It was a huge event for baseball supporters in South Australia at Diamond Sports on Saturday, as Adelaide Bite changed uniforms in a one-off retro day and suited up as the “Giants”, and played the best game at the venue this season, with an 8-6 victory over Perth Heat.
Over the four-game series, Adelaide lost three-games to one, but won what was looming as the biggest contest this season, in honouring the legends of South Australia’s initial ABL team, the Giants, from the 1990s.
It didn’t look too good for the Giants, as Perth scored a run in the opening inning, but the third frame saw Adelaide set up the victory with five runs.
Stephen Lohr led off with a double, Kuan-Jen Chew singled, with Tau-Shan Chang hitting a two-bagger to score Lohr and tie up the game with none out.
An out followed by a ground-out that scored a run seemed to be it, but a pair of singles and Nathan Vanderlinden’s big two-run double capped off an energising dig, as the crowd freely chanted “Go Giants” and the temperature started to drop to a more bearable level.
Another double in the fourth, from Angus Roeger, was the key hit in a two-run push, while Karl Hoschke led off the fifth frame with a two-bagger and scored on Lohr’s twin hit – the sixth Giants’ double of the game – for an 8-1 lead.
Adelaide starting pitcher Chris Powell started to tire in the sixth frame, with reliever Matt Williams coming onto the mound, as Perth scored three times to cut the advantage to 8-4.
The Heat kept coming in the seventh, but with two runs in, and the go-ahead run coming to the plate with two out, lanky reliever Luke Van Mil not only diffused the threat with the final out of the inning, pitched the final two frames to hold Perth out and preserve the win.
For the next fortnight the Bite is away, with a series in Canberra followed by a series in Melbourne, with the final four games to be played at Diamond Sports, Adelaide Shores, from January 25 against Sydney Blue Sox.
Perth Heat 1 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0 – 6
Adelaide Giants 0 0 5 2 1 0 0 0 x – 8
Hits: Giants – Chen 3, Lohr 2, Chang 2, Roeger 2, Hoschke 2, Na. Vanderlinden 2, McArdle, Quiroz; Heat – Hall 3, Fraley 2 (hr), Williams 2, Glendinning 2, Bojarski 2, Dixon 2, Hughes.
WP: C. Powell; LP: D. Schmidt. Save: L. Van Mil.
Image- Peter Argent