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Perth sweep Sydney away to Round 2 at BOP
Three runs in third, eighth send Heat to Championship Series
01/28/2011 11:51 PM ET
Perth celebrate their series-clinching win Friday night at BOP.
Perth celebrate their series-clinching win Friday night at BOP. (SMP Images/ABL)
SYDNEY - It wasn't exactly home sweet home for the "Alcohol Think Again" Perth Heat. Or maybe it was.

Perth, acting as the home team in Game Two of their best-of-three Delta Air Lines ABL Postseason Round 1 clash with the Sydney Blue Sox, improved to 6-0 at Blacktown Olympic Park this season with a 6-0 victory to win the series and a direct path to the 11-13 February ABL Championship Series and send the Sox to a Round 2 showdown with the Adelaide "ETSA" Bite next week.

"[Perth] played some pretty faultless baseball in the two games here," Blue Sox manager Glenn Williams said of a series in which it seemed not much could go right for his club or wrong for the visitors from Western Australia. "They're always going to be tough, and they took it to us from game one. They came out tonight and stuck with it, had some really good at-bats and put a couple of big innings together there. We're obviously disappointed, but we'll regroup and be ready to go for whoever we have to play next week."

Following a 4-2 victory to open the series Thursday night, the Heat looked to capitalize on their momentum and did so in the bottom of the third inning. Against Blue Sox starter Wayne Lundgren (0-1), Perth loaded the bases with their first three men to the plate and plated the game's first run, just like they did Thursday night, on a sacrifice fly to foul territory that settled in the glove of Sox right fielder David Kandilas. Tim Kennelly's offering plated his brother Matt, and Perth was on the board at 1-0. After inducing a pop out from catcher Allan de San Miguel, Lundgren gave up a two-run double to big leaguer Luke Hughes, and the Heat were off and running at 3-0.

For the second consecutive night, Sydney's bats simply could not solve a Heat starter. This time, it was lefty Trevor Caughey (1-0) who blanked the Sox over six innings, scattering five hits and matching them with five strikeouts and no walks. The Blue Sox put runners aboard in six of their nine offensive innings but never pushed a man past second base. Unlike Thursday night, in which every Sydney hit went for extra bases, not one went for more than a single Friday. Sydney actually outhit Perth 7-6 but went just 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position versus the Heat's 3-for-9.

Hanging onto their 3-0 lead, Perth put the game away in the bottom of the eighth. Taking advantage of a hit-by-pitch, a walk, and an error, the Heat loaded the bases with no one out against Blue Sox reliever Todd Grattan. A groundout by Robbie Widlansky, RBI single by Evan McArthur, and sacrifice fly by Ronnie Welty, the last coming against Grattan's fellow reliever Matt Williams, made it a 6-0 ballgame. Brendan Wise pitched around a one-out Alex Johnson single to clinch the win for Perth.

Sydney manager Williams, speaking after the win while Adelaide and Melbourne still dueled into extra innings in the decisive game two of their series, looked ahead for his top-seeded team that will now need to come out of the losers' bracket for a shot at the Claxton Shield.

"I guess we've got to see who we'll be playing first," Williams said of his team's adjustments for Round Two. "I know that Adelaide has been playing really well of late. We'll just be prepared and see who we're going to play and try to work out our best matchups. Tuesday night, we'll get out there [at training]. We'll have some of our guys who didn't get out there [this series] pitch in club ball on the weekend. We'll do what we can to prepare and be ready to go Thursday."

Adelaide's 4-3, 11-inning win over Melbourne means that the Bite will travel to Sydney next week for a best-of-three, loser-goes-home elimination series at Blacktown Olympic Park. Sydney swept Adelaide in a four-game set from 12-15 January at BOP.

Williams expressed faith in his squad to rebound from their opening round loss.

"They're pretty disappointed but pretty resilient guys as well. Pretty prideful and pretty resilient, and they've still got a lot of confidence in each other."

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.