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Bite v Heat: Toughest challenge so far
12/06/2017 11:03 PM ET

Rain, rain, go away - that will be the words on everyone's lips as Round 4 gets underway. The Adelaide Bite, proudly presented by SA Power Networks, is so far the only team to play all 12 games and it could be a boost in the future as others fit in extra games.

The Perth Heat will be no easy beats, and with an ABL head-to-head record of 42-28 over Adelaide, the Bite is still looking for momentum against the Heat after winning their first away series last season.


All four starters this week in Chris Powell, Max Beatty, Greg Mosel and Matt Williams can win games. So far only two have. They will need the offensive support this week, more than ever, but the return of Steven Chambers is a boost to the bullpen. Tim Day, 29, also provides some unknown talent having maintained his place in the roster after pitching a handful of games back in 2013.

Connar O'Gorman is back after strong form in the SABL and he will be hungry to get his season on track. Meanwhile, 19-year-old Dylan Ridding gets his first chance to impress on the road and can show off his full potential.

Pitching: Powell, Beatty, Mosel, Williams, O'Loughlin, van Mil, Hutchings, Chambers, Chappell, Brebner-Russ, T. Day

Hitting: Quiroz, Nooij, McArdle, C. Tai-Shan, Ayarza, Lohr, Ridding, Roeger, D. Day, van der Linden, O'Gorman

Battle of the young guns

Just this week, two of Perth's 18-year-old hitters in Jesse Williams and Alex Hall signed contracts with the Milwaukee Brewers. Williams is hitting .262 and Hall .207. Hall's form is similar to that of Arizona Diamondback rookie, Jordan McArdle, while it would be unfair to compare fellow 19-year-old, Dylan Ridding.

Still, if we are looking at teenagers to provide depth, Ridding will need to provide hitting power as a starter or bench player. So far he has been defensively strong in the outfield or at first. McArdle will want more from his at-bats, but has already developed into a more natural first-baseman.

Pitching strengths

Perth's starting rotation has earned a 3-4 record while their other four wins have gone to relievers. On the other hand, Adelaide is 0-4 in relief and the starters are fighting at 2-6. A key relief trio of Scott Mitchinson, Cameron Lamb and Daniel Schmidt will play a huge part in any Perth wins.

Steven Chambers and Jack O'Loughlin will be the key relievers to throw 2-3 innings if needed for Adelaide, and after an offseason in Japan, Chambers has been pitching against talented opposition all year. Jackson Brebner-Russ is another to watch out for after some crucial cameos this season.

Consistent hits vs more hits

Perth has four players comfortably averaging above .300 - Michael Brosseau, Tim Kennelly, Jake Fraley and Zacrey Law. Brosseau leads with .442 while Law is the lowest at .333. Adelaide is a stark contrast with Stephen Lohr's .410 making him the only regular hitter in the range.

After a slow start this is where the Bite hitters have to match their opponents, not just at the top, but the bottom of the order. The emphasis is on locals McArdle, O'Gorman and Nathan van der Linden, and also Darius Day and Isaias Quiroz. The strikeouts have to go, and the hits take their place. Otherwise Perth will run away with the game each time.

Who wins?

Undefeated in four games, Perth has definitely bounced back from a horror 2016/17. It is safe to say a series win for Adelaide would make a statement and show the Bite are here to make an impact.

Early leads from the top of the order would go a long way and if the bullpen can go through scoreless innings then a couple of wins are certainly on the cards. Against a rampant Heat, it might take a bit of luck, and definitely a whole lot of passion.

Series split.

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