The middle of the order brought the thunder for the Okotoks Dawgs in a doubleheader with the Fort McMurray Giants today at Seaman Stadium.
After having the opener of a three-game series rained out last night, the two teams played two nine-inning games this afternoon in Okotoks.
In Game 1, Nate DeChaine (Morningside College) broke the clock on the score board with his fifth home run.
That blast came in the second inning off of David Craft and with Collin Ridout (Tennessee Wesleyan University) on base. DeChaine also drove in Eddie Sanchez (University of Central Arkansas) in the fifth and was a big factor in the Dawgs 11-5 win.
Ridout also had himself a big game and a monster day.
Hitting third in the order — one in front of DeChaine — Ridout also went 3-for-4, drove in three runs and scored a pair in the opener.
“As a hitter, hitting comes and goes, you have to really appreciate it when you have days like this,” said Ridout. “Hitting is contagious and today we had a lot of guys catch on and hit really well.”
Making his second start of the season was Grade 12 student and Dawgs Academy prospect Graham Brunner.
The Crowder Community College prospect went five innings, allowed three hits, struck out four and didn’t allow a run.
“Brunner is the best high school pitcher I’ve ever seen in Canada. I’ve coached (Mike) Soroka and other guys, but he’s the best by far,” said Dawgs Pitching Coach Joe Sergent.
In the nightcap, it was much of the same for the Dawgs, but this time with a little help from Will Hollis (Cisco Community College), who entered the day with a .407 average.
After the Dawgs (12-5) stole a pair of runs in the third, the big blow came when it appeared as if they were going to strand a pair of leadoff singles from Sanchez and Richard Mascarenas (Linn-Benton Community College).
That’s when Ridout stepped up and ripped a hanging curve into the right-centre gap to plate a pair of runs.
Dawgs Academy product Danny Donnelly also cashed in a pair with a lofted single to left.
Ryan Humeniuk (Indian Hills Community College) came on as a pinch hitter in the fifth and singled home Donnelly for the fifth run of the frame.
The following inning, Hollis put the finishing touches on the Giants with a no-out double to score Mascarenas and DeChaine.
In the second game, DeChaine went 1-for-3 with a run scored and RBI, Hollis went 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored and Ridout went 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored, as the Dawgs routed the Giants 11-2. The Giants have now lost eight in a row.
“It takes a lot of pressure off everyone else when we have a couple guys rolling. Guys won’t feel as bad about failing and we all have a ton of confidence in the guy behind them to get the job done,” said DeChaine.
The other big contributor was Cole MacLaren (University of Pittsburgh) cashed in a pair of doubles, drove in one run and crossed home twice.
On the bump, Cody Ebert (Columbia University) didn’t appear to have his top-shelf stuff, but still how managed to strikeout 10 batters in 5.2 innings for the second time this season. His record improved to 3-0.
“It’s amazing when it looks like you are having an off night and you still rack up 10 Ks in 5.2 innings. He did a great job grinding and he’ll be ready to go Friday,” said Sergent.
The Dawgs will look to complete the sweep tomorrow night (7:05 p.m.) back at Seaman Stadium.