2016-2017 Australian Baseball League
The 2016-2017 Australian Baseball League was the seventh season in the second incarnation of the Australian Baseball League and the first after MLB withdrew their share of the league's funding, a significant dent. The schedule was cut from 56 games to 40.
The Brisbane Bandits defended their title successfully. After only placing 3rd of six teams in the regular season, they excelled in the postseason. In game 1 of the finals, they topped the regular season champs Melbourne Aces 6-2 as Logan Wade had 3 hits and one of the team's four homers (he would win Championship Series MVP). Brisbane pounded regular season pitching Triple Crown winner Mark Hamburger for 6 runs in 8 innings. Rick Teasley got the win as Brisbane's bullpen was excellent (2 H, 0 R in 6 2/3 IP) after a slow start by Justin Erasmus (6 H, 2 R in 2 1/3 IP). In game 2, Brisbane won 3-1; Kramer Champlin allowed only one hit in seven (a homer by Cody Jones) and Ryan Searle got the save. Melbourne's Josh Tols turned in a good start (1 R in 5 IP) and major league vet Peter Moylan tossed three shutout innings to end it, but Jon Kennedy gave up two in the 6th. Thomas Milone scored twice for Brisbane.
Brisbane got fine performances from Whitefield, the league leader in runs (34), hits (53) and steals (20), home run co-leader Mitch Nilsson (7) and Searle, who again led the ABL in saves (9). Melbourne (which had gone from worst in 2015-2016 to first in the regular season this year)'s top star was Hamburger (5 W, 1.90 ERA, 86 K) while Mike Walker led with 28 walks and tied for the home run lead. The Adelaide Bite had batting and RBI champion Mitch Dening (.340, 27 RBI) while Jordan Cowan tied for the lead with 13 doubles. Trent D'Antonio of Sydney again led the league in OBP (.438) while the last-place Perth Heat were led by Tim Kennelly (a league-best .573 slugging and 964 OPS and tied for first with 13 doubles).