By John Short
The Okotoks Dawgs extended their winning streak to three in a row and the Edmonton Prospects absorbed their fourth consecutive defeat in a fast-paced and well-played Western Canadian Baseball League game Friday night.
Both teams used the event as a prep for a rematch in Edmonton on Saturday, followed by the All-Star Game where former Canadian major leaguer Matt Stairs will be a prominent guest on Saturday.
Both teams managed all their scoring in the second inning. Edmonton’s promising start began when Neil Walker was hit by a pitch and Edgar Harrell singled sharply. Jake MacDonald’s safety scored Walker before Harrell became the team’s final run on a one-out RBI grounder by Pierce Blohowiak.
The Dawgs, tops in the WCBL’s Western Division, struck back immediately on singles by Will Hollis and Jacob Melton, doubles by Tristan Peters and Shay Shanaman, and a sacrifice fly by Isaiah Peterson.
Billy Brand gave up both Edmonton runs but qualified for the win on four innings of no-hit relief by Tanner Simpson and Dustin Schorle, who earned the safe. Trever Berg was pummelled for all Okotoks tallies but rallied to provide seven solid innings before Brandon Owens took over.
With the victory, Okotoks opened a commanding seven-game lead over the second-place Lethbridge Bulls. The Prospects, Fort McMurray Giants and Medicine Hat Mavericks are already in a serious race for the third and fourth playoff spots in the Western Division.