Exciting Win In Weyburn
By John Short

Top-level relief pitching by Zac Herrington, Brendan Owens and David Wylie allowed the Edmonton Prospects to overcome an early deficit and defeat the Weyburn Beavers 8-6 in a Western Canadian Baseball League game in Weyburn before about 500 fans.

Herrington took over for starter Matt Erikson with none out and the bases loaded in what became a four-run Weyburn rally and a temporary 6-2 margin. The third-inning problem began with walks to Justin Summers and Jack Barrie and a single by Drake Pilat. After winning pitcher Herrington took over, he was touched for singles by Marcus Catalano and Dominic Sere before taking control. From that point, he was not seriously threatened. Owens and Wylie shared perfect 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth.

Edmonton’s first runs came in the third when Javier Ramirez scored on Travis Hunt’s infield hit and Brendan Luther came across on a two-out, bases-loaded walk by Weyburn’s starter, Sawyer Strickland.

The Prospects continued their habit of relying on the big scoring burst; this time it was a four-run splurge in the fourth inning, keyed by a Ramirez home run after Pierce Blohowiak’s lead-off walk. Then came a walk to Brendan Luther and a double by Edgar Harrell. Nolan Walker added another double to rescue both runners.

A single by Harrell and a double by Gehri created the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and the insurance tally was registered when pinch-runner Tanner Roundy strolled across as Harrell was hit by a pitch with two out.

The victory was potentially a big step for the Prospects, whose bats have been silent recently. They entered the game below .500 in standings while the Beavers had lost only three games and held a clear lead in the WCBL’s Saskatchewan area code.


Tight Game
By John Short

Losing pitcher Taran Oulton turned in an outstanding performance for the Edmonton Prospects Monday afternoon, battling grim weather conditions and the stubborn Lethbridge Bulls until only two outs remained before being saddled with a 3-2 defeat.

The Western Canadian Baseball League game was delayed for 30 minutes because of rain and soggy grounds and then was delayed for another 15 minutes in the top of the fourth when the day’s intermittent sprinkle suddenly – and briefly – forced the RE/MAX Field crew to use protective coverings that had been on the field for hours before the scheduled 1 a.m. start.

Oulton showed the effects of the delay almost immediately, giving up a single to lead-off hitter Robert Bostedt and an immediate homer to left for Grant Kerry.

Only in the third did the losing Prospects lefty give up another run, this on Kerry’s single and a double by Ashton Roy. In 8 1/3 innings, Oulton scattered eight hits and fanned 10. Scott Gillespie and Matt Erikson needed only five pitches to retire the final two Bulls batters.

Winning Lethbridge starter Ben Erwin gave up four hits in five innings. Jordan Griffin, the third reliever, got the save for stranding speedy Pierce Blohowiak after his sharp lead-off single in the ninth.

Edmonton’s runs came in the fourth when Jake MacDonald’s sacrifice fly scored Travis Hunt, and in the seventh against reliever Kai Poffenroth when Hunt’s ringing double drove home Brendan Luther.

Kerry was the unchallenged offensive star of the day with a homer, double and single. The Bulls left seven men on base. Luther, Hunt and Blohowiak were best at bat for Edmonton with two hits apiece. Blohowiak also stole two bases.

Another Long Game
By John Short

If nothing else, the Edmonton Prospects can be counted on for extremely long games – so far, anyway – in the Western Canadian Baseball League.

After a one-run extra-inning marathon loss that extended for nearly five hours last week, the Prospects went through more than four hours of wide-open scoring before they bowed 13-12 to the Medicine Hat Mavericks.

Medicine Hat’s first three batters – Collin Klingensmith, Nolan Rattai and Austin Sojka – were outstanding. They combined for 10 of the 15 Maverick hits and shared 10 runs along with four runs-batted-in, all by Sojka. Rattai scored the winning run in the eighth on a two-out wild pitch.

Newcomer Brendan Luther and Beaux Guilbeau were Edmonton’s offensive leaders. Guilbeau whacked a homer and a sacrifice fly for four RBIs; Luther drew four bases on balls and scored four runs.

Each team was guilty of misplays on defence. Jackson Bandow, the first reliever after Austin Cannedy started, was charged with three unearned runs in the fifth inning on a two-error by Nolan Walker.

Obviously, the stretch of long and high-scoring games has taken a toll on Prospects pitchers. Medicine Hat scored in six separate innings, including a total of 10 runs between the first and fifth. Edmonton’s biggest inning was the six-run fourth, enough to create a temporary 9-4 lead. Javier Ramirez and Luther led off with walks and Edgar Harrell’s base on balls later loaded the bases with two out. Jake Gehri and Walker plated the runners with singles before Guilbeau launched a three-run homer, his first of the season.

Medicine Hat closed the gap with three runs in the bottom of the inning and took the lead with three more in the fifth. From that point, runs and runners were common for both teams.


Decisive Victory
By John Short

Third baseman Edgar Harrell slammed a double and a home run in his second game as an Edmonton Prospect, driving home four runs to pace his new team to an 11-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Mavericks Friday night.

His biggest blow was a three-run shot in the sixth inning, but by by then the Prospects had already opened a four-run lead. Medicine Hat’s only scores came in the eighth on a three-run homer off starting and winning pitcher Hunter Boyd, who gave up only one walk and fanned six before stepping out for Haden Dow’s perfect ninth inning of relief.

The victory marked a big step away from the recent slump, mostly in road games, that dropped Edmonton below .500 in Western Canadian Baseball League standings. Tanner Roundy and Travis Hunt – the outfielder continues to keep his average over .400 – each drove in a pair of runs. Jake MacDonald scored three runs and versatile Beaux Guilbeau, still locked at less than .200 despite a handful of line drives that have failed to fall in, showed major signs of breaking out. Included was a timely triple as he collected three welcome hits.

A Javier Ramirez single, an error on Roundy’s infield grounder and Hunt’s sacrifice fly in the third inning provided the earliest scoring against Mavericks starter Evan Sutta. The Prospects added two more in the fourth – the  Guilbeau triple was a key – and wound up their scoring with two in the seventh.

Singles by Collin Klingensmith and Nolan Rattai put them on base for the long Rodriguez homer in the eighth that ended another solid start by Edmonton’s reliable Boyd.


A Long Night!
By John Short

A two-out, bases-loaded single by John Velasco in the 16th inning gave the Medicine Hat Mavericks a 4-3 marathon victory over the Edmonton Prospects in the longest game of the young season – approximately five hours – in the Western Canadian Baseball League.

Velasco slapped the ball into the outfield to score Nolan Rattai after Zac Harrington, Edmonton’s fifth pitcher, handed Colton Wright an intentional pass after an earlier walk to Rattai and a single by Sal Rodriguez.

 Scoring was rare but base runners were not. Edmonton’s pitchers and the five used by Medicine Hat survived two-out emergencies in virtually every inning after the regulation nine had been completed. Harrington, for example, left the sacks packed in the 13th, his first inning after taking over after an effective stint by David Wylie, touched for only one hit and one walk in four relief innings. Equal to Wylie – and perhaps superior in some ways – was Derek Eubanks, who also found key pitches when he needed them, going five innings without yielding a run.

The most dangerous stretch for him came in the 14th, when singles by incoming third baseman Brendan Luther and Travis Hunt, followed by an error on Eric Crain’s grounder, left the bases loaded with one out for the dangerous Jake Gehri, who entered the game hitting more than .300 and leads Edmonton in homers and runs-batted in. Gehri worked the count to 3-and-2, then ended the threat when Eubanks forced a ground ball that became a crippling double play.

Starters Owen Steele of Medicine Hat and Trever Berg of the Prospects were both effective. Brendan Owens was cracked for a two-run homer by Sal Rodriguez moments he took over for Jesse Poniewozik in the eighth inning. Walks by newcomer Edgar Harrell and pinch-hitter Beaux Guilbeau in the ninth inning became the third and tying Prospects run on a sacrifice fly by Pierce Blohowiak.

Individual batting averages for both teams took a beating. Gehri and Crain each went 1-for-8 for the Prospects. Lead-off man Freddy Walker had identical numbers for Medicine Hat. Luther made his Edmonton debut at second base and had three hits, one fewer than the four collected by Hunt. A handful of Mavericks had two hits apiece.

Edmonton batters were fanned 17 times. The Mavericks went down on strikes 12 times.