Race in WCBL Still Skin-Tight
By John Short
A brilliant relief outing by seldom-used left-hander Haden Dow provided the momentum Thursday night as the Edmonton Prospects, battling to stay alive in the Western Canadian Baseball League’s Western Division playoff race, downed the Yorkton Cardinals 12-6 before about 1,800 fans at RE/MAX Field.
Dow rescued starter Andrew Lowe after Yorkton struck for three runs in the third inning. Yorkton’s damage was done on safeties by Payton Harris, Tanner Huber and Phil Whelan and a fielder’s choice. Dow retired Mike Culpepper on a long fly to end the rally, then retired 10 consecutive Cardinal hitters. His personal highlight was consecutive fifth-inning strikeouts of Huber, Clayton Keyes and Matt Korman.
Finally, after Logan MacDougall was retired leading off in the seventh, hits by Hut Smith, Harris and Huber created another three-run Yorkton outburst as Dow’s weariness grew evident. It then became Zac Harrington’s turn to step in and the aggressive, hard-throwing right-hander quickly limited the damage.
Costly Prospects errors were committed by outfielder Tanner Roundy and second-baseman Zach Thomas, but both compensated for defensive flaws with major contributions offensively.
Thomas scored four runs and personally collected three doubles – half of the six collected by Edmonton in a 17-hit attack that also featured Travis Hunt’s three-run homer to left in the sixth inning. Roundy scored after a single and a stolen base in the third inning, then delivered a sacrifice bunt during a two-run outburst in the seventh.
Returning to the red-hot hitting pace he showed earlier in the season, Hunt also scored after a double in the first inning and drove in a run with a single in the fourth.
The Prospects victory was essential. They now sit one-half game behind the Fort McMurray Giants and have one game in hand on their rivals. The Medicine Hat Mavericks aided Edmonton by thumping Fort McMurray 10-0. The Giants created their slight edge by downing Edmonton three times in four games during the last week.