Canada Day Win!
By John Short

Presenting their own brand of fireworks for a crowd of 5,000 at RE/MAX Field on Canada Day, the Edmonton Prospects evened their Western Division record at 14-14 by downing the Moose Jaw Miller Express 12-2 in a Western Canadian Baseball League clash that stayed close until an offensive explosion that netted eight runs in the last two innings.

Once again, head coach Jordan Blundell’s youthful team used the “big inning” to their advantage.

Trailing 1-0 after starter and winner Hunter Boyd was tagged with a second-inning RBI single by Tucker Zdunich, Edmonton took control by stringing together four hits – two of the infield variety – and a Jake Gehri sacrifice fly for three runs in the fourth.

An error – one of several by each team on a chilly night when conditions were exceedingly damp – led to Moose Jaw’s final run in an inning marked by a spectacular two-out catch by centre fielder Tanner Roundy.

Boyd completed seven effective innings by scattering seven hits and fanning 10. Scott Gillespie and Jesse Poniewozik mopped up with no trouble.Third baseman Geordie McDougall and catcher Cole Warken combed him for three hits apiece.

Losing pitcher Blake Gallagher was almost as effective. Only three of the four runs he conceded in six innings were earned.

Hurlers Nathan Slobodian and Ethan Soroka were much less fortunate.

Javier Baez and Nathan Walker had three hits each for the winners, who face the Miller Express in a rematch tonight. Gehri, a promising freshman with the Yale Eli, punched two hits and added three assists to his WCBL total this year.


2 Wins In 3 Games
By John Short

One night after being handled 12-0 in a no-hitter, the Edmonton Prospects rebounded Friday with a hard-fought 6-5 victory over the Weyburn Beavers.

The win marked a healthy end to a difficult road trip through the Saskatchewan precincts of the Western Canadian Baseball League and set up Edmonton for a home-stand that features the Moose Jaw Miller Express in a Canada Day meeting Monday night, followed by the City of Edmonton's now-traditional fireworks display.

Winning pitcher Trever Berg was excellent for Edmonton, surrendering only two hits through seven innings and allowing his mates to construct a 6-0 margin that David Wylie’s relief effort helped stand up for the win.

A solo home run by Drake Pilat in the seventh inning ended Berg’s shutout attempt, before Jack Barrie’s three-run homer highlighted a four-run eighth for Weyburn against Brendan Owens – but Edmonton’s run-scoring had already been done.

The big burst – part of the Prospects’ season-long record – came in the third inning. Pesky outfielder Pierce Blohowiak started things with a base on balls. Javier Ramirez and Edgar Harrell added singles around another walk by losing pitcher Liam Rosebeck, who was touched for two runs-batted-in by Harrell in the game.

Hot-hitting Travis Hunt provided his vital three-run blast to cap the highlight inning. He also scored what proved to be the winning run in the fifth, roaring home from first base on a double by Jake Gehri, who kept his batting average above .300 by collecting three of Edmonton’s eight hits.


Unfortunate Blowout
By John Short

Behind the almost-perfect no-hit pitching of Christian Vick, the Weyburn Beavers showed most of the reasons they are first in the Saskatchewan wing of the Western Canadian Baseball League Friday night, hammering the Edmonton Prospects 12-0.

The result was a far cry from Thursday’s match, when the Prospects got excellent relief pitching and two late runs to stop Weyburn 8-6.

This time, the Beavers showed no mercy to starter Andrew Lowe and relievers Jackson Bandow and Tanner Roundy, who all were pounded. Lowe was the losing pitcher.

Cory Wills, Jack Barrie and James McCallum all homered for hometown Weyburn which struck for five runs in the second inning and never looked back.

In his route-going performance, Vick, a 195-pound righthander from Southeast Missouri State, fanned 14 Prospects hitters and did not walk anyone. Two fielding errors by his Weyburn mates forced him to face only two batters beyond the nine-inning minimum of 27.

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.