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  • Writer's pictureSportFM

Heat back on the road to face Geelong-Korea

Chris Pike

Now that Perth Heat have completed their first two series' of the season, captain Tim Kennelly feels they are getting a good handle of what is going to be possible with this group as they head back on the road this week.

"Obviously we're a couple of weeks in now so we can start gauging a little bit where we're at as a team," Kennelly said.

"It was a bit disappointing on the weekend dropping the series which we probably should have split, or given ourselves a chance to even win the series, but that's baseball.

"We just have to get back at it this weekend, but internally we like what we see from our playing group and we think we've got a good squad with a lot of depth that will push us late in the season, and hopefully go late into the playoffs.

"We're excited about that and hopefully we can catch a bit more momentum this weekend down in Geelong and move on from there."

Geelong-Korea have rejoined the ABL this season with their team based in Geelong but featuring Korean players.

They have opened up the season with a 3-4 record over the first two weekends with the Heat just ahead on 4-4. Kennelly is looking forward to the challenge for the second straight weekend in Victoria.

"Having back-to-back road trips is never that easy so we've been back for three days and then are back on the road again, but it's also exciting," Kennelly said.

"Sometimes those road trips are a part of building that culture of the team when you are away on the road for four days at a time. That can be good for the team to bond.

"Geelong-Korea have put together a pretty solid team this year too and they have been swinging the bats well, and seem to have a bit more pitching depth. We know we've got our work cut out this week but that means that we just have to control what we do well.

"If we play to our ability we think we're a pretty good chance of winning the series, but we're just excited to go back out there because it's been a few years since we've been to Geelong to play. Hopefully we can get that first win on Thursday night and build up some momentum to win the series."

Kennelly is equally excited by what his club is doing as the ABL gets back in groove after a horror two years with him excited by the potential both on and off the diamond.

The ABL has been the hardest hit of national sports across the country the last two years thanks to COVID, but the 2022-23 season is now back rolling with the Heat preparing to head back on the road to play Geelong-Korea this week.

The Heat were impressive in winning their home return series to open the season against the Adelaide Giants at Empire Ballpark before a tough loss to the Melbourne Aces this past weekend in a rain effected four days.

They are now back to Victoria to play Geelong-Korea in a four-game series starting Thursday this week. Kennelly is just happy to be back playing after having the game taken away from him for two years.

"It's awesome to be back playing. It's been a long 24 months especially for the Perth based guys who haven’t been able to play any highly competitive baseball," Kennelly said.

"It's just exciting to take the field again and play in front of some crowds at Baseball Park, and just go out there and compete again, and try to win the championship that we haven’t won in a while. It's exciting times for us and for the fans, and we're just happy to be out there playing."

Not only is Kennelly glad to be back playing, but is buoyant about the prospects of what the Heat can accomplish this season.

With a roster featuring veterans like himself, Warwick Saupold, Daniel Schmidt and Pete Kozma, Heat regular Ulrich Bojarski, Jake Bowey and Alex Hall along with Tampa Bay Rays prospects Willy Vasquez, Junior Caminero, Junior William, Juan Rodriguez and Neraldo Catalina, and then World Series winner Josh Reddick, there's plenty of reasons for Kennelly's optimism.

"The Heat staff have done a great job of putting together a team and it is a good mix, and an exciting mix," Kennelly said.

"You've got some guys who have played for the Perth Heat for a long time who have sort of paved the way for the other guys who have joined the team.

"We've got some young Perth talent that are starting to actually help the team win and not just making up the numbers. We've got a couple of big league guys who bring that experience and no moment is too big for them.

"You bring in some exciting arms and the Rays prospects who add a little bit of excitement to the team and some flair, which is awesome. With the depth of our team I think we're going to be pretty bold and consistent."

It's not just on-field where the Heat are making strides either. The club has made history becoming the trendsetters with Bitcoin used to be able to pay players, staff and to be accepted for sponsorships, merchandise and ball park concessions.

The latest initiative is the Sats 4 Stats launch where fans are able to directly send payments to players.

All of that makes Kennelly even more excited to be on board with what the Heat are doing.

"Steve Nelkovski, our GM, is doing a lot of good things for the organisation in terms of the new and innovative ideas, which is exciting for not only the players but the fans and the people that follow the Heat," he said.

"There's two sides of it with the on-field side of it where the players are going out there trying to win and then there's the added excitement for the fans and organisation with what they are doing with the things that are pretty cool and ground breaking."

IMAGE: Supplied


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