Melbourne Aces Claxton Shield ABL

The Melbourne Aces were back-to-back Claxton Shield winners in 2020/21. (Photo: SMP Images/ABL Media)

The Australian Baseball League is gearing up towards another exciting campaign, with the full fixture released ahead of the six-team 2021/22 season.

The 2021/22 Australian Baseball League fixture has been released with more blockbusters than ever announced in the hopes of a less-COVID-ravaged season for the six-team competition.

Baseball Australia has revealed the details of the upcoming ABL season that will feature six teams in a 120-game season after the Auckland Tuatara and Geelong-Korea each withdrew from the 2021/22 ABL season due to potential COVID-related border issues.

Beginning on November 18, the competition will return to a 10-week home-and-away fixture that will feature 40 games per team, and 20 home series games per team.

Glenn Williams, Baseball Australia chief executive, said the announcement of the 2021/22 ABL schedule presented many opportunities for fans to be excited about.

“The schedule release always provides a sense of excitement and that’s heightened even more this year,” Williams said.

“There is so much for the fans to look forward to, from an increase in games to a stack of blockbuster matchups and home content during the popular summer school holiday period.

“We’re confident on the back of strong results in a COVID-affected 2020/21 season that the upcoming campaign will deliver a record-setting season for the ABL.”

ABL Fixture details

In the 2021/22 season, the Brisbane Bandits, Canberra Cavalry and Perth Heat will open their campaigns at home the first week of the ABL season against the Adelaide Giants, Melbourne Aces and Sydney Blue Sox respectively. The latter three sides will each participate in their home openers the week later.

For Canberra, who opens its season against the back-to-back Claxton Shield champions Melbourne, General Manager Sunny Singh says it’ll be a good challenge first up, after a premature end to last season.

“The Aces have set a new standard for the league in recent seasons and coming up against them early will give us a great indication of how the new squad stacks up,” Singh said.

“We feel that there’s unfinished business with the Aces, given the way we had to withdraw last season, so you can guarantee that we as a club are excited to face up against them nice and early.”

The Cavalry face off against the Aces in their season opener. (Photo: Brett Fewson – Canberra Cavalry)

Perth Heat’s Chief Executive Steve Nelkovski said the upcoming ABL season holds special significance to the WA baseball community.

“We’re looking forward to a traditional home and away season and we’re delighted by the prospect of bringing a full schedule of events to our fans,” he said.

“Opening day of a new season is always special but to open the season at home makes it just that little more special.

“This season also marks 70 years since our first Claxton Shield win in 1952, and fans have a lot to look forward to on and off the field,” he continued.

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After a COVID-impacted 2020/21 season, many rivalries will come to life again this year after not featuring last season. The headliner is that between 2020 Claxton Shield Championship Series finalists Melbourne and Adelaide.

Brisbane and Sydney will renew its match-ups for the first time in 20 months when that series gets underway on November 26.

From week two of the competition, back-to-back home series’ between Melbourne and Perth, the 2021 Claxton Shield Championship Game finalists feature in a renewed fixture.

The final game of the regular season is set for January 23 with the finals format to be decided at a later time, although January 28-30 is reserved for the playoffs with the Championship Series set for February 4-6. The broadcast details are also to be announced at a later date.

The full 2021/22 ABL schedule can be viewed here.

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