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Heat make statement with Opening Night rout
Seven-run first inning helps champs cruise
11/01/2012 10:51 PM ET
Adam Melker belted the Heat's first homer of the season Thursday.
Adam Melker belted the Heat's first homer of the season Thursday. (Ryan Schembri / SMP Images)
ADELAIDE, 1 November - A seven-run first inning propelled the two-time defending champions Heat as their quest for a third straight Claxton Shield title started off on the right foot with a 9-3 win over the Adelaide Bite at Norwood Oval.

Facing Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguer and Adelaide Bite import Zac Fuesser (0-1), the Heat erupted early to quell any doubt about whether or not Perth's powerhouse had slowed at all over the offseason. After Corey Adamson reached on an error to open the game, the floodgates opened for the Heat.

Perth sent 12 men to the plate in their opening dig, and reigning ABL Most Valuable Player Tim Kennelly got the Heat on the board with an RBI single to score Adamson. Five more Heat players batted in runs in the opening frame, including Josh McGee who singled home a pair, and Perth led 7-0 after the first half-inning of the season.

Adelaide were never able to muster enough offence to get back in the season-opening affair. Heat starter Virgil Vasquez (1-0), last season's ABL Championship Series MVP, was strong early, facing the minimum through his first three innings. By the time the Bite got on the scoreboard with an RBI single in the fourth, it was beginning to be too little, too late.

The two clubs traded runs in the sixth with Perth's Adam Melker cranking the first home run of the season before Adelaide plated another runner to make it an 8-2 score. Following David Amberson's RBI single for the Heat in the 7th, Vasquez worked the bottom of the seventh inning and exited with a 9-2 lead. Perth reliever Adam Millson surrendered the Bite's first home run of the season to Nathan Melendres, but it wasn't enough for the home side.

These two teams clash again Friday night with Perth's Anthony Claggett (0-0, -.--) taking the hill opposite Adelaide's Paul Mildren (0-0, -.--). First pitch for the second game of this three-game series is set from 7pm.

Also Friday, the season opens for two more teams when the Sydney Blue Sox travel to Canberra to take on the upstart Cavalry. First pitch for that contest, which pits starters Chris Oxspring of Sydney and Brian Grening of Canberra, is also set from 7.

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