The pride of Western Australia, the Perth Heat defeated the defending Australian Baseball League champions, Caberra Cavalry, to reclaim the Claxton Shield, the league’s championship trophy.
Perth swept Canberra in the best-of-three series with both games decided by a single run. Game One was decided in the bottom 14th inning when Perth’s Corey Adamson walked with one out and Joey Wong doubled him home off of Canberra reliever Sean Toler to win the game by a 4-3 score.
Jack Frawley, one of the top pitchers in the ABL this season, gave the Heat seven solid innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Three Perth-born pitchers, Brendan Wise, Scott Mitchinson and Cameron Lamb combined to pitch seven more shutout innings, giving up just five hits and three walks between them. Wise struck out five in his four innings while Mitchinson K’ed three in his two innings. Lamb was credited with the win.
For Canberra, Brian Grening made the start, throwing five and two-thirds innings of two-run ball before he made way for Clint Everts, a former first-round pick of the Montreal Expos in the 2002 draft, who only gave up one run (unearned) on three hits and a walk in five and a third innings.
For the losing side, first baseman Jason Sloan, a 24-year-old from Canberra, went four for five while Toronto Blue Jays‘ minor league catcher Jack Murphy went two for four with a double, three walks and two RBI. Blue Jays’ minor league outfielder Mike Crouse went two for seven and Melbourne-born 41-year-old DH Michael Wells went two for five.
For the Heat, Joey Wong added a single to his game-winning double to go two for seven while Brandon Tripp, the team’s leading hitter went two for five and catcher Matt Kennelly had a single and a double in five at bats.
Game Two was a regulation-length affair that saw the Heat emerge victorious in a 2-1 game. Despite scattering 10 hits, Canberra starter Ethan Cole only gave up two runs in his five and two-thirds innings and struck out four. Brian Baker, the Perth starter, picked up the win, going six and a third innings and allowed one run on two hits and three walks. Baker, a 31-year-old native of Brooklyn, came to Australia after plying his trade in the Mexican League this summer.
For Perth, Joey Wong hit a single and a double while Tim and Matt Kennelly each had a pair of hits. The Cavalry only had three hits as a team with Jack Murphy going one for two with a triple and two walks and Jeremy Barnes hitting a solo home run to account for Canberra’s only scoring.
The Perth Heat’s victory marks their third ABL championship in the league’s four years of existence.