The Perth Heat’s 2018-19 Australian Baseball League schedule has been confirmed, with the 15xClaxton Shield champions taking on both the Auckland and Geelong-Korea expansion teams in the first two rounds.
After starting their season on the road for the last two years, the Heat will host Auckland at Perth Harley-Davidson Ballpark during Round One between November 15-18, before travelling to take on Geelong-Korea from November 22-25.
Baseball WA Chief Executive Lachlan Dale said he was looking forward to the challenge of hosting Auckland in Round One.
“It’s exciting to be the first team to host one of the expansion clubs,” he said.
“Auckland are a bit of an unknown this year, and it should be a great start to the season.”
The ABL will take on a completely new look in 2018/19, with a U.S. style conference system to be adopted.
The Heat will play in the South-West Division alongside the Adelaide Bite, Geelong-Korea and Melbourne Aces, contesting eight home and away fixtures against their conference rivals while playing just a single four-game series against the Brisbane Bandits, Sydney Blue Sox, Auckland and Canberra Cavalry who line up in the North-East Division.
“It’ll be really interesting to see how the conferences play out,” Dale said.
“Picking up wins against our South-West conference rivals will be crucial if we want to play finals.”
Despite the addition of both Auckland and Geelong-Korea, the league will remain a 40-game competition to be held over the course of 12 weeks.
Headlining Perth’s schedule is a difficult trip to take on three-time reigning champions Brisbane in Round Five, while they wrap up their campaign away to Canberra in a rematch of last season’s semi-final, which the Cavalry won 2-1.
The semi finals will then be held from January 24-27 before the Championship Series will be held between January 31-February 3.
An announcement regarding the league’s All-Star game is expected shortly.
Perth Heat 2018-19 Schedule
Round One: Heat v Auckland (November 15 – 18)
Round Two: Heat @ Geelong-Korea (November 22 – 25)
Round Three: Heat @ Adelaide Bite (November 29 – December 2)
Round Four: Heat v Melbourne Aces (December 6 – 9)
Round Five: Heat @ Brisbane Bandits (December 13 – 16)
Round Six: Heat v Sydney Blue Sox (December 20-23)
Round Seven: Heat v Adelaide Bite (December 27 – 30)
Round Eight: Heat @ Melbourne Aces (January 3 – 6)
Round Nine: Heat v Geelong-Korea (January 10 – 13)
Round Ten: Heat v Canberra Cavalry (January 17 – 20)
Semi-Final: (January 22 – 27)
Championship Series (January 31 – Febuary 3)
*All of the Heat’s home games will be played at the Perth Harley-Davidson Ballpark in Thornlie.