Getting Better, Day by Day
By John Short
Hunter Boyd turned in his best pitching performance and outfielder Pierce Blohowiak paced a solid offence Saturday as the Edmonton Prospects ended the Okotoks Dawgs’ season-opening streak of seven consecutive Western Canadian Baseball League victories.
Posting an impressive 10-1 victory before about 2,500 fans on Kids Night, Boyd scattered five hits and fanned six in going the distance for the first time this season. The big right-hander walked only two and threw slightly more than 100 pitches. His bid for a shutout was ended when Jacob Melton tripled home Tristan Peters with two out in the ninth inning.
The nine-inning effort was more impressive because catcher Beau Guilbeaux was playing his first WCBL game of the year, shortly after concluding a drive of about 3,500 miles from the southern United States. Guilbeaux dressed only because Edmonton’s two primary catchers, Jake Gehri and Jake MacDonald were unavailable – Gehri after being hit in the head with a pitch in a recent game and MacDonald for some personal requirements.
All the runs Boyd would require came in the third and fourth innings. In the third, Blohowiak used his great speed to steal home with one out as losing pitcher Jared Spearing attempted to pick off a runner at first base. Tanner Roundy followed with a single to score Davis Pratt.
Blohowiak lashed a long double one inning later to drive in Pratt and Tyler Maskill. In all, the versatile leadoff man drove in two runs, scored once, stole two bases and drew two walks.
With Boyd in top form, the Dawgs left only four runners on base.
Four relief pitchers were used after Spearing completed five innings on the mound. Bryce Lipke was hammered for a long homer to left by shortstop Javier Ramirez in the eighth inning. Seemingly within moments, five bases on balls and a three-run triple by Katsu Takahashi padded the margin to 10-0, leaving Boyd only three putouts from what would have been an increasingly-rare nine-inning shutout.
The teams meet again today at 2pm on Military Appreciation Day where we celebrate our Army, Navy and Air Force with in-game demonstrations and challenges at RE/MAX Field.