Donn McMichael] and my name came up," Kent said.

"They expressed some interest in me and mentioned there was the chance to go over for some spring training, I guess a bit of a trial in their organisation.

"Not so much for this year because all their foreigner spots are filled, but potentially something in the future.

"Even if nothing does come out of it it's a great opportunity to strengthen the relationship between the Baystars and the Cavalry.

"Hopefully if anything it will help us sign some quality players in the future because they'll see there is a bit of a pathway to get over to Japan."

In other Cavalry awards, shortstop Mike Fransoso was named most-valuable player despite missing the first three series of the season.

Zach Wilson won the silver slugger, Robbie Perkins made it back-to-back golden gloves and Zech Lemond won his second relief-pitcher-of-the-year award.

ABL WILDCARD GAME

Wednesday: Canberra Cavalry v Melbourne Aces in Melbourne, 7.30pm.

David Polkinghorne covers the Canberra Raiders, local rugby league, Canberra Cavalry, racing and cycling, along with every other sport, for The Canberra Times.

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