Heat blow Giants away with a 26-run night at home
The Perth Heat made up for lost time playing at home at Empire Ballpark on Sunday delivering a dazzling offensive outburst across the two games to score 26 runs in 14 innings to score a pair of big wins against the Adelaide Giants.
The Heat's batting has been waiting to find its groove throughout the ABL season so far with some signs of what it's going to be truly capable of along the way, but on Sunday it all came to fruition.
The results were an 11-6 win to start the double-header against the Giants at Empire Ballpark and then in the second game, a remarkable 11-run first inning set the table for the eventual 15-6 victory.
The results improve the Heat to a 10-6 record on the season to now sit clear in second position on the table ahead of another clash with the Giants at Empire Ballpark on Monday evening at 6pm to close this first home series of the 2020/21 season.
The Heat played their first home game of the season on Saturday night against the Giants. Both teams were fresh off flying in from Adelaide that afternoon and it was Perth going on to score the 4-2 victory thanks to a walk off home run from Shane Sasaki.
That gave the Heat plenty of confidence and momentum heading into Sunday's double-header, but nothing could have predicted what was to come.
The Heat and starting pitcher Beau Sulser got off to a shaky start in the opening game with Adelaide scoring three runs in the first inning after four hits.
But the Heat topped that in the bottom of the first with four of their own runs. It started with singles to Tim Kennelly, Ford Proctor and Robbie Glendinning before Tampa Bay Rays prospect Grant Witherspoon delivered a huge three-run homer to make it a 4-3 ball game.
Sulser fought back well keeping the Giants scoreless through seven batters in the next two innings while the Heat added another four runs in the second.
This time it started with singles to Jess Williams and Tim Kennelly before Witherspoon backed up his home run with another double to drive in three runs again. He then scored on the next at bat and Perth led 8-3 after two.
Both teams scored a run each in the third to have the Heat up 9-4 before the home team added another in each of the fourth and fifth to end up winning 11-6 on the back of the 14 hits for the game.
Three of those came from Tim Kennelly and two each to Sam Kennelly, Witherspoon and Glendinning while Witherspoon sensationally batted in six runs himself.
After his shaky start, Sulser delivered four strong innings with seven strikeouts for the Heat before Maddux Stivey, Daniel Schmidt and Cameron Lamb did well relieving.
That then led into the second game of the evening at Empire Ballpark and again the Giants were able to put on some runs to start the contest. This time opposed to Warwick Saupold from the Heat, Adelaide scored twice in the first inning.
To say the Heat responded would be the greatest of understatements as they delivered the most remarkable start to the game imaginable.
Things got underway with a Ford Proctor hit before Grant Witherspoon again made good contact to lead the bases. Abiezel Ramirez then drove in the first run before Alex Hall did the same.
Jake Bowey got the ball into play and hit it straight at pitcher Tom Fitzgerald. The deflection ended up allowing the Heat to score three runs and that was the beginning only.
Bowey, Tim Kennelly and Shane Sasaki scored to make 8-2 with two runners still on base as Witherspoon stepped up to the plate again and delivered yet another monster home run. He drove in another three runs as a result to make it 11-2 after just one inning.
Both teams took a break from the scoring in the second before the Heat added three more runs in the third on the back of doubles from Tim Kennelly, Proctor and Glendinning. Kennelly's hit was the 400th double of his ABL career.
That put the home team up 14-2 and things went relatively quiet from there with the Heat ending up winning 15-6 on the back of the 13 hits for the game while the five innings pitched by Saupold were tremendous before he was relieved by Tom Bailey and Sam Kennelly.
By Chris Pike
ABL REGULAR SEASON, HOME GAME 2
PERTH HEAT 11 (Glendinning 3, Witherspoon 2, Proctor 2, Williams, Sasaki, S Kennelly, T Kennelly)
ADELAIDE GIANTS 6 (Mead 2, Williams 2, Moore, Randolph)
W – Maddux Stivey; L – Taylor Lehman
ABL REGULAR SEASON, HOME GAME 3
PERTH HEAT 15 (Glendinning 3, Proctor 3, Witherspoon 2, T Kennelly 2, Williams, Sasaki, Bowey, Hall, Ramirez)
ADELAIDE GIANTS 6 (Wingrove 2, Fitch, Simmons, Randolph, Little)
W – Warwick Saupold; L – Tyler Burch
Sunday January 24, Empire Ballpark