Securing a 4-3 win over the Melbourne Aces, the Heat showed they were more than just a long-shot to make the postseason. The Bandits loss earlier in the evening means the Heat only need to gain one more win over the Bandits over the coming three games to secure a post-season place
Anthony Claggett (4-5, 3.31) put in one of the best performances in a Heat uniform, striking out 14 Aces batters through six innings of work. Not even Claggett would believe it when informed of the total after the game.
"How many? Was it really 14? That's the most I've ever had." Claggett's night started shakily, giving up three straight hits and two runs before recording an out. The former Yankee pitcher then settled and stifled the Aces hitters.
"It felt good. The first inning I fell behind a few batters and gave up two runs. But I settled in, the splitter and slider was working great and I started to locate my fastball much better."
Manager Steve Fish was singing the praises of his starter after the game, glad to see him performing well with scouts in the crowd.
"Claggett was awesome, man. He's got big league stuff and I know the Tigers were up there watching him. I hope the guy can get a gig."
The Heat struggled early against Aces debutant Lewis Thorpe, who made his highly anticipated professional debut at just 17 years of age. Thorpe is one of Australia's highest rated young arms and was signed to the Twins at the age of 16. Pitching 5.1 solid innings, Thorpe allowed only a single run and struck out five to leave his debut with a 1.69 ERA.
Back to back doubles from the Heat in the 6th resulted in Allan de San Miguel scoring Luke Hughes. Scott Mitchinson came in to relieve Claggett in the 7th, and Adamson tied the game with his first RBI of the night, scoring Aaron Bonomi on a single to centre.
The Aces fought back with a run of their own in the 8th thanks to a James Beresford sac bunt that scored Josh Hendriks. Heading into the ninth trailing 3-2, the Heat faced Zachary Arneson who had only allowed a single run in 18 innings of work. A leadoff double to Jessie Barron gave the Heat some hope to equalise as pinch hitter Tim Kennelly worked a walk to put two runners on with only one out. As pinch runner David Amberson tore home on Adamson's walk-off hit, the entire Heat dugout emptied in a race to the plate.
"I made sure I touched the plate right after Amberson did!" said Steve Fish. "It was a great finish and that's what it's all about. We got in a situation and we knew we had to win. It's do or die time for us."
As the Heat's leading hitter all season, Adamson finds himself in a race for the season's batting title, however this battle was far from the mind of the Heat outfielder after securing an all-important win for the Heat.
"Coming into that at bat with two guys on I thought that there was no better time to get a hit. I got my pitch, a fastball middle away. It was exactly what I wanted and drove it to left field."
The win is a massive boost for the Heat, but they are far from being out of the woods and Adamson highlighted the Heat's attitude to the remaining three games in the season.
"The pressure's not really off, we're still battling for the spot, but everything's coming together and hopefully we can get that playoff spot."