Baseballers face crunch time in capital

BASEBALL 

Illawarra duo Trent D'Antonio and Josh Dean put their Australian Baseball League hopes on the line in Canberra tonight.

The Sydney Blue Sox pair head to the nation's capital for a three-match series with league champions Canberra Cavalry.

Depending on the results, Sydney will host one or two return fixtures over the weekend.

West Cardinal Dean said the Blue Sox pair were prepared for a tough series.

"Canberra have been the form team for the past couple of years - Asian champions and defending champions, they have got a lot of guys who definitely know how to play the game," he said.

"They are a team that never lets you get away with it, they always fight to the end.

"We have lost a couple of tight games to them which definitely shows their ability to get it over the line but we have also won some tight ones as well.

"We are looking for a very tightly-contested weekend of baseball."

Sydney claimed a 6-5 edge over the Cavalry in their regular-season clash and Dean was hopeful the trend would continue when it counted most during the play-offs.

The 27-year-old was also confident his form could continue in the post season.

"I have had a pretty good year statistically after having a whole season off. Coming into the finals I am still swinging a pretty good bat," Dean said.

"I am enjoying the ability to come in feeling relaxed and feeling ready to go."

D'Antonio led the Blue Sox in RBIs this season with 17 and is expected to put on another strong show this weekend.

"Trent has been pretty consistent. With the league it is a tough league to be working and playing at the same time and from that, to put the numbers up that Trent has whilst having to work and move around is exceptional," Dean said.

"He is going to be taking some good form, not only in the last couple of games but against Canberra down there."

A win over Canberra would set up a match-up with the Perth Heat for the ABL title.

"One big thing over there that we experienced with the Heat - they have got a great fan base," Dean said.

"In saying that, to get over there and beat them and show that Sydney is as dominant in the baseball, even if the records might not show it, is the motivation for us to show that we are here. We are serious about what we do as well."

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