Plenty of new faces were on show for the Perth Heat as the opened their 2012/2013 season on the right note with a 11-3 win over South Perth at Barbagello Ballpark this evening.
Heat fans used to seeing two Kennellys in the lineup would not have been disappointed when brothers Josh and Sam made their first appearances in Heat uniforms. Josh McGee, the son of former Heat coach Ken McGee, also made his debut for his local team alongside imports Melker, Bell, Anderson.
Right Hand Pitcher Adam Millson started for the Heat and was impressive on the mound, keeping the Cubs offence at bay through his 6 Innings of work with only 1 Earned Run. Millson didn't allow a hit through his first three innings, and apart from back to back hits that brought in two runs (one earned) in the 6th, Millson was always in control against the Baseball WA State League Champions as he picked up 5 strikeouts in his season debut.
On the mound for the Cubs was a familiar face returning to the Australian Baseball Scene after an extended absence through injury. Scott Mitchinson, while pitching for his local side South Perth, will also side with the Heat this season and the Heat crowd will have been pleased with what they saw. Mitchinson breezed through the first two innings until his control deserted him in the 3rd. A two out walk to Corey Adamson would come back to haunt him, as Heat import Adam Melker brought him home with a solid double to center.
Heat recruit Josh McGee opened the bottom of the 4th with a leadoff double and eventually scored being moved around by Greame Scorer and brought in by a wild pitch from Mitchinson. Back to back doubles from Hughes and Canadian import Carter Bell of the Cardinals organisation had the Heat up 4-0 through five innings.
In the 6th the Cubs showed some magic that brought them the 2012 State League Championship with a leadoff double and single off Millson to leave runners at 2nd and 3rd with no out. Millson would recover to retire the next three batters however Adam Barbrich and Andy Kyle both came in to score to bring the Cubs within two.
Carter Bell continued to impress in the 7th, picking up his second RBI double to score Elliot Hargreaves who came into the game to Pinch Hit for Luke Hughes. Bell would later score on a Josh McGee single. With two out the wheels fell off the South Perth bullpen, as Dyer brought in two with a bases loaded double and Melker capped off a big night with another 2 RBIs. Seven runs on six hits put the Heat up by 11-2 heading into the 8th.
It was a big moment in the 8th inning as Sam Kennelly pinch hit for Carter Bell for his first appearance for the Heat. It was over as soon as it started, with Kennelly swinging on the first pitch and launching the ball to center field where he was unlucky to find the glove of Center Fielder Max Wheeler who made a nice play.
Daniel Schmidt came in to replace Millson and threw two scoreless innings. Down nine runs in the 9th, the Cubs showed some fight, loading the bases on a Max Wheeler single and a pair of walks. A wild pitch would score Wheeler. Lamb would recover with a strikeout and secure the Heat's first win of Spring Training.
Another debut for the heat was in the dugout, where Steve Fish made his first appearance as Heat Manager. Fish was pleased with the results, especially from the new faces of the team. "It was good to get the young guys out there tonight and to have a good look at how they play. They had some good swings against a tough pitcher which should get them ready for the new ABL Season."
Josh McGee finished the game with three hits on debut and attributed his performance to Fish and his teammates. "It's a great atmosphere in this club. The coaches and players make is easy to go out there and relax. We have a lot of fun, which makes it easier to get results."
Tomorrow night sees the Heat take on the Baseball WA All Stars the first of a two game set. Head on down to Barbagallo Ballpark to see the debut of local pitcher James Maxwell starting at 7:20pm.