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Heat hot favourites for crown
Heat hot favourites for crown

Canberra Cavalry will be aiming to add another chapter to their Cinderella story when they take on the Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League (ABL) Championship Series this weekend.

The Cavalry were the competition's strugglers in the first two years of the revamped ABL, finishing last on each occasion.

But since Michael Collins took over as coach in 2012, the Cavalry have become the feel-good story of Australian baseball.

Canberra came out of their slumber to beat Perth in last summer's ABL Championship series.

But their greatest success came on the world stage last November.

Against all odds, the Cavalry beat out a host of multi-million dollar teams to win the Asia Series and thrust Australian baseball into the spotlight.

Now they have set their sights on winning a second straight Claxton Shield when they take on the high-flying Heat in a best-of-three Championship series in Perth, starting Friday night.

The Cavalry (22-24) only booked a spot in the decider after a shock series win over the Sydney Blue Sox last week.

Perth (32-14) were a class above everyone else during the regular season, and are hot favourites to win the Championship.

However, Collins isn't concerned at all that his team will once again carry the underdog status.

"I'm sure we've surprised people, but when you're part of the team and in the dugout, you shouldn't be surprised by your own success," Collins said.

"I may sound ignorant or stupid, but I think we're going to win every game.

"Whether or not we do or can is another question.

"If we can win again, it would just cement the fact that last year wasn't a fluke or a one-off.

"I think we've proven it wasn't a fluke by making two Championship series in a row.

"But I think winning it would be the icing on the cake."

Perth, who won seven of their 11 games against Canberra during the regular season, will enjoy home ground advantage for the entire series.

Canberra will rely heavily on leadoff man Jon Berti, whose .309 batting average was fifth-highest in the league.

But Perth, who will be appearing in their fourth straight Championship series, boasts plenty of talent too.

Outfielder Brandon Tripp hit an impressive .333 this season to place second in the league, while pitchers Jack Frawley and Daniel Schmidt have performed strongly since the departure of former major leaguer Mike Ekstrom.

Collins, whose coaching career started three years ago when he was just 26, hopes he can take charge of a Major League baseball side in the future.

But for now, his sights are firmly set on guiding Canberra to another title.