Perth Heat 9, Adelaide Bite 2
The Perth Heat came roaring back to win the second game of the Australian Baseball League’s championship series on Saturday (early hours for US time zones), forcing a winner-take-all final game on Sunday. Bite starter Brandon Maurer had the Heat under his thumb for the first four innings. He struck out the side in the 1st, and went on to allow only two base runners over the next three innings — a batter reached on an error in the 2nd and a single in the 4th. But Perth came out swinging in the top of the 5th, starting with a lead-off homer. A walk and two singles loaded the bases, then after a line out to short, two singles drove in three runs. Maurer got a strikeout, but then gave up a walk to load the bases, and he was relieved by Reed Brown. The first batter Brown faced, Heat CF Ronnie Welty, smashed a grand slam over the right field wall to give Perth an 8-run inning. The Heat added an extra run in the 8th on a double, a wild pitch, and a single.
The Bite scratched out their first run in the 3rd inning, on a double by 1B Ben Wigmore, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI ground out. 3B Stefan Welch led off the 8th inning with another double. Like the Heat in the top of the inning, a wild pitch moved the runner to third base, and an RBI ground out drove in the run. LF Quincy Latimore beat out a grounder to second for a single to open the 4th inning, but he was left on base.
Adelaide Bite 4, Perth Heat 3
The Bite opened the Australian League’s championship series with a win over the Perth Heat on Friday. Perth began the scoring with a run in the bottom of the 1st, on a single and an RBI double from the first two batters in their lineup. The Bite tied the score in the top of the 3rd. After a pair of lead-off singles by 1B Ben Wigmore and 2B Josh Cakebread, a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position. 3B Stefan Welch drove in the tying run with a ground out to first base. Adelaide took the lead in the top of the 5th, with more firepower from Welch. Wigmore and Cakebread again opened the inning with a pair of singles, and again a sacrifice bunt moved them into scoring position. Welch lined a double in to right field, scoring both Wigmore and Cakebread. Another single drove in Welch, and LF Quincy Latimore also singled, moving another runner into scoring position. A double play ended the rally. The Heat rallied in the bottom of the 6th, with three singles, a walk, and an RBI ground out producing 2 runs, but that still left them one run behind the Bite. The Bite had only one runner reach base over the last three innings of the game, but they held off rallies by the Heat in each of the last two innings. In the 8th, a two-out double and a single had the Perth pinch-runner rounding third and heading for the plate, but a perfect throw from CF James McOwen let C Brandon Bantz tag the runner out at the plate to end the inning. Another two-out double and a hit batter put two runners on base for the Heat in the bottom of the 9th. Adelaide reliever Adrian Burnside came in to make the final out with a grounder to third base, ending the game. Latimore also singled in the 4th inning, but was left on base.