Baseball: new Perth Heat boss keen for improvement ahead of ABL opener

New Perth Heat manager Andy Kyle.
New Perth Heat manager Andy Kyle.

NEW Perth Heat manager Andy Kyle says his team are keen to bounce back from last season’s disappointing performance in the Australian Baseball League (ABL).

Perth claimed the ABL wooden spoon last season after they finished sixth with a 14-26 win/loss record.

It was a shock to the system for the Heat, which has won four championships since the ABL was revamped in 2010.

Unsurprisingly, Kyle said the players were eager to rectify last year’s poor showing.

“The guys were pretty disappointed in the results last year, the organisation has been accustomed to winning and we’re very proud of that,” he said.

“I don’t think the guys will need much motivation (from me) as far as last year, I think they’ll be keen to get back winning games.”

Kyle comes to the Heat with an impressive resume, having guided the Wanneroo Giants to the 2015-16 State League title, in addition to serving the under-15 national team as coach in 2015 and 2016 and as manager at the 2016 Baseball World Championships.

He has also been South Fremantle Senior High School’s director of baseball since 2007 and spent 2015 and 2016 with the Australian Major League Baseball Academy.

Kyle said he was itching to get back on the field and turn the team’s fortunes around.

“We’ve been doing a good job behind the scenes trying to get a list together, trying to provide an environment where guys know what they’re doing,” he said.

“Any time we step on the field, we expect to win and compete.

“Hopefully we can build on the season from last year, go above .500 win/loss ratio and give us a chance to play some playoff baseball.”

Kyle admitted the Heat would have a young squad, but would lean on the Major League Baseball experience of Luke Hughes (Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics), Warwick Saupold (current Detroit Tigers pitcher) and 13th overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft Garrett Whitley (Tampa Bay Rays).

Perth Heat opens its ABL campaign away to Melbourne Aces November 17-19.

The first home series is against Brisbane Bandits on November 24-26 at Baseball Park.

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