MAESTRI EARNS PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD – PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Justin Staatz earns runner-up honours in Round 8 action
During a weekend in which hitters dominated Australian Baseball League action, Brisbane’s pitcher Alex Maestri found a way to shut down the offense he faced, earning him Player of the Week honours for Round 8.
Maestri started the Bandits series off against the Cavalry with a two-hit complete game on Thursday, only the third complete game in the ABL this season. The Italian Stallion allowed just one unearned run with four strikeouts on the night, facing 24 straight batters without allowing a hit between the third inning and the ninth.
“I was just trying to execute my pitches and keep the team in the game,” Maestri said. “I established a pretty good rhythm early on and was able to get through the entire game, thanks to the offense. I was happy to see the bullpen get a rest, but wasn’t expecting to earn any personal accolades from it. It’s an honour to be recognized.”
Whitey Wallace, Bandits Assistant General Manager, believes that having Maestri at the front of the rotation is a huge asset for the team, especially after the departure of his Japanese counterpart Yohei Yanagawa heading into Round 8.
“Having a start from him like that is fantastic,” Wallace said. “It’s a great way to build momentum and gets the series started on a positive note. He’s continuing to establish himself as the ace of the squad, taking sole possession of the position with Yanagawa gone.”
With the series-opening win, Brisbane’s frontline starter is now 3-2 on the year with a 2.82 ERA in six starts. He is tied for second in the league with 44 2/3 innings pitching and ranks third with 40 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .200 off of the right-hander, barely reaching the Mendoza Line.
Earning an ABL honourable mention for the series against Canberra was Justin Staatz, who made his Bandits debut on Saturday. Recognized by the league as a runner-up for the weekly award that his Italian teammate took home, Staatz threw eight shutout frames in the first game of Brisbane’s New Year’s Eve doubleheader, allowing only three hits and striking out four in a no-decision.
The American righty was extremely effective in his first game in a Brisbane uniform, using just 82 pitches to get through his eight innings of work and allowing only one runner beyond first base.
Both dominant pitching performances came during a weekend in the ABL that saw 77 home runs amidst 231 total runs scored. The Bandits starting rotation will look to continue their success as they make a run for a playoff spot, heading across the country to face the Perth Heat for five games in Round 9 action.