Heat can't quite take chances in Monday double
There was still a lot to like in the performances but the Perth Heat came away with two tough losses in Monday's double-header in the South Australia hub with two days remaining before the long-awaited return home.
The Heat were full of confidence coming into the double-header on the back of an 11-0 win to close a double on Saturday against the Adelaide Giants with the day off in between the Giants and Brisbane Bandits.
But in the end, the Heat didn’t get what they were hoping for on Monday with the day opening up with a 4-3 defeat to the Bandits followed in the afternoon by a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Giants.
With the Heat having caught fire in emphatic fashion to thump the Giants on Saturday after a tough loss to the Bandits earlier in the day, it was Brisbane their first up opponent on Monday morning in Adelaide.
The Heat started well too with Tampa Bay Rays prospect Grant Witherspoon driving in a run for Robbie Glendinning to score having got on the base after being walked.
Another Rays prospect Jacob Lopez started on the mound for the Heat and looked outstanding in a little over two innings. The left-handed Californian threw six strikeouts and didn’t give away a single hit.
He was replaced in the third inning by Zac Reininger and he got out of that unscathed, but the Bandits did tie the game with a run in the bottom of the fourth before they scored a second to take the lead.
The Heat responded at the top of the fifth thanks to an impressive double hit from Jess Williams which allowed Shane Sasaki to score after the Hawaiian once he again showed his base running prowess by stealing second.
A big triple from Texan Ford Proctor in the same inning then had the Heat up 3-2 and appearing on target for a second straight victory.
But in the bottom of the sixth the Bandits managed to score twice off Nate Gercken who was then replaced at the mound by Daniel Schmidt. But the Bandits had assumed the lead and went on to claim the 4-3 win.
The Heat then had a short turnaround this time for the second half of the double-header against the hometown Giants at Dicolor Australia Stadium.
The Heat were coming off that 11-0 win on Saturday night and unleashed Warwick Saupold for his first start of the 2020/21 ABL season against them on Monday afternoon.
But the Giants were able to score after a couple of singles and a walk in the bottom of the second to take the 1-0 lead. Adelaide then added a couple of more runs on the back of a homer from Cornelius Randolph in the third inning.
It was still a 3-0 ball game when Saupold's first start of the season was called and he was replaced by Lochlan Southee.
The Heat then made a real contest of it in the top of the sixth with a couple of runs on the back of a home run to start it off from Proctor. Consecutive walks of Witherspoon, Tim Kennelly and Alex Hall then brought in another run for the Heat when Todd Van Steensel's pitch couldn’t be contained.
However, the Giants scored again in the bottom of the sixth to go up 4-2 and despite having the tying runs on base, the Heat couldn’t quite bring them home in the seventh.
The Heat are now back in action on Tuesday morning in Adelaide against the Brisbane Bandits before playing the Adelaide Giants on Wednesday before returning home and preparing to play the Giants at Empire Ballpark in four games over three days starting Saturday.
By Chris Pike.
ABL REGULAR SEASON, ADELAIDE HUB GAME 4
PERTH HEAT 3 (Glendinning, Williams, Sasaki)
BRISBANE BANDITS 4 (Madris, Wade, Unroe, Walker)
W – Matt Timms; L – Daniel Schmidt; S – Aaron Brown
ABL REGULAR SEASON, ADELAIDE HUB GAME 5
PERTH HEAT 2 (Witherspoon, Proctor)
ADELAIDE GIANTS 4 (McArdle, Williams, Randolph, Mead)
W – Dustin Beggs; L – Warwick Saupold; S – Todd Van Steensel
Monday January 18, Dicolor Australia Stadium