Things will get better . . . count on it.
By John Short
 
The defending-champion Medicine Hat Mavericks evened out the Prospects' Western Canadian Baseball League record at four wins and four losses by downing the Edmonton Prospects 3-1 Wednesday night at RE/MAX Field.
It was the second victory in as many nights for the Mavericks, who whacked Edmonton 14-3 on Tuesday, but the team’s improved effort gave Prospects head coach Jordan Blundell and the players some reason to be optimistic as they head toward Brooks for their next two games before returning to their home field Saturday and Sunday to meet the talented Okotoks Dawgs.
Edmonton’s clearest improvement showed on the mound, where starter Brayden Cust of Sherwood Park and two relievers allowed single runs only in the second, fifth and seventh innings. Cust was charged with both runs before being forced out in the fifth with an apparent blister on his throwing hand. Zac Harrington handled himself well until help was required for the final two outs.
First baseman Cameron Pope accounted for the first run with a long sacrifice fly to score Austin Sojka from third base. Impressive team speed was an element in all three Mavericks runs. Brandon Ponticelli of Kansas University went five innings for the win, while three relieves mopped up a comfortable four-hit performance.
Eric Crain’s soaring homer to left in the sixth inning spoiled what would have been a combined shutout for Ponticelli, Flynn Ridley, Hunter Cooper and closer John Rains. In the ninth, Travis Hunt stroked a long one-out double for the Prospects, but Rains saved two of his four strikeouts for the final two batters.
In their bid to get back on the winning path, Blundell has designated opening-day starter Taran Oulton to open Thursday in Brooks.
 
 

Game Re-cap
By John Short
The Edmonton Prospects escaped the first inning against the Medicine Hat Mavericks without surrendering a run Tuesday night.
It was not an omen of things to come.
The Mavericks, playing to the level of last year’s Western Canadian Baseball League champs, collected 20 hits, accepted free passes without apology – five in the six-run third inning, for example – and wound up with a 13-3 triumph, climbing beyond the .500 mark in standings for the first time this season. With the defeat, Edmonton’s record fell to four wins and three losses. The rivals play again tonight (Wednesday) at RE/MAX Field.
Not one of five pitchers used by Prospects head coach Jordan Blundell managed to evade giving up at least one run. Starter Austin Herrington threw a whopping 81 pitches before being removed in the painful third inning. Up first in relief, Matt Erickson had control troubles of his own, but struck out five during a three-inning relief stint.
Edmonton’s pitching woes were made more evident because Medicine Hat starter Junior Pimental turned in an excellent performance, striking out nine and walking only a pair in six innings. One Prospects run followed a walk and hit batsman in the seventh and shortstop Javier Ramirez accounted for two RBIs with a ringing double in the eighth.
Every Maverick batter reached base at least once. Shortstop Collin Kingensmith collected five hits, while first baseman Sal Rodriguez went 1-for-1 – receiving bases on balls five times in the game, which lasted nearly four hours.

A Drop From The Dawgs
John Short – June 3, 2019

A pitcher-catcher battery from tiny Oyen, Alta., provided more than enough energy for the Okotoks Dawgs to hand the Edmonton Prospects a 7-3 defeat in a Western Canadian Baseball League game rescheduled Monday after dangerous air conditions prompted a postponement last week.

Three Okotoks runs in an error-tainted second inning and three more in the fifth left the Prospects unable to overcome the deficit. A two-run double by catcher Jake Gehri and a run-scoring single by Eric Crain in the sixth restored the only real offensive power for Edmonton..

Two early infield bobbles caused many of the problems for Edmonton starter Jackson Bandow. One of four Yale University players on the roster, he was overshadowed by righthander Brandon Logan, who yielded only four hits in five innings and got the benefit of several top fielding plays.

The offensive part of the battery – catcher Gavin Logan – had three singles and a double to become a big part of each three-run Okotoks outburst. Third baseman Esau Brett scored two Dawg runs, one of them after Maritime lefthander Hayden Dow made his first relief appearance for the Prospects.

Edmonton’s best pitching was provided by Alberta product Jesse Poniewozik, who stranded four runners in the last three innings.

This was the Prospects’ second defeat of the young season – both against unbeaten Okotoks. The foes meet again at RE/MAX Field Saturday and Sunday but first, Edmonton is scheduled at home Tuesday and Wednesday against the Medicine Hat Mavericks.

Sunday Game Re-cap
By John Short

The Edmonton Prospects made it hard for themselves in the late going at RE/Max Field on Sunday but came away with a 6-5 victory over the Brooks Bombers – Edmonton’s fourth win in five starts at the opening edge of the Western Canadian Baseball League season.

A ninth-inning double by St. Albert product Davis Pratt scored infielder Javier Ramirez with the winning run. A walk by losing pitcher Sean Rydell put Ramirez on first base, in perfect position to score when the Davis line-drive to left-centre took a weird hop and rolled past two Brooks outfielders.

Rydell took over for Nick Garcia, who surrendered a couple of unearned runs before being replaced. The Bombers pecked away at Edmonton right-hander Hunter Boyd, who yielded only one run in six innings and and seemed in line for the victory before the Bombers finally got their bats fired up in seventh.

Reliever Scott Gillespie was racked for a run-scoring triple and a double that left the score tied at 5-5. A bad hop on a hit to the outfield also harmed Gillespie’s statistics.

Zac Herrington provided timely relief help to come away with his first win of the season..

Pratt boosted his early-season batting average to .375 and will bid to improve on it when the Prospects face the Okotoks Dawgs tonight (Monday) at RE/MAX Field in a make-up of the game that was postponed on Thursday due to the serious air quality conditions.

Air Clears And A Baseball Game Appears!
By John Short

Obviously, a one-day respite due to Edmonton’s unhealthy air conditions did no harm to the Edmonton Prospects.

A good deal of the offensive power and pitching stability was provided by Nevada product Tanner Roundy, who normally plays in the outfield but on this occasion started on the mound and contributed a key first-inning hit on the way to Edmonton’s 14-3 victory over the Brooks Bombers.

Roundy yielded two runs, including a homer, in the top of the first inning but he and his mates struck back with four in their half of the first. A pair of two-run innings followed, erasing all but vestiges of a potential Brooks comeback. Catcher Jake Gehri – one of four Yale Eli players on this young Prospects squad, hammered two home runs to help expand the margin.

This win followed a pair of weekend triumphs over the Lethbridge Bulls and a loss in Okotoks on Friday night leaving Edmonton with a 3-1 record in the novice Western Canadian Baseball League season.

Brooks will seek revenge in a "Bark at the Park" event Sunday afternoon.

Second baseman Clay Loranger, an Edmonton-area prospect who played this season at Cloud College, hobbled after the game with an apparent leg injury. After collecting a pair of hits, he was hit at the plate by a low pitch and had to come out of the game. Questionable control by Bombers pitchers resulted in four hit batsmen in Edmonton uniforms.

For obvious reasons, Edmonton field manager Jordan Blundell continued to express confidence in his young team. “We’re still getting to know the players a bit,” he said, “but the attitude has been extremely good. Everybody has worked hard.

“It’s always too bad when a game like Friday had to be cancelled, but it won’t make any difference in how we play. The season has started for the whole league. We’re fine so far. “

The Prospects did not immediately announce Saturday’s attendance but a late-arriving crowd – largely due to questions about whether the game could be played in the smoky conditions – grew to an estimated 1,800.

Editor's Note:  The game on Thursday (May 30) was postponed due to Air Quality issues and will be played Monday, June 3 at RE/MAX Field.  First Pitch 7:05pm.