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Behind Hoskins, Blue Sox sweep Heat
Phillies prospect belts home run, hits walk-off double
10/31/2015 2:33 PM ET
Sydney players start their walk-off celebration after Game 2.
Sydney players start their walk-off celebration after Game 2. (Joe Vella/SMP Images/ABL Media)

SYDNEY -- Through five years of the reborn ABL, the Sydney Blue Sox have never won a home series over the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat. Thanks to a Saturday surge, they've given themselves a chance in their sixth year.

Philadelphia Phillies import Rhys Hoskins was the hero of the day for the Sox. Hoskins belted a three-run homer in the opener and roped a walk-off double to centre in the nightcap as Sydney swept both ends of a Saturday doubleheader from Perth with wins of 6-1 and 3-2.

The Sox didn't waste time getting Colorado Rockies prospect Alex Balog support in the opener. After Balog worked out of a jam with an inning-ending double play in the first, Sydney went to work. Trent D'Antonio walked to lead off the bottom half of the inning, and Josh Dean followed with a one-out single. That brought up Hoskins, who blasted his first home run of the season out to left to stake Sydney to a 3-0 advantage.

Sydney tacked on two more runs on RBI singles by Mathew Smith and James Yates in the third inning and added their final run on Alex Howe's sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Balog worked smoothly with the lead. The Rockies' No. 25 prospect according to, Balog (W, 1-0) went 5 2/3 innings in the seven-inning opener, allowing just three hits and no runs with six strikeouts against a pair of walks.

Perth starter Jon Jones (L, 0-2) lasted just 2 1/3 innings, surrendering five runs on six hits while walking three against only one strikeout.

Saturday's finale went scoreless into the seventh when Sydney broke through with two runs. Yates doubled to drive in the first and scored two batters later on Joshua Strong's RBI single. The Heat didn't fold, however, tying the game with two runs of their own in the eighth. Anthony Caronia doubled to plate Matt Kennelly, and Matt Dixon scored on a wild pitch from Sox reliever Aaron Sookee.

That set the stage for more heroics from Hoskins. After Jamie Westbrook led off the 10th inning with a single, Hoskins powered a double to centre over the head of Perth's Tad Gold to score Westbrook with the game-winning tally and set off a raucous celebration at second base.

Sydney veteran Craig Anderson returned with 7 2/3 terrific innings in a no-decision, allowing two runs -- one earned -- on five hits while striking out two without a walk.

The Blue Sox went 4-16 at home versus Perth through the first five years of ABL history. They'll get a chance at redemption with Sunday's finale and a shot at a series win set from 12 p.m. AET at Blue Sox Stadium. Tickets are on sale now.

Tyler Maun is an ABL staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun. This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.