Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland qualify for Australian Baseball League playoffs

Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland qualify for Australian Baseball League playoffs
The semifinals are scheduled for the weekend. Former KBO MVP and Sydney 2000 bronze medalist Dae-Sung Koo came out of retirement to become, at 53, the oldest player in the league's history.

After a 160-game regular season, the postseason schedule of the 2022-2023 Australian Baseball League is set. The top four finishers of the regular season will compete in the semifinals starting Friday, 27 January.

The Adelaide Giants led the Southwest Division with a 21-15 record and will face Aukland Tuatara, the only team from New Zealand and the second-place finisher (18-18) of the Northeast Division.

The Brisbane Bandits dominated the Northeast Division with a 28-8 record and will face the Perth Heat, the second-place finishers (20-16) of the Southwest Division.

T.J. Bennet of the Brisbane Bandits, a 30-year-old Canadian minor leaguer, is the Home Run King of the season with 17 dingers.

Gunnar Kines of the Perth Heat, a 30-year-old US independent leagues veteran, led the league in strikeouts with 61 and had the best ERA (earned run average), 2.86 over 56.2 innings pitched.

Nick Ward of the Adelaide Giants, who played at the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) and independent leagues level in the US, was the batting champion with a .344 batting average.

Geelong Korea didn't enjoy a winning season (13-23, fourth in the Southwest Division) but still made history. Former manager Dae-Sung Koo came out of retirement to strike out two batters of the Adelaide Giants at age 53, becoming the oldest player in ABL history. Koo broke the record he established in 2018.

Koo, a left-handed pitcher, stands fifth in the list of Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) career saves leaders with 214. He is a former KBO MVP and Korean Series winner. He helped Korea win a bronze medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Koo also played for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Orix Blue Wave of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

The ABL, a WBSC Associate Member, skipped the 2021-2022 season because of the COVID-19 restrictions. The Melbourne Aces won the 2020-21 edition.