Melbourne Aces Win the Australian Baseball League Regular Season

The Melbourne Aces have won the Australian Baseball League regular season. They will tangle with the winner of the best of three playoff series between the second place Adelaide Bite and third place Brisbane Bandits. Last year these two teams fought it out in the championship final with Brisbane winning.

The last time Melbourne won a championship was back in the old Calvary Cup days in 1997/1998 when they were called the Melbourne Reds. They did come up short to the Perth Heat in the 2011/2012 championship.

On the offensive side Melbourne is led by the bat of Roman Collins, who is third in the league in hitting with a .336 average. The veteran catcher Allan de San Miguel is second in the league in RBIs with 26, four ahead of Collins. Mike Walker also has 26 RBIs and is tied for the league lead in homeruns with 7, one ahead of Miguel. Ronald Acuna only played 20 games but he made an impact with his .375 average and 13 stolen bases.

The pitching staff was led by Mark Hamburger. He led the league in ERA (1.90), strikeouts (86) and wins (5), the Triple Crown of pitching. They got some brief help from Japan with Keisuke Honda providing five dominant starts (4-0, 1.21). Both pitchers threw two complete games and had one shutout, but Honda accomplished his numbers with five less starts.

The Adelaide Bite were led by local legend Mitch Dening, who led the league in hitting with a .340 average. He was close to winning the Triple Crown of hitting, leading the league in RBIs with 27 but falling one short of tying for the homerun lead, finishing the year with 6. Marcus Greene Jr. was a productive bat with six homeruns, 26 RBIs and a .303 average. LeDarious Clark was second in the league in stolen bases with 17 and he also was a productive run producer, driving in 22 runs.

Loek Van Mil led the Bite pitching staff as the closer, saving eight games with a 0.40 ERA.

The defending champion Brisbane Bandits are led on offense by local boy Aaron Whitfield, whose .338 average was second in the ABL. He led the league in stolen bases with 20 and topped the circuit in runs scored with 34. He began his career as a softball player but the Twins liked his talent and convinced him to try his hand at baseball. So far things have worked out well for Whitfield. Mitch Nilsson provided the pop with his seven homeruns tying two other players for the league lead. He also drove in 24 runs. Catcher David Rodriguez hit one less homerun (6) but drove in one more run (25) to also lead the Bandits offense.

Ryan Searle was the Bandits closer, leading all pitchers in saves with 9. His 33 whiffs almost put him in the top ten despite only pitching 24 innings.

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