That Was Bull...Close But No Cigar
By Len Nunes
The seventh inning stretch is a tradition unique to baseball. It's a moment where fans are encouraged to stand up and stretch. At RE/MAX Field fans are asked to sing along to "Take Me Out To The Ball Game". On a rain-soaked Friday that delayed the first pitch by forty minutes, the seventh inning stretch acted as a spark for the home team. The Edmonton Prospects rallied for 7 runs in the bottom of the seventh to take their first lead of the night. The game headed to extra innings where the Prospects were asked to rally one more time but fell short. The Lethbridge Bulls escaped with a 10-9 win.
Prospects fans all knew starting pitcher Taran Oulton was not going to keep his perfect 0.00 ERA that he protected through his first three appearances. Oulton will not use the rain delay as an excuse (but we will) when it comes to the Bulls being able to put up three runs in the top of the first inning. Cruising through the next three innings, Oulton only allowed one hit and had one Bulls player reach on an error. The top of the 5th started with the only two walks he issued throughout the game but he managed to wiggle himself out of trouble only allowing one run. He exited having allowed four runs on six hits in five innings. His new ERA of 1.65 sits 6th best in the WMBL among starters.
Bulls starter Jaden Griffin struggled with control throughout his six innings of work but was only penalized once. Percy Liu drew of one of the six Griffin walks in the bottom of the third inning. Liu was able to advance two bases on a wild pitch then score on a passed ball. Twice the Bulls defence came up with doubleplays to help their starter escape jams. One an around-the-horn doubleplay, the other a fly out that was not hit far enough for AJ Nitzschke to beat the throw home. We headed into the 7th inning stretch with the Prospects down 5-1 and a change on the Bulls mound.
Kai Poffenroth came into pitch for the Bulls and plunked the first batter he saw in Nitzschke, and then allowed a single to Percy Liu. Daylen Calicdan would bring in Nitzschke and Anthony Cusati would bring home Liu and we had ourselves a 5-3 ballgame. A Tony Olson double made it 5-4 and ended the night for Bulls reliever Poffenroth. The pitching changes did not slow down the Prospects attack. Matt Coutney had a RBI single to tie the game off of Austin Tambellini . Zane Takhar had a RBI double off of Derrick Talon to put the Prospects ahead 6-5. Nitzschke, up for the second time in the inning, made it 7-5 and Liu rounded out the scoring in the bottom of the 7th with a sacrifice fly giving the Prospects an 8-5 lead.
Marion McLean took over on the Prospects mound in the top of the 6th. He allowed the Bulls fifth run of the game but had a 1-2-3 top of the seventh to earn himself the right to protect the newfound lead in the eighth. A lead-off single and a 2-out walk later, Michael Gahan took over on the bump. A walk to the first batter he faced loaded the bases. Hank Forrest hit a triple to right field to clear the bases and tie the game at 8.
Gahan would pitch a 1-2-3 9th inning giving the Prospects their first chance at the walk-off in the bottom of the 9th. A 1-out triple by Liu would be stranded after the Bulls put in their sixth pitcher of the evening.
Prospects Manager Ray Brown gave Brandon Hill the ball in the top of the 10th. Hill struggled his first two appearances and unfortunately the boost of confidence from his manager was not enough. Two walks and a single later, Jordan Smith came into the highest of high pressure situations. Smith struck out the first two batters he faced but Brett Mercier hit a ball into play that scored two runs making it 10-8 Bulls.
Cusati and Olson both drew walks to start the bottom of the 10th. Cusati would score on an error making it 10-9 but that is where the good news ends. With the clock reading 11:42PM, the remaining RE/MAX Field faithful went home consoling themselves with the fact the Prospects get to try again Saturday night against these same Lethbridge Bulls to snap this now 4-game losing streak.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Percy Liu takes the honour tonight. His second triple of the season ties him for the league lead. The two runs he scored tonight gives him 13 on the season and ties him for second in the league. His walk also puts him in a logjam tie for third in the league.
SATURDAY PRIDE: Door Prizes, Drag Queens, Some Pride Fun and a Whole Lot of Other Fun Stuff Too! First Pitch 7pm. Gates open at 6pm.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON FATHER'S DAY: Gates open at 1pm, First Pitch at 2pm. After the game kids can run the bases and meet the players and coaches. Kids and Dads can play catch in the field too!
MONDAY KID'S FUN DAY: Pre-game Kid's Festival and Kid's Ticket Specials. First Pitch 7pm. Gates open at 6pm.