2014-15 Australian Baseball League Championship Series Review

 

A Fiasco Sports run-down of the ABLCS in all its glory.

 

Image: Sarah Reed/The Advertiser

Image: Sarah Reed/The Advertiser

 

The ABL Championship Series between the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat and the SA

Power Networks Adelaide Bite was being built up as a David versus Goliath event. The

Heat had reached the ABLCS each of the five seasons of the new ABL and had won three

of four titles contested, including beating the Bite 2-1 in the best-of-three series in 2011 for

their first crown.

 

The Adelaide Bite on the other hand had missed the playoffs the past two seasons but

there Claxton Shield aspirations were boosted by a regular season where they became

only the third team in modern ABL history to win thirty games in a season. South Australia

had not won a national title since 1980 and looked to bring the Shield back to home their

home soil in over thirty years.

 

Fortunately for baseball fans the series provided some great baseball and a truly special

atmosphere.

 

Unfortunately, unlike the bible story, Goliath won.

 

 

Game One: Adelaide Bite 3 – Perth Heat 2

 

Image: Fraser Fyfe/Fiasco Sports

Image: Fraser Fyfe/Fiasco Sports

 

WP: Morgan Coombs [1-0 1.29 ERA] (7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, I  ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR)

 

LP: Mike McClendon [0-1 4.50 ERA] (6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 3 HR)

 

S: Tyler Brunnemann [1] (0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR)

 

 

The Perth Heat got out to an early lead in the first inning with Coombs seeming to struggle

to find command. On the other end of the spectrum, the Heat’s McClendon was keeping

Adelaide’s batters off-balance with good location and deceptive movement, keeping them

hitless heading into the third-inning.

 

After two innings, Coombs settled down and the pitching duel began with both Coombs

and McClendon managing to keep both offenses suppressed.

 

It took until the seventh-inning for the Bite offense to break the deadlock, but they could

not have done it in anymore of a dramatic fashion. A three home-run barrage started by

infielder, Stefan Welch launching a leadoff home-run over the centre-field wall, followed by

designated hitter, Tom Brice following suit. Outfielder, Mitch Dening not wanting to be left

out also decided to join the home run party, back-to-back-to-back home runs giving the

Bite a 3-2 lead.

 

Pitcher, Matt Williams threw a scoreless eighth-inning before running into some trouble in

the ninth. With one out and runners on first and third base, Texas-born right hander, Tyler

Brunnemann came in and got the crucial double play to shut the door and give the Bite a

1-0 series lead.

 

 

Game Two: Perth Heat 5 – Adelaide Bite 3 (F/10)

 

Image: Sarah Reed/The Advertiser

Image: Sarah Reed/The Advertiser

 

WP: Jorge Marban [1-0 0.00 ERA] (3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R,  0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 HR)

 

LP:  Tyler Brunnemann [0-1 3.86 ERA] (1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 HR)

 

Confidence and crowd enthusiasm were high at Norwood Oval for Game Two with the

Adelaide Bite getting out to a 1-0 lead off a solo home-run to right-field by Stefan Welch. It

did not take long for the Heat to show why they lead the ABL in runs during the 2014/15

season, Matt Kennelly and Brian Pointer hitting back-to-back home runs in the top of the

third-inning and giving them a 2-1 lead.

 

The score stayed 2-1 with Perth dodging a bullet and getting out of a bases loaded jam in

the sixth-inning. Strong pitching by the Heat’s Warwick Saupold and the Bite’s Virgil

Vasquez until the seventh-inning where Perth’s Joey Wong hit a RBI single to up the

middle to give the Heat a 3-1 lead.

 

Adelaide would not be denied though with catcher, Chris Adamson launching a moonshot

to cut the deficit to one and shortstop Chan-Jong Moon tying it up with an RBI double,

giving the crowd new life.

 

The crowd were treated to free baseball, but it didn’t last long with Heat catcher Allan de

San Miguel hitting a two-run double and giving the Heat a 5-3 lead which the Bite could

not claw back from.

 

 

Game Three: Perth Heat 12 – Adelaide Bite 5

 

Image: Matthew Diglio/Fiasco Sports

Image: Matthew Diglio/Fiasco Sports

 

WP: Mike McCarthy [1-0 0.00 ERA] (3.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 HR)

 

LP: Wilson Lee [0-1 27.00 ERA] (1.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR)

 

Game Three really did not start the way the Adelaide Bite would have wanted with starter

Wilson Lee getting absolutely lit up by the Perth offense. A two-run home run by Perth’s

Tim Kennelly gave the Heat and ideal start, but it didn’t stop there.

 

In the top of the second inning, Brian Pointer hit an RBI double down the right-field line

and Kennelly showed up again, hitting another RBI double and Tim Smith put on the

finishing touches with a two-run home run to right-field to give the Heat a 6-0 lead after just

one and a half innings.

 

The Bite showed some fight back with Mitch Dening hitting a solo home run to claw back

a run but the Heat continued to pile on a further three runs and give the Heat a 9-1 cushion

after the top of the fourth-inning.

 

A three-run home run by Craig Maddox shrunk the lead down to five and a strong pitching

performance by Josh Tols gave the Bite hope, but a three-run home run all but dashed

the hopes of Adelaide holding the Claxton Shield, leaving the Bite thinking about what

could have been.

 

Closing Thoughts

 

Overall while the series didn’t go the way the Bite had hoped and the Heat continue their

championship monopoly, the series was fantastic for baseball fans and helped raise the

sports’ profile here in Adelaide and also the ABL’s profile abroad with the likes of ESPN

and MLB Network providing coverage to international viewers. Ultimately, despite the

result for Adelaide fans, the 2014/15 season was a huge success.

 

 

Written by Fraser Fyfe

 

 

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