A blistering 14 men batted in the bottom of the first inning as the Heat exploded for a nine-run opening dig en route and held off a tenacious Canberra charge late to a 19-12 defeat of the Cavalry on New Year's Eve at Barbagallo Ballpark. Perth avoided a devastating series sweep at the hands of the front-running Cavalry with the win and pulled even with Sydney for second place on the league ladder.
Having squandered late leads in each of the first two games of this series and being thwarted in their pursuit of a Sunday win, the Heat wasted no time in taking complete control of Monday night's series finale. The massive Perth first included a two-run double by Allan de San Miguel, another by Carter Bell, and two-run singles by Corey Adamson and Michael Ohlman in addition to an RBI groundout by Graeme Scorer. Cavalry starter John Holdzkom (2-2) was able to record just one out in the first, making Sunday a long night for the Canberra bullpen. The Heat led 9-0 after the first frame.
Aaron Bonomi's RBI groundout in the bottom of the second made the Perth advantage 10-0 before Canberra got on the board. Ryan Stovall did the honours in that capacity for the Cavalry, belting a one-out solo shot homer in the top of the third to slightly cut into the deficit at 10-1. That tally was immediately erased in the bottom of the fourth when Carter Bell doubled home Brenden Webb to reinstate the 10-run advantage.
Reigning 2011/12 Pitcher of the Year Warwick Saupold exited after just 2.1 innings, his manager Steve Fish and fellow staff not needing to burn their valuable starter's arm with such a huge cushion. The Heat built their massive advantage to 12-1 and 13-2 before the top of the eighth when Canberra made things extremely interesting.
The Cavalry scored seven times in the eighth, cutting to within 13-9. Antonio Callaway, Adam Bushini, and Jeremy Barnes (twice) all doubled in the inning, and Kody Hightower blasted his third home run of the season, a two-run shot. Overall, 11 Cavalry batters went to the plate in the dig, and Callaway and Barnes each drove in two runs.
Not wishing to witness a repeat of the first two nights of this four-game set, the Heat erupted in their half of the eighth to put the night away. Perth scored six runs in their last trip to the plate, highlighted by Graeme Scorer's three-run homer. Even despite three more Cavalry runs in the ninth, Perth cruised to the victory. Scorer and Carter Bell each drove in a game-high five runs while Bell and Corey Adamson led the way with four hits.
Jack Frawley (1-1), who relieved Saupold, did yeoman's work from the bullpen and earned the win, tossing 4.2 innings and allowing a run on three hits while striking out eight and not issuing a walk. Liam Baron struggled on the mound for the Heat, surrendering six runs in just 0.2 innings, but Adam Millson and Scott Mitchinson were able to close things out for Perth.
After a dramatic and thrilling four games in Perth, this series is just starting to simmer. The Heat now travel to the nation's capital to take on the Cavalry in a four-game Round Ten set at Narrabundah Ballpark. Perth and Sydney each sit 2.5 games back of Canberra with just four rounds remaining. The Heat and Cavalry hook up in ACT beginning Thursday.