All the pieces came together for the Edmonton Prospects Tuesday night as they handled the Medicine Hat Mavericks 9-5 and moved, at least temporarily, into sole possession of fourth place and the final playoff spot in the Western Canadian Baseball League’s Alberta Conference.
Some 2,300 spectators sweltered in extreme heat as they watched the Prospects benefit from solid pitching – especially in relief – while pounding out 14 hits and scoring in every inning from the third through the eighth. Rain interfered briefly in the seventh inning but did not interfere with Edmonton’s momentum.
The win left Edmonton one game ahead of Fort McMurray, with the two teams scheduled to meet at RE/MAX Field in Edmonton Saturday and Sunday.
Entirely welcome was the decision of head coach Jordan Blundell to insert Beaux Guilbeau in left field and Greyson Barrett at first base as he continues to search for consistency throughout the roster. Guilbeau drove in the vital first run with a third-inning triple and contributed a key double in the fifth. Barrett, used sparingly all season, came up with three hits, including a pair of doubles. He also made as many as four outstanding defensive plays, three of them to prevent errors by his teammates and one on a running grab of a foul pop fly early in the game.
Once again, Pierce Blohowiak was a valuable Prospect on offence. His speed led to a bunt single and an infield single as well as a pair of stolen bases as he scored three runs. Of the starters, only centre fielder Tanner Roundy did not have a hit but he earned one run-batted-in on a successful squeeze bunt.
Starting pitcher Austin Cannedy held the Mavericks to one hit through four innings. He also hit three Medicine Hat batters with pitched balls. When Cannedy struggled in the fifth, Blundell went to lefty Matt Erickson for comfort. He walked Taylor Wright to load the bases – three runs had already scored – and fanned catcher Colton Wright and designated hitter Collin Klingensmith to quell the threat.
Brandon Owens and David Wylie pitched the final three innings with no trouble although Wylie made Sal Rodriguez the fourth victim of an inside pitch when he was hit high on the body with two out in the ninth.