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Heat officially #1 after win in Canberra
01/12/2012 10:00 PM ET
The Heat locked up the #1 seed on Thursday.
The Heat locked up the #1 seed on Thursday. (SMP Images)

The Alcohol Think Again Perth Heat officially solidifed their place at the top of the Australian Baseball League in the 2011-2012 season by defeating the Canberra Cavalry 10-5 on Thursday night at Narrabundah Ballpark. The victory in the first game of the tenth round took the Heat to 27-9 and secured the best overall record for the year, as well as the #1 seed in the post-season finals later this month.

The Heat came right out of the gate with #1 on their minds, putting up six runs in the top of the 1st inning. The Heat batted around against Canberra ace Mike McGuire, including a three-run home run by Luke Hughes. McGuire entered the game with the second-best ERA in the league, trailing only Perth's Warwick Saupold, but left after getting just one out. Allan de San Miguel and Corey Adamson both added RBIs of their own while Mitch Graham scored himself on a wild pitch, resulting in the 6-0 lead before the Cavalry even got to bat.

Centre fielder Kenny Wilson responded right back with a home run to lead off the bottom of the 1st, and Canberra added four more in the bottom of the 3rd thanks to a bases-loaded walk by Travis Scott and a three-RBI double by Michael Wells to make it 6-5. Heat starter Daniel Schmidt calmed down after the 3rd inning, allowing just one base-runner through the 7th and making sure Perth did not lose their lead. Brenden Webb backed him up with a solo homer in the 4th, and the Heat added more insurance when Matt Kennelly hit a two-run home run in the 8th and Graham hit a sacrifice fly in the 9th, resulting in the final 10-5 score. Cameron Lamb and Benn Grice both pitched scoreless innings to preserve the victory, the latter closing the game by getting Kody Hightower to ground out.

"We're excited to bring the finals back to Perth," said Heat manager Brooke Knight. "It's a nice reward for our sponsors and fans who have supported us along the way. It's only step one though, as there is only one dogpile a year and we're not there yet."

The first-place finish guarantees that Perth will host the first round of the ABL finals, starting at 2pm on Thursday January 26th at Barbagallo Ballpark. The Heat will take on the #2 team, still undecided, for the right to host the ABL Grand Finals. Last February Perth hosted and won the Grand Finals which made them the current Claxton Shield champions. On Friday the Heat and the Cavalry will meet up again for Game 2 as Dylan Jones takes the mound at 4pm. For more information visit www.perthheat.com.au.

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