Bite to have do-or-die battle
After losing an exciting extra-innings game two, 5-3 in 10 innings against Perth Heat at Norwood Oval on Saturday, to level the Australian Baseball League Championship Series at one-all, Adelaide Bite will fight tooth and nail in Sunday's decider to claim the state's first senior title in 35 years. There was a lot to like about the way the Bite fought back to level Saturday night's game 3-3 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Adelaide will have to wait another day if it is to secure baseball's coveted “Holy Grail”. With Virgil Vasquez strong on the mound, the Bite made the early running after Stefan Welch's two-out solo home run in the first inning. The Heat then looked like repeating what Adelaide did on Friday night – three consecutive home runs – in the third frame, after Matt Kennelly led off with a dinger and Brian Pointer followed suit, but that was it, for a 2-1 lead. Adelaide made a charge in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Chang-Jong Moon led off with a walk and Welch doubled, with none out, but neither scored in a disappointing result. And to make matters worse, Perth scored a single run at the top of the seventh to stretch its lead to 3-1. Vasquez left the game in the seventh after surrendering just two hits – both home runs – with Josh Tols coming into the game in relief.
In game one it was the seventh frame when the Bite got untracked, and when Chris Adamson led off with a home run in Saturday's bottom of the seventh, supporters minds were drawn back to the heroics of Friday. It wasn't quite the same though, although with back-to-back one-out doubles to Brandon Dixon and Moon, the game was locked up at 3-3. The contest was still tied after the completion of the bottom of the ninth, forcing extra innings, with Allan de San Miguel belting a match-winning, two-out, two-run double in the top of the 10th to again give Perth a two run lead. Adelaide still had one more chance to salvage the game in the bottom of the 10th, but went three-up and three-down. The pitching hero was Perth reliever Jorg Marbon, who threw the final three innings, for just one hit, one walk and seven strikeouts. Now for game three – not to be missed, from 7pm at Norwood Oval, today (Sunday).
Images Peter Argent/OSLSA