Bite feel Perth Heat
On the cusp of creating history, Adelaide Bite fell at the last hurdle when it lost 12-5 to Perth Heat in the ABL deciding game three of the 2015 championship series at Norwood Oval on Sunday night. After a wonderful season it was a disappointment to go down to Perth, which has now won four of the first five ABL titles, including beating Adelaide in the first championship series in Perth, in 2011. With two nail-biters leading to the finale, game three proved anticlimactic, as the Heat surged to an early big lead and didn't tale the foot off the throttle, to accelerate away whenever challenged. Tom Kennelly belted a two-run home run in the first inning, then big RBI doubles by Brian Pointer and Tim Kennelly in the second frame, as well as Tim Smith's home run, saw Perth leading 6-0. Mitch Dening belted a solo shot in the bottom of the second for Adelaide, but at the top of the fourth frame the Heat crossed home plate another three times to take an unassailable 9-1 lead. The game seemed to come back to life in the bottom of the fourth, when Craig Maddox blasted a three-run home run to close the gap. Relievers Josh Tols for Adelaide and the Heat's Mike McCarthy put the brakes on the scoring for the next few frames, until Luke Hughes smashed a three-run fence-buster in the seventh, to explode the score out to 12-4, with time running out for the Bite. Dening was having a hot night with the bat, and with his second home run and fourth hit of the game in the bottom of the eighth, he added a consolation run to Adelaide's score, before a scoreless ninth and final frame. It was disappointing to lose but the Norwood Oval crowds got their money's worth with excitement, as the Bite belted three consecutive home runs to win game one, Perth rebounded to win an extra inning thriller to level the championship, before Sunday's hitting explosion ended the series. All in all there were 14 home runs hit over the series, eight by Adelaide, with the long ball accounting for 20 of the 30 runs scored over the three games by the two sides. While the Bite waited 35 years to create history by winning the Claxton Shield, it will be exciting to front up again next season when Adelaide will look to rebound and challenge again.
Images Peter Argent/OSLSA