Big Eighth Inning Slays Giants, Prospects Win 12-4

By Len Nunes

 

A beautiful Friday night at RE/MAX Field started with a fitting farewell. The best way to say goodbye to your outgoing pitcher is to honour him with the ceremonial first pitch. Erik Sabrowski, drafted by the San Diego Padres, leaves for his new adventure on Sunday. His now former teammates helped make the sendoff perfect by winning the game 12-4. The game kept the 1,925 fans in attendance at the edge of their seats until a 6-run eighth inning erased all doubt.

The Prospects opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning as we saw the humble beginnings of what became a big night for the top of the order. Percy Liu, Daylen Calicdan and Matt Coutney combined to go 8-12 with 7 runs scored, 7 RBI, and 2 walks. Liu lead off the game with a single to be driven home by Calicdan. Coutney would also single in the opening frame but would be stranded.

On the mound for the Prospects, making his second start of the season, Connor Burns. Burns pitched into the 7th inning and would testify that getting the lead-off batter out is important. The Giants managed to get their lead-off hitter aboard in the 2nd, 3rd and 7th inning and all three times they would come around to score. A 4th run would be charged against Burns as one of the inherited runners by Prospects reliever Marion McLean scored on a sacrifice fly. Burns would finish the night collecting six strikeouts. McLean would be forced to leave the game in the top of the 8th inning. The Giants lead-off batter Brandon Green drove the ball back up the middle and off the leg of McLean. McLean would walk off of the field without needing the aid of his teammates.

With the Giants leading 2-1 entering the bottom of the 3rd, the Prospects tied the game up. Anthony Cusati, the only Prospect to not register a hit, collected his 6th RBI of the young season grounding out to second base scoring Calicdan.

The Prospects would take the lead in the fourth inning as Tony Olson got the ball rolling with a lead-off single. Olson stole second base. With Zane Takhar now on the base-paths with him, manager Ray Brown called for and got the successful double steal. A wild pitch that got away from Giants catcher Joshua Iannetti was Olson's ticket to come home and make it 3-2 Prospects.

Coming out of the 7th inning stretch, the Prospects were down 4-3. The situation was rectified immediately as AJ Nitzschke started the inning off with a single and Liu drove him with a triple. Calicdan plated run number five and ending the evening for Giants starting pitcher Tyler Hodder. A RBI single by Nick Spillman would complete the hat-trick of runs in the frame giving the Prospects a 6-4 lead.

If the Prospects scored a hat-trick (hockey term) in the 7th, then they scored a sock-trick (lacrosse term) in the 8th as 6 runs would come around to score. The Prospects loaded the bases with zero outs. Liu, with his third hit of the game, collected his 2nd RBI of the night making it 7-4 Prospects. Calicdan, with his second hit of the game, collected his 3rd and 4th RBI of the night making it 9-4 Prospects. Coutney's third hit of the evening resulted in his first RBI making it 10-4 for the home team. A sacrifice fly by Spillman ended the evening for Giants reliever Allan Brown. A bases-loaded walk to Michael Gahan rounded out the scoring for the Prospects. Speaking of Gahan...

Gahan took over on the mound for the injured McLean in the 8th inning and retired all six batters he faced. Gahan will be credited with a save because when he came into the game the Prospects only had a 2-run lead.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Four names all deserve to be mentioned. A part of the success for the Prospects top of the order was AJ Nitzschke being able prolong innings for Percy Liu, Daylen Calicdon and Matt Coutney to be their productive selves. We will give the nod to Calicdon and his 4 RBI.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE 

SATURDAY, JUNE 9 AT 5:00 PM: John Short takes over the "Smoke and Pickle Meat-ing Place" (former Home Plate Lounge). He’s talking baseball, the ballpark and Ron Hayter. Come on down early and catch the discussion. First pitch tonight is at 7PM.

Team then goes on the road for a three games starting in Okotoks Sunday afternoon.

 

Prospects Win 7-6!

By Len Nunes

Good things come to those who wait. Edmonton Prospects fans had to endure 13 scoreless innings in Fort McMurray before their team hit the scoreboard.  The Prospects batted around in the 5th inning scoring five runs to give themselves a comfortable 4-run lead. The Giants valiantly fought back making the game anything but comfortable as the Prospects held on to win 7-6. With the series shifting to Edmonton for games on Friday and Saturday, the Prospects will look to win two games in a row for the first time this season.

Making his first start of the season with only a shaky relief appearance under his belt, Dylan Emmons was your Prospects starting pitcher . Emmons retired his first five batters faced. Tristian Richardson broke up the no-hit bid and was thrown out attempting to steal by Prospects catcher Anthony Cusati. Adam North was at-bat when Richardson was thrown out to end the second inning and led off the 3rd inning with a solo home run.

The Giants held the 1-0 lead until the 5th inning when the Prospects offence awoke from its slumber. AJ Nitzschke collected his first hit of the season driving home Tony Olson. With the bases loaded, Matt Coutney hit a 2-RBI double bringing home Percy (Yi-Jia) Liu and Nitzschke. Percy Liu entered the game leading the club in Runs (4), Hits (6), Walks (4) and Stolen Bases (2). Nick Spillman, and his inflated early season batting average of .556, hit a bloop single to drive in two more runs making the score 5-1 Prospects.

In the bottom of the 5th, the Giants would score another run against Prospect starter Emmons. John Loschiavo hit a RBI single to bring home Adam North but Losciavo got greedy. Attempting to stretch a single into a double, Cusati collected his third thrown out batter of the evening gunning him down at second base.

Emmons would pitch into the 6th inning leaving with 1-out and 2-on and a 5-2 lead. Scott Gillespie entered the game and the first batter he faced hit a single to centerfielder Jake Lanferman. One beautiful throw later and the lead runner Richardson was tagged out at home.

In the top of the 7th, Ryan Dunn entered the game for the Giants and immediately ran into trouble. Cusati got his 5th RBI of the season singling home Daylen Calicdan. Spillman collected his 3rd RBI of the evening with a sacrifice fly scoring Coutney making it 7-2 Prospects.

In the bottom of the 7th, Prospects reliever Gillespie gave up a leadoff single which would come around to score on a Liam Rihela double. Lanferman would unfortunately leave the game in the seventh inning after injuring his leg attempting to reel in a fly ball. On that play two more runs would score for the Giants making the score 7-5. Rich Walker came in to relieve Gillespie on the mound and was able to close out the inning without any more damage being done.

Walker would come back out for the 8th inning and issue a lead-off single to former Prospect Jordan Stickler. Stickler would come around to score and all of sudden we had ourselves a one-run game heading into the 9th at 7-6.  Head Coach Ray Brown had enough faith in Walker to keep him in there for the final frame. Three quick outs later and the Prospects come back home on Friday with a 3-2 record!

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Throwing out three baserunners put catcher Anthony Cusati in contention for the Player of the Game nomination. His 7th inning RBI single sealed the deal.

Friday June 8 – BLUE JAYS DAY – Wear your Toronto Blue Jays gear and bid on in-game autographed Blue Jays memorabilia. The Fort McMurray Giants provide the competition, 7PM start.

Saturday June 9 – CROWN JEWEL NIGHT – pre-game community open house at RE/MAX Field. 7:05 first pitch versus the Fort McMurray Giants.

Erik Sabrowski Drafted By The San Diego Padres

by Len Nunes

The Edmonton Prospects are proud to announce that Erik Sabrowski has been drafted by the San Diego Padres!

Last season, Sabrowski was named a first-team WMBL All-Star as a DH batting .339 with 3 homers and 20 RBI in 124 at-bats. Sabrowski also was named a second-team WMBL All-Star as a starting pitcher with 3-2 regular season record amassing 50 strikeouts in 36 innings. In last season's playoffs he added another 15 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings collecting a 2-1 record and a shutout.

In a pre-season article on albertadugoutstories.com, Prospects' Assistant General Manager Jordan Blundell was quoted as saying "“He’s (Sabrowski) a middle of the order bat and a team leader”. After spending two summers with the Prospects, we all wish Erik the absolute best in the future.

The official clip from the San Diego Tribune reads: 

"LHP Erik Sabrowski, Cloud City CC (Kan.) The 6-foot-4 pitcher hails from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He went 7-2 with a 117 strikeouts, 26 walks and a 3.14 ERA in 66 innings this year for the T-Birds."

The tweet from Cloud Athletics reads:

"Congratulations to Erik Sabrowski for being drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 14th round! Sabrowski was the KJCCC West Pitcher of the Year and had the third highest K/9 (15.95) of any NJCAA Division I pitcher this season"

An excerpt from the cloudtbirds.com article on Sabrowski's big day: 

'"I had the draft up on my computer and was kind of loosely following along," Sabrowski said. "I was making breakfast when my girlfriend yelled out 'You just got picked!'" A few seconds later, Sabrowski was on the phone with Steve Moritz, a Kansas area scout for the Padres who had looked on as Cloud County's left-hander mowed over Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) hitters this past spring....He and the Padres will now enter contract negotiations. If the two parties agree on a contract and signing bonus, Sabrowski will begin his journey through the San Diego farm system." 

The Prospects would also like to send out a huge congratulations to Kody Funderburk. The former Prospect/former Okotoks Dawg was selected by the Minnesota Twins.

 

Former Ballpark Mates Battle, Giants Take This Edition
By Len Nunes

The Edmonton Prospects have their "sticks out for Humboldt" in 2018 but two short years ago, the Prospects took supporting another franchise to a new level.  The Fort McMurray Giants were forced out of their home even before they threw their first pitch due to wildfires in their hometown. Prospects Managing Partner Patrick Cassidy invited them to play in the Crown Jewel of Edmonton's downtown core now known as RE/MAX Field until they could return to Fort Mac. Last night, Nick Spillman, one of five Prospects on that team, went 2-for-3 with a walk at the plate but it was not enough as the Giants won 4-0.

Giants pitcher Nik Cardinal danced in and out of trouble throughout the contest only pitching one 1-2-3 inning stranding 8 Prospects through his 7 innings. Never mind dancing, Cardinal turned full-on magician in the second inning escaping a 1-out bases loaded jam. Facing the red-hot Anthony Cusati, who got the start tonight at DH instead of catcher, the Giants pitcher was able to field a feeble roller back partway to the mound and throw out the lead runner (Percy Liu) at home. A swinging strikeout for Matt Coutney ended the threat.

Prospects starting pitcher Michael Gahan may have given up three runs and be the pitcher charged with the loss but there were times he was downright dominant on the mound! The native Australian was making his first start of the season with 2 1/3 scoreless relief innings already under his belt. The first runner Gahan allowed on was a 2-out walk in the first inning that he promptly picked off. A hit-batter in the second would come around to score and break up the shutout bid early. The next 9 Giants would be retired in order before Gahan ran into some trouble in the 5th inning.

With 2-on, John Loschiavo would hit a bloop single in front of the diving Percy Liu (only his speed made the play close) to make it 2-0 for the Giants. With runners on first and third and Chris Panzarella at bat, the Giants pulled off a double steal! The throw by Prospects catcher Chris Procopio tailed into the runner at second allowing Mike Bowes to steal home. Gahan would retire the last seven batters he faced leaving the game after seven innings down 3-0.

Jordan Smith come in to pitch the 8th inning for the Prospects allowing the first three Giants he faced to reach base giving up a run. Smith buckled down and got the three outs which included a rundown between first and second and an amazing defensive play by second baseman Aidan Huggins.

The Prospects offence could not find their groove against Giants reliever Nate McKenrick either. In McKenrick's two innings of work only one runner, Procopio via the hit-by-pitch, reached base. This is the first time the Prospects have been shutout on the road since June 29, 2016.

PLAYER OF THE GAME
Michael Gahan deserves this honour tonight. The line of 7IP 3R 3H 1W 5K may not pop off the screen but pitching 4 1-2-3 innings is impressive in a generally swing first league.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE:
Wednesday June 6 in Fort McMurray 7:35PM

Friday June 8 – BLUE JAYS DAY – Wear your Toronto Blue Jays gear and bid on in-game autographed Blue Jays memorabilia. The Fort McMurray Giants provide the competition, 7PM start.

Saturday June 9 – CROWN JEWEL NIGHT – Pre-game Community Open House, 7PM first pitch versus the Fort McMurray Giants.

Who Is The Mysterious One They Call “The Bolt”?

By Len Nunes

The Edmonton Prospects call him, well I believe it's a him (maybe not?), "The Bolt". No, we are not talking about a new baseball player added to the team's roster, we are talking about a mysterious figure that appears in the middle of the 5th inning to amaze fans.

Aptly dubbed "The Bolt", the spandex covered entity has above average foot speed and endurance. You will not find anyone like "The Bolt" anywhere else in the WMBL!

Always looking for a challenge, "The Bolt" allows the Prospects to put him/her in a foot race against any confident fan in attendance. It is not just a simple foot race though.  As per "The Bolt's" orders, the chosen fan is allowed a healthy head start in the race. The race starts in the deepest part of left field and follows along the warning track all the way over to the right field foul line. Whether you are cheering for the mysterious figure or for the fan, you will watch in awe as "The Bolt" quickly closes the gap in the race.

The question is who is "The Bolt"? Is the entity a former baseball player? Is the entity a track star in training for the Olympics? Is it against league rules to have a pinch runner that has their face covered in a mask?

Those answers may never come to be known but we can reveal that the masked racer is human. That makes the masked racer susceptible to the rare defeat.  If the challenger defeats “The Bolt", the winning fan wins a prize!

So you’re thinking to yourself, how do I sign up to challenge this Phenom? Stop by the Customer Service booth (next to the Merchandise Store on the concourse level) and leave your information (name, seat location, phone number) with the attendant. If you are selected, you will be contacted prior to the fourth inning to prepare for your race in the middle of the 5th inning.

Good luck and “Boltspeed”!