Things will get better . . . count on it.
By John Short
The defending-champion Medicine Hat Mavericks evened out the Prospects' Western Canadian Baseball League record at four wins and four losses by downing the Edmonton Prospects 3-1 Wednesday night at RE/MAX Field.
It was the second victory in as many nights for the Mavericks, who whacked Edmonton 14-3 on Tuesday, but the team’s improved effort gave Prospects head coach Jordan Blundell and the players some reason to be optimistic as they head toward Brooks for their next two games before returning to their home field Saturday and Sunday to meet the talented Okotoks Dawgs.
Edmonton’s clearest improvement showed on the mound, where starter Brayden Cust of Sherwood Park and two relievers allowed single runs only in the second, fifth and seventh innings. Cust was charged with both runs before being forced out in the fifth with an apparent blister on his throwing hand. Zac Harrington handled himself well until help was required for the final two outs.
First baseman Cameron Pope accounted for the first run with a long sacrifice fly to score Austin Sojka from third base. Impressive team speed was an element in all three Mavericks runs. Brandon Ponticelli of Kansas University went five innings for the win, while three relieves mopped up a comfortable four-hit performance.
Eric Crain’s soaring homer to left in the sixth inning spoiled what would have been a combined shutout for Ponticelli, Flynn Ridley, Hunter Cooper and closer John Rains. In the ninth, Travis Hunt stroked a long one-out double for the Prospects, but Rains saved two of his four strikeouts for the final two batters.
In their bid to get back on the winning path, Blundell has designated opening-day starter Taran Oulton to open Thursday in Brooks.