We’re going to be talking about this game for a long time.
Jordan McArdle deservedly will get a lot of credit in Adelaide’s 5-4 come-from-behind victory – he did have a homer in the fourth and the game winning RBI double in the ninth.
But the win was so much more than that.
This was the first time Adelaide played an Australian Baseball League game in two years. And this team battled in a game that featured three lead changes in the final two innings alone. The fact that the local Adelaide boy was the hero? That’s awesome.
Here’s how the dramatic late innings unfolded…
It was a 2-1 Perth Heat entering the eighth and the teams were locked in a pitchers duel. To that point, the Perth Heat pitchers combined for 14 strike outs while Adelaide’s bullpen was nearly perfect.
Adelaide scored two runs in the eighth largely due to an RBI double off the bat of Phillies’ import Anthony Quirion. 3-2 Adelaide.
Perth responded immediately. Rays’ prospect Junior Caminero singled in a run to tie it at three and Jake Bowey, the next batter, used a sacrifice fly to score the seemingly winning run. 4-3 Perth.
Perth had Adelaide down to their final strike but had runners on first and second. Adelaide’s Jared Carr floated a ball to the outfield and Perth’s centerfielder couldn’t quite make a play. That tied the game at four.
Then McArdle went WHACK, driving in the go-ahead run to take the lead for the final time.
“My heart is still pumping,” McArdle said after teh game.
“I’m just super pumped, happy and excited to be back playing competitive baseball back home in Australia. It has been a long time coming for some of us Aussies and we are so excited to be back,” he said. “We have a great group with an amazing vibe straight from the start and I think it showed how much we care about each other already by picking each other up and fighting all the way to the end. I’m just so excited.”
It was a total team contribution. Nikau Pouaka-Grego was stellar in the field, making multiple excellent plays. Luis Aviles Jr made a big league throw across the diamond.
Nick Ward went 2-for-2 with 3 walks, two runs and two stolen bases. Anthony Quirion went 2-for-3 with a double, two walks, two stolen base and an RBI.
This team had power. This team had speed. They played defense. They had clutch hits. It was everything you wanted.
It even had great pitching. Heck, Miguel Cienfuegos retired the first eight batters he faced. Other than a blip at the end of the third where he gave up two runs off soft contact..he was pretty good!
Joe Johnson was perfect with four strikeouts in 2.1 innings of relief. Jason Lott pitched a scoreless seventh. Adam McKillican got the save.
It’s a great first win before the double header tomorrow.
And now…I’m going to bed.