Perth Heat split series with Melbourne Aces to maintain control of the South-West Conference
PERTH Heat have returned to outright top of the Australian Baseball League’s South-West Conference after a dramatic series split with Melbourne Aces at Melbourne Ballpark.
After being shutout by some excellent pitching in game one, the Heat fell to a 4-3 walk-off loss in game two, before bouncing back to claim a 4-2 win in game three and a nail-biting 4-3 win in game four.
The series split moved the Heat’s record to 19-13 as they remain in pole position to win the South-West Conference.
Despite some heroic pitching from John Anderson in game one, Perth’s offence failed to get going as they mustered just three team hits and the final 14 batters failed to reach base.
Following the shutout loss, the Heat wasted no time in getting on the board in game two as Tim Kennelly launched a lead-off home run off the fourth pitch of the game, before Alex Hall and Ulrich Bojarski both added scores.
The Aces pulled a run back in the sixth inning off Scott Mitchinson before former Heat infielder Luke Hughes smashed a two-run home run to send the game into extras, and the Aces walked it off thanks to Darryl George’s sacrifice fly off Ryan Flores’ pitching.
Melbourne took their momentum into game three as they led 2-0 early, but Jake Bowey and the returning Chris House levelled scores in the fourth inning before Robbie Glendinning and Alex Hall added a pair of runs an inning later to give the Heat a lead they would not relinquish.
The hosts once again started strongly in game four as they raced out to a 2-0 lead, only to be pegged back by a three-run fourth inning as Carl Chester, Hall and Kennelly all picked up RBIs.
Chester’s second RBI of the afternoon gave his side a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning and despite a ninth-inning Hughes home run, pitcher Cameron Lamb locked down the final four outs and the Heat held on for victory.
The Heat return home for their final home series of the season against Geelong Korea from January 10-13, where a series win will see them qualify for playoffs.