Perth continue domination of ABL
Perth continue domination of ABL

The Perth Heat look set to host their third Australian Baseball League (ABL) championship series in four years after winning their round 11 series against the Brisbane Bandits to extend their lead in the standings to five games.

As Perth (24-13) continue to pull away from the pack, the Canberra Cavalry (19-19), Adelaide Bite (19-19) and Sydney Blue Sox (19-19) are locked in a three-way tie for second place and a tight battle for the remaining two playoff spots with two weeks remaining in the season.

The Heat used a five-run second inning and two timely homers from Luke Hughes to power past the Bandits 10-3 in their round 11 series opener.

The hosts won again in game two, 6-1, with former New York Yankees pitcher Anthony Claggett surrendering just one run in five innings.

In game three, fellow pitcher Daniel Schmidt helped the Heat make it three in a row with the 2-1 win over Brisbane (14-23).

Perth completed the series sweep by defeating Brisbane 3-0 in the finale.

After a slow start to the season, the Bite have played their way back into playoff contention under new manager Brooke Knight and improved to .500 for the first time since early November by beating the Aces three games to one.

Adelaide split their first two games with Melbourne, winning game one 2-0, but dropping the second match to the Aces 7-3.

The league's oldest player, 39-year-old pitcher Darren Fidge, led the Bite to a 8-2 victory in game three as Adelaide wrapped up the series.

In Sydney, the Canberra Cavalry missed an opportunity to gain ground on league leader Perth, dropping their series to the Blue Sox three games to one.

Sydney rallied from behind in the final inning to take game one 4-3, but Canberra evened the series in the second match with a 10-0 shutout which stopped a four-game Cavalry losing streak.

The Blue Sox would bounce back again to take game three 7-3, with a big five-run fifth inning that proved too much for the Cavalry.

Game four went all the way to 12 innings before Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Keon Broxton drove in the winning run to give Sydney the walk-off win, 3-2.

The West Australian

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