Phillies prospects, first baseman Rixon Wingrove, catcher Logan O’Hoppe and left fielder Ben Aklinski, were right in the middle of the Adelaide Giants 5-2 playoff must win over the Canberra Cavalry. The Best of Three Semi-Final ABL Series is now tied up at a game a piece. The rubber match of the series will take place just after midnight Eastern Time tonight in Adelaide, South Australia.
The Giants came back for the must win after going down 7-6 in the first game of Series in Canberra. The Giants bullpen failed to hold a 5-0 lead and a 6-6 tie to go down 1-0 in the first game series loss to the Cavalry.
Last night was a different story even though the Giants lost a 2-0 lead after Wingrove lined a RBI single to score O’Hoppe for the second run in the second inning. Aklinski singled in the fifth inning and came around to score to make the score 3-2 on a sacrifice fly to give the Giants a lead they would not surrender.
O’Hoppe would score his second run of the game in the eighth inning to ice it at 5-2 and force a Game Three on Sunday. All together O’Hoppe and Aklinski would finish up each with two singles and a walk in the game.
O’Hoppe was praised by TV color analyst Shayne Bennett, who was a major league pitcher. Bennett described O’Hoppe as a “specimen” who is “built to play baseball” after watching him warm-up before the game. Bennett pitched for three seasons in the late 90’s for the Montreal Expos.
Wingrove won special praise, also from the play-by-play guys, after he battled former Phillies minor league pitcher and Philadelphia native, Frank Gailey, in a 13-pitch at-bat. He hit a single to right to score the second Giants run. Watch his hit below:
The winner of the deciding game of this best of three series will go on and play the Melbourne Aces for the ABL Championship next weekend. The Aces eliminated the Auckland Tuatara last night in New Zealand to sweep that semi-final series.