• SportFM

Heat focus on run of games in Adelaide


Heat pitcher Nathan Wiles. IMAGE: SMP Images.

Perth Heat are preparing for another run of eight matches over seven days albeit this time in Adelaide and all going well that string of Australian Baseball League games should lead to them returning home to still play in 2021.


It has been quite the rollercoaster ride for the Heat already this ABL season. Firstly their anticipated pre-Christmas home series against the Canberra Cavalry never eventuated before they only got to play one of the scheduled four matches in Melbourne against the Aces.


After a 1-0 loss on New Year's Eve, Western Australia again closed its border to Victoria and the Heat had to fly to Brisbane five days earlier to take part in a hub alongside the Brisbane Bandits and Adelaide Giants.


That did result in three days of action with the Heat splitting their four matches against the two teams before Brisbane decided to go into lockdown last weekend and WA in turn closed their borders to Queensland.


To avoid having to quarantine upon returning to Perth and likely ending any hope of playing at home in 2021, the Heat flew out on Friday along with the teams from the Bandits and Giants ahead of the already scheduled hub there.


It has been a six-day wait, but now the games in Adelaide get underway on Thursday with the Heat to play the Giants to start things off.


They then face the Bandits on Friday before the first of two double-headers against both teams on Saturday. Sunday is an off day before another back-to-back day on Monday before the Heat finish their time in Adelaide against the Bandits on Tuesday and Giants on Wednesday.


Looking back on quite the eventful time, Heat manager Andy Kyle has remained positive and done his best to keep the squad that way with the events that began to unfold once they got to Melbourne ahead of that season-opener on New Year's Eve.


"It wasn’t until we got off the plane in Melbourne on the Wednesday that we heard there were some cases so that's when there was a bit of angst amongst the group because of the unknowns that would cause," Kyle said.


"But then by the time we were on the way to the game on the Thursday we knew we were in a bit of trouble and by that the decision had been made we'd be getting out of there first thing the next morning.


"I had to address the group because a couple of guys had been hearing things already so we were upfront with the playing group just to put an end to all the speculation.


"So we played that game knowing we'd be flying out the next morning to get up to Brisbane. It's always been about what's the best way for us to stay safe, keep the community safe and still play some games so that's what this past week especially has been all about."


Then on the back of losing a tight 1-0 game in Melbourne and then having to quickly fly to Brisbane the next morning, which created a whole new set of problems in terms of getting COVID tests for the whole squad, being hotel bound until the results came back and then even changing hotels.


"We obviously dropped that heartbreaker in Melbourne, which was a tough loss, and then we flew to Brisbane the next morning and then the next day we learned that some of the border restrictions had changed so we had to go and get COVID tests," Kyle said.


"We tried to organise it at a clinic rather than a drive thru which was a challenge, but we were able to sort that out on the Sunday and then had to just sit back and wait for the results to come in.


"Once we got all the negative results, it was a relief and then we worked out on the Monday to get ready to play again on Tuesday.


"So we got through the first series but then woke up the next day to three missed calls and found out we were packing up and moving again. It was a bit of a battle for us to get our heads around that initially but then it was just about doing what we needed to do."


The positive was that for three days the Heat did get back to playing baseball in Brisbane. That started with a 5-1 win over the Bandits on Tuesday, a 12-2 thumping of the Giants on Wednesday and then an eventful double with a walkoff loss to Adelaide and tough defeat to Brisbane.


Upon reflection, Kyle liked what he saw for the most part but that extra inning loss to Adelaide to start the double-header on Thursday was tough to take.


"Our starting pitching in the first three games was outstanding and then even in the game we lost we took Dylan out after five and two-thirds when we were in a winning position," Kyle said.


"Strongy came in and got the job done and we were close to sending him back out there but just ran into a bit of trouble and we ended up going to extras. Zac did an awesome job to come in and get three outs on two pitches to start with and we were pretty confident after scoring two runs in the top of the 10th.


"But Zac just missed a location on the fast ball and we lost to a good swing and it was game over in one pitch. That took the wind out of us a little bit and it was a tough day to play that early and then have to go back to the hotel, watch our uniforms and then come back for the second game.


"I thought the energy was still good and the guys were ready to go but we just unfortunately couldn’t stop Brisbane after they started well. We couldn’t recover and our defence was below average in that last game which was disappointing.


"We are still learning some things about the guys and we're putting them in different positions, and at the moment we are still trying to find out what everyone can do and give them opportunities. It was a good learning curve for us over those four games in Brisbane."


Once again things changed dramatically on Friday morning. On what was supposed to be an off day in preparation for three more game days in Brisbane, instead the Heat had to find a way to Adelaide early to keep their season alive.


That was quite the dramatic day and then upon arriving in Adelaide they were again hotel bound until negative results returned, but Kyle is now glad it's all behind them and they have a run of games to again focus on.


"It unfolded pretty quickly on Thursday night and Friday morning. We woke up and got the call so we had to pack up from the hotel, go get our stuff from the field and then wait around for a couple of hours before finding out if we could fly out to Adelaide," Kyle said.


"We then ended up jumping on board the flight with Adelaide and Brisbane teams with us, and then got to Adelaide. We expected to get COVID tested when we arrived but it was closed so that had to wait until Saturday and now it's just about waiting around for those results.


"We just have to wait to get the results and can't do anything until all those come back negative."


By Chris Pike.


PERTH HEAT IN ADELAIDE HUB

All games played at Dicolor Australia Stadium

Live on Fox Sports and Kayo

Listed in WST


THURSDAY

v Adelaide Giants 4.50pm


FRIDAY

v Brisbane Bandits 10.00am


SATURDAY

v Brisbane Bandits 10.00am

v Adelaide Giants 4.50pm


MONDAY

v Brisbane Bandits 8.00am

v Adelaide Giants 12.00pm


TUESDAY

v Brisbane Bandits 8.00am


WEDNESDAY

v Adelaide Giants 8.00am