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Heat make ABLCS return, fall to Bandits
02/13/2019 11:10 PM ET

With the 2018/2019 Brut Australian Baseball League season done and dusted, now it's time to look back at how each team fared in reverse finishing order. Next up is the Perth Heat. 

Perth built on its impressive first season under Andy Kyle to set up a heavyweight ABL Championship Series between the league's most dominant outfits.

The Heat were unable to match Brisbane though, falling 2-0 as they missed a shot at a fifth Claxton Shield in nine seasons of the relaunched ABL.

Perth dropped the opener at home and were outclassed in game two, putting an end to their season in disappointing fashion.

The Heat finished the regular season as South-West Division champions, again having success on the back off strong offence.

Perth again led the league in runs scored (289) and held an ABL-best .291 batting average.

They finished second behind only Brisbane with 51 homers.

The Heat managed to top the league's key offensive categories for a second-straight year despite losing Luke Hughes to Melbourne and Rays' utility Chris Betts before the end of the season.

Tristan Gray and Tim Kennelly provided plenty of output, as did Robbie Glendinning when he joined a few weeks into the season.


What went right

The Tampa Bay relationship continues to reap rewards for the Heat.

Although they again lost some of their Rays' contingent early, they were damaging during their stint in the west.

Tristan Gray led the league with 41 runs batted in after hitting .321.410/583.

Chris Betts hit .310 with 16 RBI in 22 games and Carl Chester averaged .260 with 27 RBI and six home runs.

Chris Sanchez and Joe Peguero both held sub-2.00 ERAs before departing midway through the season.


What went wrong

At times Perth's pitching lacked consistency.

Their bullpen let a few leads slip and despite Conor Lourey and Nick Veale impressing the starting rotation did not match up one through four with the league's best.

The Heat's best pitching performances were lights out but they were susceptible to a bad outing or even inning that proved costly.


Most impressive win

Defeated Brisbane 13-4 at OneHub Stadium powered by Optus on December 15

Perth wrapped up a series win over Brisbane in Queensland with an impressive 13-4 win on December 15.

The blowout win capped off a sweep of their Saturday doubleheader with the Bandits, which saw them outscore the hosts 26-12.

Chris Betts, Carl Chester and Alex Hall each drove in three runs in the game four victory.

Nick Veale struck out eight in five innings and Josh Rawlinson and Benn Grice combined for four shutout innings in relief. Player of the Season

Tim Kennelly

Kennelly put together an outstanding season in the Perth outfield.

The Heat veteran hit.338 with 24 RBI, six homers and eight stolen bases.

He was on fire early and despite slowing up a little, was one of the league's elite hitters for the 2018/19 season.


Highlight of the season

Perth were two outs away from becoming Auckland's first victim in the ABL in round one.

But down 4-0 the Heat rattled off five runs in the bottom of the seventh to prevail 5-4.

Jake Bowey's three-run shot capped off the walk-off win after Perth failed to record a hit through six innings.


Perth went a week deeper than a season ago but came up short of another Claxton Shield.

They continued to have one of the most powerful lineups in the ABL despite losing Luke Hughes to Melbourne.

Alex Hall kept improving and Robbie Glendinning is one of the best young talents in the ABL.

Pete Kozma and the Tampa Bay prospects played key roles.

Conor Lourey and Nick Veale give manager Andy Kyle a platform to work around for his starting rotation.


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