HEAT FALL SHORT AGAINST BANDITS
The Alcohol Think Again Perth Heat dropped Thursday night’s game against the Brisbane Bandits 6-2 at Barbagallo Park. A dominating pitching performance by the Bandits allowed them to even the series at one game each in the ninth round of the 2011-2012 Australian Baseball League season.
Brisbane set the tone in the 1st inning as Josh Roberts hit a long ball over the centre field fence to put the Bandits up 1-0. Mitch Graham, Heat second baseman and last night’s extra-innings hero, had a response in the bottom of the 2nd inning by putting a ball on top of shed in centre field to tie the score at 1-1.
Bandits first baseman David Sutherland hit a leadoff double in the top of the 4th, later scoring on a Matt Roxburgh fielder’s choice ground out. Roxburgh then stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch, finally scoring on a Steven Greer sacrifice fly to put the Bandits up 3-1. Sutherland padded the lead in the 5th with an RBI single to score Brad Dutton, and the Bandits took a 4-1 lead through 5.
The Heat loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 6th, but Bandits third baseman Kevin Hoef was able to make a scrappy play for the force out and get out of the inning. This was the final out for Bandits starter Alex Maestri (pictured below), who kept Perth batters baffled all night, allowing only four hits and the one run while striking out six. Brisbane carried this momentum into the top of the 7th, again via a leadoff double. Roberts set the table, then Hoef singled and Sutherland walked to load the bases with no outs. RBI singles by Roxburgh and Mitch Nilsson brought home Roberts and Hoef respectively, and the Bandits took a 6-1 lead.
Brenden Webb did all he could to close the gap, belting a home run to right to make it 6-2 in the bottom of the 7th, but that was all that the Heat could muster. Reliever Sean Jarrett pitched the last three innings for the Bandits, allowing just the one run while earning the save. Corey Adamson managed to reach first on an infield hit with two outs in the 9th, but Webb flew out to deep left centre to end the game.
“There’s not a lot to say to be honest,” said Heat manager Brooke Knight. “The guy they ran out last night was pretty good and Maestri might be one of the top 3 arms in the league so he threw well. Our guys come back to the dugout and are saying shoot, his stuff’s plenty good.”
“He’s throwing his fastball all over the plate in good spots with a little life on it, a little more life than we’re used to in this league,” said James McOwen.”He’s living in the low 90’s so that’s gonna help, and he threw me a really good split-finger to strike me out in my 2nd at-bat. One at-bat he did give me good fastballs to hit and I fouled them straight back, smelled burnt wood on ‘em. I’m a little off, just missing ‘em, which means I have to tone it down, relax, and focus on just touching the ball instead of trying to drive it.”