Close Call
By John Short

Pecking away for 15 hits, the Fort McMurray Giants built a large early lead against the Edmonton Prospects Sunday afternoon and held on for an 8-6 victory before a large and enthusiastic Father’s Day crowd at RE/MAX Field.

With the win, Fort McMurray atoned for a 6-2 defeat on Saturday night and set the stage for some interesting events when the two teams meet again Tuesday to start a 2-game series in the Fort.

Third baseman Eric Meyer and first-sacker Tanner Hess led the Giants offence, scoring one run each in the first inning against losing pitcher Taran Oulton and highlighting the five-run fifth with Meyer’s lead-off triple and a following double by Hess. After being tagged for eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, the Edmonton lefty made way for newcomer Brandon Owens, who gave up two singles, threw two misguided pick-off throws and added a wild pitch before the inning ended.

David Wylie and Jackson Bandow completed the afternoon on the hill for the Prospects.

Wylie, in the eighth, provided Edmonton’s only 1-2-3 inning.

Winning pitcher Nick Cardinal also spent much of the afternoon dealing with base runners, stranding nine in six innings. Only in the fourth did he face the minimum three hitters.

The first of two relief innings for Halen Knoll of Edmonton was terrific, but in the eighth a walk to Beaux Guilbeau and a single by Jake Gehri initiated a two-run inning. Gehri was a major factor again in the ninth.

At that point, with one out, he thundered a home run over the left field fence, scoring Pierce Blohowiak and Travis Hunt ahead of him. The three-run blast prompted head coach Ray Brown to go back to the bullpen for Tris Richardson, a Michigan product who also is listed on the roster as an outfielder.

The threat ended quickly as Richardson retired the next two batters in order.