Perth Heat topple reigning champions Brisbane Bandits, claim league-best record

Tristan Gray’s ninth inning home run put the Heat on top for good against the Bandits in game one. Photo: SMP Images
Tristan Gray’s ninth inning home run put the Heat on top for good against the Bandits in game one. Photo: SMP Images

PERTH Heat have made a huge statement by defeating defending ABL champions Brisbane Bandits 3-1 in their four-game series in Queensland over the weekend.

After a 9-5 win in game one, the Heat dropped game two 10-7, before roaring back to form to claim the final two matches 13-8 and 13-4.

The series victory moved their record to 14-6 for the season, enough to give them the best record in the competition.

With game one tied at 5-5 heading into the ninth inning, Tristan Gray and Robbie Glendinning launched two-run home runs to hand Perth victory.

They had less luck in game two, as a nine-run third inning cost the visitors dear, despite a late fightback.

However, the league’s top run-scorers showed their mettle in Sunday’s double-header, adding 13 runs in back-to-back games to claim the outright series win.

The Heat out-hit the Bandits 18-7 in a wild ballgame to take an initial 2-1 series lead, with World Series champion Pete Kozma fuelling Perth’s red-hot offence.

Perth took their momentum into the second game as Chris Betts and Carl Chester both hit three-run shots to put the Heat in command, while pitcher Nick Veale struck out a career-high eight batters on route to his third win of the year.

The Heat return to Perth Ballpark for a four-game series against fellow high-flyers Sydney Blue Sox, starting Friday.