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Perth captures ABL championship

Rockies prospect Wong named MVP of series against Canberra

Special to

PERTH, AUSTRALIA -- The Perth Heat defeated the Canberra Cavalry, 2-1, on Saturday to secure the 2013/2014 Australian Baseball League championship, Perth's third in the last four seasons.

Heat starter Brian Baker held the Cavalry to one run on just two hits over 6 1/3 innings, earning the victory in his first start of the postseason. A late-season addition to the Heat, Baker was 1-0 with 1.69 ERA in four regular-season appearances before winning his only start in the playoffs. The right-hander spent eight seasons in the Minor Leagues, pitching in the Rays and Brewers organizations.

Following Baker, Tigers prospect Warwick Saupold earned the save for Perth, tossing two scoreless, hitless innings of relief. The right-hander struck out four, and finished the season with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Perth scored its first run in the first inning on a Brandon Tripp RBI single, and jumped ahead, 2-0, on an RBI single by Rockies catching prospect Allan de San Miguel in the sixth. Canberra's lone run came on a Jeremy Barnes solo shot in the seventh.

Rockies prospect Joey Wong took home series Most Valuable Player honors, his second MVP award in the ABL this season. He was previously named MVP of the ABL All-Star game in mid-December.

A native of Salem, Ore., Wong won Game 1 with an RBI double in the bottom of the 14th and capped his season with a 2-for-2 showing in the decisive second game. On top of his strong showing at the plate, the shortstop made a number of tremendous defensive plays throughout the series.

Braves prospect Matt Kennelly also delivered two hits for Perth, finishing the series 4-for-8 with a double, a triple and an RBI.

For Canberra, the 2012/2013 ABL Champions, a second consecutive one-run defeat ends a season that featured a stunning run to the Asia Series Championship, and a playoff-clinching victory on the final day of the regular season.

Blue Jays prospect Jack Murphy, recently voted as the "Fans Choice" award winner in the ABL, finished Saturday's contest 1-for-2 with a pair of walks, and was 3-for-6 with five walks in the series from his spot in the middle of the Cavalry lineup. Fellow Blue Jays prospect Jon Berti recorded a hit and a stolen base in the series, following a regular season that saw him steal 31 bases in 46 games to shatter the previous ABL record.

Perth's championship comes on the heels of a 32-14 regular season. The team featured members of the Braves, Orioles, Padres, Pirates, Rockies and Tigers organizations.

Craig Durham is a contributor to