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  • Writer's pictureSportFM

Heat prepare to make statement at home

Chris Pike


The Perth Heat now have the next two weeks at home at Empire Ballpark with manager Andy Kyle declaring it the chance to put themselves in a strong position to make a run at winning this season's ABL title.


The Heat currently sit on top of the Southwest Division having won seven of 12 matches so far this season including series wins against Adelaide Giants and Geelong-Korea on the back of knocking out a league-best 19 home runs.


Already this season, Tampa Bay Rays prospect Junior Caminero has delivered five homers for the Heat with three each to Ulrich Bojarski and Tim Kennelly. It's going to be another feature of the next two weeks at home.


That begins against Auckland this weekend and with five players with Major League experience taking part, Heat manager Andy Kyle is looking forward to the challenge and knows the importance.


"Especially having the two weeks at home this is a real chance for us and especially being three weeks into the season, everyone is kind of settled now and knows their roles," Kyle said.


"Everyone's had their chance to settle and now it's crunch time over the next two weeks. It's a real opportunity we need to take the most out of at home to try and put some runs on the board, play some good baseball and try to win as many games as we can. We'll try and reset at the halfway point from there."


Looking back on last weekend on the road to Geelong-Korea, the Heat won three of the four games and delivered 32 runs across the series. For a second straight road series, Kyle couldn’t have been happier to see how his Heat group is coming together.


"It was a good bounce back from the guys. We spoke to them during the week about not panicking because losing to Melbourne was disappointing, but the boys played a lot of good baseball in that series and there was a lot of good going on," Kyle said.


"We just weren’t able to capitalise in a couple of games when we had the lead. So it was a really good bounce back and I thought we swung the bats really well all series and continued to tag on runs.


"Our line-up is really balanced at the moment so it's good to see on that front and I think we're getting really quality starts from our pitching staff, and the relievers are getting settled in as well so there's a lot of positive signs.


"Obviously we're in a tough conference but we've put ourselves in a good position for the next few weeks."


The chance to spend the past two weeks on the road has been a terrific chance for the Heat group to do some bonding as well with so many new faces.

Kyle couldn’t be happier with the chemistry they are now building as they prepare to make a statement at home the next two weeks.


"They're a great group of guys and everyone's on the same page and wants to win, and to help each other out," Kyle said.


"It was good on that aspect of getting on the road and getting a bit more familiar with each other, and having those conversations off the field.


"That's really valuable and I think it puts us in a good spot for a two-week home stand. We're all looking forward to some warm weather and getting back in front of our fans."


While the Tuatara are a somewhat unknown opposition for the Heat, they have won six of their 11 matches but for Kyle it's all about focusing on getting his team to continue to fire.


Coming off scoring 32 runs in the four matches last weekend on the road to Geelong-Korea, the runs are flowing for the Heat.


Not only has there been the 19 home runs with Caminero, Bojarski, Kennelly, Pete Kozma, Josh Reddick and Jake Bowey all clearing the fence at least twice, but the 82 runs as a team.


Kyle wants to see more of that Empire Ballpark the next two weeks.


"We won't know a whole lot about them until we get out there even though we do know a couple of their guys," he said.


"They have a couple of good arms, a couple of big bats and they look more productive than they have previously. It's going to be a big challenge and these next two weeks against inter-league guys is going to be huge.


"Every win is important and across the board everyone is playing everyone else so it's a bit of a challenge to separate if you can, but we know we're up for a big challenge the next two weeks. Hopefully we get off to a good start against Auckland."



IMAGE: Supplied

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