A Loss in Regina
By John Short
The first visit to the Saskatchewan wing of the Western Canadian Baseball League was less than successful for the Edmonton Prospects.
It was equally difficult for Austin Cannedy, who absorbed a 5-2 defeat from the Regina Red Sox in his first 2019 appearance on the mound. He gave up four runs – two of them unearned – in a five-inning stint before being replaced by Zac Herrington.
The reliever struggled as soon as he took over in the sixth inning. Five hits, including doubles by Erik Crossman and Sam De La Cruz, put him on the hook for the final three runs. Wesley Moss was the Red Sox RBI leader with three.
Errors were a factor in two of the Regina tallies: Cannedy’s error led to the opening run and second baseman Katsu Takahashi’s bobble made way for Ryan Eastburn and Riki De Sa to score in the fifth.
The Prospects managed only five hits in an impressive start by Regina’s Branden Redfern. Pierce Blohowiak drove in one Edmonton run and Javier Ramirez used his speed to score the other.
The Prospects will continue their 3-game stand in Regina until they return to RE/MAX Field for games next weekend.
They stand off against the Red Sox again tonight and tomorrow night.
A Loss in Regina
Prospects Down The Dawgs Again!
By John Short
All the scoring was compressed into one inning on Sunday, but the four-run rally was enough for the Edmonton Prospects to down the Okotoks Dawgs 4-2 for Edmonton’s fourth consecutive victory and only the Dawgs’ second loss of the Western Canadian Baseball League season.
Seven excellent innings on the mound for Colorado product Matt Erikson and two in relief by Alberta’s Jesse Poniewozik held the potent Okotoks offence in check. It was the third top starting performance within the last week for the Prospects, who ended the Dawgs’ hot start with a 10-1 victory behind Hunter Boyd on Saturday.
The biggest blow of the decisive fifth inning was a two-run single by Tanner Roundy, who won a spectacular one-on-one duel with losing pitcher Graham Brunner – six consecutive fouls were featured – to drive home Davis Pratt and Javier Ramirez with none out. Brunner was relieved at that point by Tanner Simpson, who gave up a run-scoring single to Travis Hunt and a sacrifice fly to catcher Beau Guilbeau, playing only his second game of the season.
Erikson’s performance was highlighted by his control. In seven full innings, he threw barely 100 pitches, forcing routine ground balls and flyouts with apparent ease. Taran Oulton’s comfortable start last week marked the third top mound effort by a Prospect starter in the current streak.
Defensive plays were especially valuable for Erikson. Two first-inning errors, including his own errant pick-off attempt, allowed Liam Rihela to open scoring in the first inning. A brilliant catch by Roundy in deep centre averted further trouble. Jacob Melton gave the Dawgs a brief 2-0 edge in the fourth before shortstop Javier Ramirez ended the threat by starting a double play.
Brett Esau, victimized on the Roundy play, was also robbed on a hot grounder to Ramirez leading off the third inning. A double play involving Ramirez and second baseman Katsu Takahashi in the ninth helped Poniewozik earn the save in relief.
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.
Beauty in Brooks
By John Short
It took a little longer than expected Friday but the Edmonton Prospects extended their domination of the Brooks Bombers with an extra-inning 9-7 victory.
Each team collected 14 hits in the free-swinging contest . Ultimately, losing pitcher Sean Rydell’s control issues settled the decision for Edmonton. He gave up four hits and three walks in a three-inning relief stint that ended when a double by Clay Loranger, walks to Nolan Walker and Pierce Blohowiak and a pitch that hit Javier Ramirez provided the winning runs.
Tanner Roundy, who spends much of his time in the Prospects outfield, turned in one solid inning of relief for the victory. Jackson Bandow started for Edmonton and fanned eight Bombers while walking four in five innings. Until Roundy reached the mound in the bottom of the 10th inning, when he walked one, the Bombers kept putting runners on base.
Brendan Kates solved Edmonton’s four pitchers for four hits in six at-bats. Josh McIntyre and Dax Wandler added to the offensive pressure with three runs-batted-in apiece, and were the Brooks leaders at the plate.
With four hits, Tyler Maskill continued his hot hitting for the Prospects, who returned home to face the Okotoks Dawgs Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in back-to-back home games at RE/MAX Field.
Ten Edmonton players collected at least one hit, including homers by Travis Hunt and Jake MacDonald.
Victory in Brooks
By John Short
Six members of the Edmonton Prospects put their brief hitting slumps behind them Thursday in a 14-3 Western Canadian Baseball League season victory over the Brooks Bombers.
In their last three game, all losses, the Prospects had difficulty putting wood on the ball, but things changed in a four-run second inning highlighted by a long two-run homer off the bat of catcher Jake Gehri. The blast started the Prospects toward a 16-hit display that provided four runs in the second inning and five in the ninth, long after the issue had been settled and Bombers relief pitchers had a difficult time mopping up.
Gehri, a catcher from Yale University, has put his power on display several times in this young season. He was joined by Clay Loranger, Eric Crain, Travis Hunt, Nolan Walker and Tyler Maskill in the night’s two-hit club. Walker displayed his power with a homer and a triple on the way to a game-high four runs batted in.
Thanks at least partly to this offensive display, pitcher Taran Oulton became the first Prospects pitcher to go the distance this season. He scattered 13 hits but fanned 11 and made key pitches when necessary.
Oulton’s only major difficulties came from Josh McIntyre and Carter Troncin, who found him for three hits apiece and shared two first-inning runs before the young starter settled himself down. Oulton earned the opening-day victory against Brooks and again shows signs of being a staff leader all season.