A double from the Cavs' Jack Murphy wasn't enough for Canberra to win game one. File photo: Melissa Adams
The Canberra Cavalry's Australian Baseball League title is on the line in Perth on Saturday night, the defending champions losing the opening game of the grand final series to Perth Heat 4-3 in extra innings.
Perth's Joey Wong laced a game-winning double in the bottom of the 14th inning, and his Perth Heat outlasted the Canberra Cavalry to draw first blood in an epic opening to the ABL Championship Series.
The Heat triumphed 4-3 in the thriller on Friday night that had began as a pitcher's duel and ended deep into the night.
Wong's heroics didn't seem like they'd be possible early.
Canberra jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning and tacked on a third run in the fourth, taking advantage of an error by Wong.
Cavalry starting pitcher Brian Grening operated methodically with the lead, silencing Perth at the plate through his first five innings.
In the sixth, the Heat rose to the occasion behind three Kennelly brothers in the lineup. Catcher Matt drove in his brother Tim with an RBI single to get Perth onto the board.
Two batters later, the youngest Kennelly, Sam, was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in another tally.
Down to their final six outs, the Heat drew even in the eighth. Allan de San Miguel cashed in Brandon Tripp's leadoff double with an RBI single to level the score at 3-3 and send the game to extra innings.
For four extra digs, neither team's pitching staff would blink, working out of various tough spots in the process.
With Grening and Perth starter Jack Frawley long since departed, five combined relievers held the line at 3-3 until the 14th when the home team broke through.
Following a leadoff strikeout, Perth centre fielder Corey Adamson walked, and Wong made it count.
The Colorado Rockies import drove his walk-off hit to left field, and the fleet-footed Adamson streaked all the way around from first with the game-winning run. Cavalry closer Sean Toler took the defeat in his third inning of work.
Perth now stand one win away from their third Claxton Shield premiership in four ABL seasons. They'll attempt to recapture the crown in Saturday's game two.