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Heat Shutout Sydney In Opener
New and Old Weapons Step Up
11/01/2013 2:44 PM ET
Dean White Drove In Three Runs For The Heat
Dean White Drove In Three Runs For The Heat (James Woosha Worsfold SMP/ABL)

Perth, 1 November - The Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat were set to unveil a new weapon in their quest to recapture the Claxton Shield in their season opening 10-0 win over the Sydney Blue Sox at Barbagallo Ballpark. They did get an outstanding debut of Heat ace Mike Ekstrom but the club unveiled plenty more weapons both young and old.

Ekstrom who had gone over 100 appearances since his last start in the US minor leagues was spot on as he held Sydney in check for seven shutout innings. But it was the work of some rarely used and new names that really did the damage at the plate for Perth.

Dean White one of several players called up to the active roster while the Heat were shorthanded due to Tim Kennelly's wedding scored the first run for the Heat after he doubled to start the second. With one out Jesse Barron drove White home with a Fielder's Choice off of Sydney starter Craig Anderson to make it 1-0. The Heat would never trail from there.

In the third Jake Bowey who was signed by the Houston Astros last off season singled in his first ABL at bat to lead off the inning. Bowey who was last year a member of the Heat grounds crew would go two for four on the night. "It's going to be hard to sleep (tonight) it was really exciting. As soon as I got on the bases I just wanted to just jump around," said the Heat rookie. Anderson appeared to settle in and retired the next two but that third out was hard to get. Two of the new Heat additions would load the bases as Tucker Nathans singled and Brandon Tripp was hit by an Anderson pitch. White would step up and hit a deep ball to short that Sydney shortstop Trent D'Antonio would commit and error on allowing Bowey to score. The next batter Alex Stuart another one of the Heat's young callups singled to right to score two more and to make it 4-0 Heat through three.

In the fifth inning Tripp singled with two outs off of Anderson. The new Heat weapon was followed by the old Heat and seldom used White again who tripled to drive in Tripp to make it 5-0. White who had no previous at bats in the current ABL and had not had a domestic AB since 2010 in the old Claxton Shield format was last used by the Heat at a pitcher in 2010-2011 ABL season.

With the Heat bats warming Ekstrom was in command. The Blue Sox got a one out hit in the first and lead off in the second but then Ekstrom retired the next 11 until a walk in the fifth with two outs to Joshua Dean. Ekstrom then retired Guy Edmonds with a strikeout one of three for the righty on the night. Then another 1-2-3 sixth followed until the Blue Sox scratched out their third hit in the seventh by Keon Broxton. "He is a professional and been around for a while. He commands three pitches down in the zone and he is a tough guy to hit. If he can give us that every week we are looking pretty good," said Heat Manager Steve Fish.

Meanwhile the veteran lefty Anderson who was the 2012-13 ABL Pitcher of the Year was roughed up going 6.2I P surrendering 11 hits, eight runs with only five earned. The Heat would chase him in the seventh when Adam Courcha led off the inning with a single. Nathans followed with a double and the Heat were in business again with runners at first and second. With one out Dean White stepped up and singled to clear the bases make it 7-0. White finished going three for five with three RBI his first in professional ball since 2005 when he was a member of the Atlanta Braves organization in the South Atlantic League. Anderson would retire one more then after a two out walk to Barron the Blue Sox pen was summoned as Anderson would go on to be tagged with a loss. The Heat added another run in the inning on a Pita Rona RBI.

In the eight Brandon Tripp took Blue Sox reliever keiran McCluskey deep with one on and two outs to a make it 10-0 Heat. Scott Mitchinson worked two scoreless innings out of the Perth pen. Joey Wong added a pair of hits for the Heat in the season opening win. A record crowd of 2,448 saw the Heat get off on the right foot on Friday night. "To come out for the first game and set a record for the crowd you couldn't really ask for more it was great. The hitters came to hit the defence played well and we pitched well and it was good to get started with a win", said Heat starter Mike Ekstrom.

The Heat and Blue Sox will have a "Let's play two" doubleheader Saturday at Barbagallo Ballpark with the first game at 4:05 pm followed by the second at 7:20 pm. Saturday is Seniors Day for fans in their golden years who will a discounted ticket for $8 at the gate, as well as music and entertainment for the entire family. All games are at Barbagallo Ballpark located at the corner of Nicholson and Wilfred Roads in Thornlie. 

For individual tickets, season memberships or further information call (08) 6336 7950 or visit the Heat's official website at Go Heat!

Dan Vaughan is the "Voice of the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat" and co-host of Talking Baseball Australia. He can be found on Twitter at @DanVaughtwitter or @tbaustralia. This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.