Baseball’s past and present come together at annual Greg Jelks game

Old Heat players Jason Hewitt (left) and Simon Eissens (right) with current Perth Heat player Tim Kennelly (middle).
Old Heat players Jason Hewitt (left) and Simon Eissens (right) with current Perth Heat player Tim Kennelly (middle).

TWO generations of Perth Heat players came together for a good cause at Perth Ballpark on Saturday.

The current Perth Heat roster finished their pre-season preparations with a curtain-raiser against the club’s ‘old boys’ in the annual Greg Jelks’ Game.

While the ‘New Heat’ proved too strong for the former players, running out 12-0 winners, the main focus of the night was to raise money for the Greg Jelks Development Fund.

Named after WA baseball legend Jelks, who died in 2017, the fund aims to provide funding for youth, support and training opportunities for the greater baseball community.

Fund founder and Old Heat player Jason Hewitt said the fund was the perfect way to honour the legacy of Jelks, who played more than 250 ABL games for Perth, spent time in the MLB with the Philadelphia Phillies, coached Carine Baseball Club and was an assistant coach for Australia at the Sydney Olympics.

“What better way to honour his legacy and celebrate the life of Greg Jelks, how much he loved baseball and how much he gave back than to start up a fund, which would ultimately benefit the kids he coached for so many years,” he said.

Fellow Old Heat player Simon Eissens said the game continued to be a source of bonding between the current crop of players and the legends of the past.

“The players have always connected, there’s always been a connection between old and new, but this connection is more about the memory of Greg,” he said. “The old people remember the days in the early ’90s when Greg was the premium hitter in the league; this is creating awareness across many generations of baseball.”