By Tyler Lowey:
The Okotoks Dawgs piled on the Edmonton Prospects with six runs in the bottom of the eighth to cruise to a comfortable 12-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Seaman Stadium.
Not fazed by the 20-minute weather delay was Dawgs starter Cody Ebert (Columbia College). Ebert followed up his brilliant 10-strikeout performance in the home opener with a solid seven-inning outing. He allowed one earned run and struck out five, as he picked up his first win of the season in front of 1,674 Western Major Baseball League fans.
“I was a little nervous before my first start, but it all came together. I knew today wasn’t going to be a big strikeout day, but I have a great team behind me and that makes it pretty hard to lose when they’re backing you up,” said Ebert.
The Dawgs (6-2) got rolling when Will Hollis (Cisico Community College) led off the bottom of the second with a single and later scored on a single from Cole MacLaren (University of Pittsburgh). MacLaren drove in his second run of the game in the ninth with one out and the bases loaded.
After retiring the first seven Prospects in order, Ebert allowed three-straight hits, as Percy Liu scored Tony Olson to tie it at one.
“He competes, that’s all he does. He knew it was going to be a tough day with the weather and the slipperiness of the field to rack up the strikeouts. So instead, he did a great job getting ground balls and let his defence take care of him,” said Dawgs Head Coach Mitch Schmidt.
Ryan Humeniuk (Indian Hills Community College) drove in three runs in the fourth when he launched his first home run of the season to score Collin Ridout (Tennessee Wesleyan University) and Hollis.
“I was just trying to stay to the middle of the field and work my body towards the pitcher. I just happened to catch an inside fastball out front and it got elevated,” said Humeniuk.
Rich Walker was managing well for the Prospects (5-3) and pitched into the fifth inning. With one out in the fifth, Ridout lined a pitch off Walker’s throwing hand. After remaining down for a few minutes, Walker tried to test it out but determined he wasn’t fit to continue. He is 0-1 on the season.
Taking over for his injured teammate was Brenden Wiun. Wiun got touched up for a pair of earned runs over 2.1 innings.
Jacob Bouzide (Colby Community College) made his first start of the season for the Dawgs. He hit a double in the sixth inning and later scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Ridout for his fifth RBI of the season. Richard Mascarenas (Linn-Benton Community College) singled up the middle with the bases loaded to score Riley Baasch (Bellevue University) to make it 6-1 Dawgs.
Wiun’s replacement, Brandon Hill, didn’t manage much better, as he allowed six earned runs over 0.2 innings.
The Dawgs put up a season-high 16 hits and tacked on runs late when Baasch hit a double, Bouzide reached on an error and Eddie Sanchez (Central Arkansas) singled home a pair. Sanchez later scored his team-leading ninth run of the season. A fielder’s choice and a wild pitch ran the lead up to 12-1.
“Everyone in the stands, the coaching staff and the players can all see that we have been striking out too much. This past week, we have really concentrated on taking an attitude hack early in the count, which is fine. Then, when it gets deeper in the count we need to shorten up a bit and use the middle of the field. I thought we did a great job of that today,” said Schmidt.
Corey Jackson (Indian Hills Community College) and Craig Smith (Columbia College) teamed up to finish off the Prospects, tossing two scoreless innings and striking out a pair.
The Dawgs are back in action June 12 when they travel to Swift Current to take on the 57’s (3-6). The Dawgs next home game goes Friday, June 15, when the Brooks Bombers arrive at Seaman Stadium (7:05 p.m.).