Two Australian Baseball League rivals have provided players to the Canberra Cavalry for round one to ensure the 2020-21 season is kept alive.
The Brisbane Bandits have sent three development players and Donald Lutz to Canberra for the season, while the Sydney Blue Sox offered short-stop Travis Bazzana for this weekend's series against the Perth Heat.
There were fears the Cavalry would be unable to field a team in Perth with five imports still completing their two weeks' quarantine.
Cavalry MVP Zach Wilson, infielder Mikey Reynolds, former Major League starter Shawn Morimando and Toronto Blue Jay prospects Samad Taylor and Chavez Young, will be available for round two.
In good news for the club, returning outfielder Tucker Nathans has been included on their 22-man roster for the opening series.
Manager Keith Ward is confident Canberra can overcome their roster challenges and be competitive against the Heat.
"We've been really busy over the last two weeks filling out our roster and trying to make sure we put out a really competitive team onto the paddock, as half a dozen of our imports are going to be in quarantine for that first series," Ward said.
"The real challenge for us this weekend was to cover those players. Our roster will take a different shape and look, with a few guys helping us out from Brisbane and Sydney.
"We're really thankful for their assistance and support, not only for the players but also the Blue Sox and Bandits assisting us."
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Ward welcomed the return of foundation player Lutz to Narrabundah Ballpark, saying he's a valuable recruit and a proven ABL performer.
The former Cincinnati Reds batter first played with Canberra a decade ago, having since continued his ABL career in Brisbane.
Bandits owner Mark Ready approached him about helping out Canberra for the season given his connection to the club, with Lutz saying "he's on a big mission to keep baseball going in this country and improve it."
Lutz manages the Bandits Academy and his Cavalry move will also let him oversee the development of loaned players Jay Myers, Dermot Fritsch, and Brandan Bidois.
"That was the other reason for coming. I'm pretty excited to keep an eye on them and hopefully they'll go to some ball games on the field," Lutz said.
"It should be a pretty cool experience for them to be on the field and around some other guys in Canberra.
"Baseball is a smaller sport in certain countries but it's only getting bigger. It only helps if you play at more places and meet more people.
"I've met so many good friends over the world by playing in different countries and with different teams. It's going to be a good experience for them."
Lutz landed in Canberra on Tuesday and has joined the club at training, with the Cavalry intensifying their preparations leading into round one.
More than half of the Cavalry's players are currently based interstate and are putting in their work at home, with Ward saying they'll put their best foot forward in Perth and win as many games as possible.
"No doubt, it's been a little more difficult than usual but at the end of the day we'll be ready," Ward said.
"We're a really proud club and as individuals, our guys are competitive as anybody and want to do well regardless of the circumstances.
Canberra will back up the Heat series with a pair of matches against the Melbourne Aces at Narrabundah Ballpark, which includes their home opener on December 26.
"I'm really excited to come and play at the Fort again," Lutz said.
"I remember when I played my first year, there weren't thousands of fans but the atmosphere was always crazy.
"Whoever showed up, everyone was so supportive and I know it's been like that ever since. I really look forward to playing in front of those people."
AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE
Round one - December 18: Canberra Cavalry v Perth Heat in Perth, 10pm. December 19 7pm and 10pm. December 20 7pm.
Pitchers: Steve Kent, Frank Gailey, Travis McDonald, Rhys Niit, Josh Warner, Dean Aldridge, James Albury, Kyle Cross, Jack Lee, Brandon Biddis, Guillaume Dupot-Duguay.
Infielders: Cam Warner, Boss Moanaroa, Josh Fritsch, Donald Lutz, Robbie Perkins, Jay Myers, Dermott Fritsch, Travis Bazzana.
Outfielders: David Kandilas, Jack Middleton, Tucker Nathans.