As mentioned in my last game report from 2008 before the National Finals, this coming weekend sees the autumn-heralding curtain come down once more on the regular season in the NBL South, as Richmond travel to Bracknell for a double-header. Players from the two teams have one last chance to improve (or spoil) their season statistics. Many categories are one stitch short of being sewn up, but a handful are still yet to be decided. Full sortable stats can be downloaded by right clicking here and choosing “Save Target As…”.
Alex Malihoudis’s total of 35 runs scored will not be beaten, and his hit total of 35 is also safe unless Richmond’s Ryan Bird can amass six or more on Sunday. Mark Rigby and Ryan Trask are joint top of the home-run standings, with six each, but only Trask’s team, Bracknell, are in action at the weekend. While Trask breaking the tie is the most likely significant change in the standings, Grant Delzoppo of Richmond sits only two back. Troy Kantor’s 18 stolen bases will not be topped and his team-mate Rigby’s runs batted in total of 32 also looks good to end up as the high mark (Bird is seven back).
Bird will need to go 8-for-8 or better on the day to overtake Phil Clark for the top batting average (Clark has finished the season with a mark of .548). However, it is not so unrealistic for Bird to catch Clark’s on-base average of .615 as he currently sits on .605. Bird is also in a position to claim top spot in the slugging average standings; he is currently second to Rigby, with the players’ respective figures being .862 and .831. In contrast to the first three averages mentioned, with on-base plus slugging average Bird is in the lead and can therefore lose the title if he is in action; his figure of 1.436 is not much above Clark’s 1.401.
London’s Brian Essery will finish the season with a league-leading 9 wins and Jared Uys, of Croydon, will not see his figure of 62.0 innings pitched overtaken (unless Bracknell’s Henry Collins has 10.2 or more innings in his arm and happens to pitch in a game that lasts that long). Bird needs nine strike-outs to catch Essery’s mark of 76. With Bird having struck out nine batters in 3.0 innings’ work two Sundays back, this is not out of the question.
Kantor’s earned-run average of 0.51 and WHIP of 0.74 will not be bettered, and his strike-outs per 9 innings of 16.81 is only a shade under that of Bird, who currently occupies the top spot with 16.91. Should Bird take to the mound and slip from his usual strike-out pace, Kantor could take a pitching “triple crown”.