The Bull Oceanic League playoffs begin today with the BOL Wildcard Series. For one lucky team, destiny is not far away. Soon one of the playoff teams will win the Oceanic Cup and be honored as the best of the best. In due time, they can have their parade, hoist up that championship banner and drink the champagne. It will be the crowning glory of the 2016 season.
The first place teams in each league have earned a first round bye in the playoffs. The Newcastle Nuclears (AUSL) and the Hamilton Hammers (NZL) will wait to see who wins the wild card round, which starts today.
Here are the clubs that will be in action starting tomorrow:
- Dunedin Ducks vs. Christchurch Christians (NZL) – Game 1: Sunday, December 11, 2016
- Melbourne Dockers vs. Sydney Sailors (AUSL) – Game 1: Monday, December 12, 2016
Sydney was 5-1 against Melbourne, and Dunedin split their six games with Christchurch 3-3 during the regular season.
Dunedin is missing Jose Verdusco (SP) who is out with a calf strain for at least one more week. He was 0-0 with a 3.11 ERA on the season. The Ducks are also playing without RF Henry Bonet, who strained a rib cage muscle and will miss the playoffs. Bonet was batting .279 with 2 HR and 15 RBI in 29 games in the Oceanic League this season.
Hamilton is starting the playoffs without two pitchers, Harry Yabsley (flu-like symptoms) who is expected back in one more day, and Jeremy Pitman, who is awaiting a diagnosis for an injury he suffered in the last game of the season. They are also without 1B Christos Morrow who is expected back in one week after fracturing his hand, and should be in the lineup for Hamilton’s semi-final.
Melbourne are missing their top HR slugger Martin Turton. The RF is out with a shoulder strain and will miss at least two weeks. Turton hit 12 HRs to lead the AUSL this season. They are also missing the rest of their outfield: CF Anton Lugo (elbow) and LF Bronson Cason (torn thumb ligament) are both out for at least one more week. Finally, one of their hot SPs, Bujana Karsumaatmaja has been out since November 6 with a torn triceps and will not return until next year. He was 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA and 18 K’s in 32.1 IP before he was injured this season.
Newcastle is missing reliever Wally Mansfield (torn rotator cuff) who will not return this year, but should see CF Thomas Ebeling back by the time the team plays in round 2, he was diagnosed with a tired arm.
Sydney’s C Doug Powell suffered an oblique strain on December 4, but he is expected to be back for the first playoff game.