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Heat get chance to defend back-to-back Shields
Series sweep lifts Perth to #3 seed in Postseason
01/28/2013 2:27 AM ET
Heat players thanked their fans at Barbagallo on Sunday.
Heat players thanked their fans at Barbagallo on Sunday. (Theron Kirkman / SMP Images)
PERTH, 27 January - It was a long shot, but the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat pulled it off. Without winning a series since November, the Heat needed every win of their four game sweep of the Melbourne Aces, taking the finale 11-1 at Barbagallo Ballpark on Sunday afternoon.

The sweep gives the Heat some much needed momentum heading into a difficult playoff clash with the Sydney Blue Sox starting on Friday. The back to back champions played some of their best baseball this season, highlighted by Jack Frawley's (3-1, 1.21) eight shutout innings. Frawley allowed only five base runners through his start, backed by a solid Heat defence that turned some crucial double plays.

Aces starter Blake Cunningham (0-1, 4.91) was strong early but gave up two runs in the third inning after Aaron Bonomi lead off with a double. Corey Adamson drove in Bonomi and Hughes drove in another on a groundout.

Manager Phil Dale went to the bullpen after three innings and the wheels fell off for the Aces from there. The Heat scored at least two runs in their last four innings to put their postseason place beyond doubt.

In the fifth Michael Ohlman picked up two RBIs off Shane Lindsay on a flyball to left. Four hit batters in the 6th put the hurt on the Heat, but the two runs that resulted gave the Heat a handy six run cushion.

The Aces defence did little to help their pitching, totalling four errors in the seventh and eighth innings. RBIs to Hughes (2), Khoury (2), Jesse Barron and Carter Bell ended the Heat's final game in Perth on a good note. As Tim Kennelly closed out the game, the 1,893 strong crowd gave the Heat a rousing reception as they start preparations for their Sydney playoff series.

One hit and two walks finished off a successful season for Corey Adamson, leading the Heat with a .326 average at just 20 years of age.

"The whole season is pretty much played in the playoffs. And that's what have the chance to do. We get to go to Sydney and do our thing, play the baseball we want to play and hopefully win it again.

We hit Sydney well this year. Last time we weren't in our best form against them but with the team we have now and the momentum that we have, I'm happy to face anyone."

Second in average for the Heat this season was Orioles prospect Michael Ohlman. Ohlman finished strongly with three hits, one that almost sailed over the fence and luckily landed out of the grasp of leftfielder Jarryd Rogers, scoring Allan de San Miguel and Carter Bell.

"I thought it was gone and then I thought Rogers caught it, so it was a long single for me. Probably the longest for anyone. But it was a big two runs and got us up by four."

The Heat's hero this afternoon was Jack Frawley and his eight shutout innings. Striking out only one, Frawley was backed on the Heat defence, which came through in a rock solid outing.

"It was a big, big win. We kind of picked it up this weekend winning four in a row. The guys were playing great behind me, it was easy with Ohlman throwing guys out and calling a great game."

"The Aces were aggressive and I didn't want to give them anything to hit. I was getting ahead of them most of the time and it worked out for us. Ohlman was calling a lot of sinking fastballs and I was locating them inside and keeping the batters off balance, and I mixed in a couple cutters once in a while which got a lot of ground balls."

Steve Fish was delighted with his team to secure a sweep to get into the playoffs after needing to gain two games on the Bandits with four to play.

"I tell you what, it was exactly what we had to do, we knew we needed to sweep and that's what happened."

"Can't say enough about Jack Frawley's performance today. He won us the championship last year and I felt that he was the guy that needed to be with us today."

Over a space of two innings, the Heat offence was hit five times by a wild Aces pitching staff that struggled with their command. The Heat players took the blows without a reaction, something which Steve Fish was happy with.

"I didn't want to cause any commotion, or fire anyone up and have them get hurt. I didn't think anything was intentional and you could tell by the look on the Aces faces that they were a little bit frustrated, and it was important the guys understood that and I think they did."

It was a frustrating couple of months for Fish, as he battled with players unavailable through injury and being rested by their Major League clubs. At almost full strength the Heat head to Sydney with some much needed confidence.

"We're ready. I told the guys that it's not about how you go about your business at the beginning or the middle, it's how you finish the season and we're ready for it. It's going to be a good test, Sydney have a good pitching staff and they're going to come right at us."

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