Okotoks, AB- The Okotoks Dawgs pulled off a legendary, bottom of the ninth comeback, to oust the
Fort McMurray Giants 13-12 Saturday night.
Relief pitcher and Starthclair, Man., native Noah Geekie got credited with the win thanks to his perfect
final inning effort.
Dawgs Outfielder Jaxon Valcke went 2-6 on the night but his lone RBI was the difference.
“For me, the game was tied so I took the pressure off my self and tried to put a ball in play. I Felt
amped up swinging at the first two,” he says.
Down two strikes, Valcke came through and cashed in the game winning run.
“I jumped up in the box and I got a pitch to hit and it worked out in the end,” he concludes.
Tonight, was a classic display of the offense coming to life and the game coming down to the bullpen
along with the abuse of it.
The Dawgs have had to rely on the bullpen for the third straight game but jumped on the poor
defending by the Giants.
“Ben (Thompson) had a good start but we didn’t see enough off-speed pitches during their run on
offense… our bullpen stopped the bleeding again and with an offense like ours, we knew as long as
we slowed them down we had a chance,” says Dawgs acting bench boss Joe Sergent.
Both teams used a total of 10 pitchers. Six for the Dawgs and four for the Giants.
Six wild pitches, five total errors and two balks for the Giants painted an ugly picture on defense. They
almost got away with the game had it not been for their lackluster fielding.
The Dawgs meanwhile, committed four wild pitches, not being able to make up for the inconsistent
pitching without some really timely errors on offense.
Auckland, New Zealand and Tiffin University commit Ben Thompson got the start Saturday night
against his Giants counterpart Stanley Vargas.
Thompson kept making his task at hand difficult for himself but did a decent job digging himself out
before being replaced in the fourth inning. The Dawgs alumni pitched three innings and a third with
three strikeouts, surrendering eight hits and five earned runs.
Vargas had a calm start after an early first inning slip-up to start his day but also finished with three
and a third innings. He gave up seven runs, four earned on four hits.
Brett Esau started the shootout with a solo shot deep into right field to begin the show on offense on
the game’s sixth pitch while second at bat.
In the bottom of the second, Richardo Sanchez propelled an RBI triple that fooled Giants outfield B.J.
Minarcin as the outfielder slipped and had the ball drop and roll to the warning track to double the lead.
Top of the third however, Thompson found himself in trouble. With runners on second and third, Matt
Hildebrandt cleared the bases with an RBI double to even the match at 2-2.
Fort McMurray opened the floodgates with a five-run inning that included a Hildebrandt two-run
homerun that concluded the offensive run. He went 4-5 with three RBIs.
Okotoks made Fort McMurray pay for their constant blunders and lack of clutch pitching as the Dawgs
returned the call in the bottom half.
Two errors, three hits and a five-run inning in the bottom half, supported by three wild pitches from the
Giants, notched the game at 7-7 heading into the fifth inning.
After a three-run Giants inning, the Dawgs began to spark their comeback down 10-8.
Will Hollis found a pulse in the Dawgs offense and contributed with his second homerun in as many
nights with his solo bomb to cut the deficit to one heading into the seventh.
The Giants, unphased, seemed to put the game to rest with a two-run eight inning to put them up 12-9
but the strangle hold did not last.
Quinn Tassie cracked under the pressure in the game deciding inning. The right fielder dropped two
consecutive routine fly balls, allowing two runners on second and third with no outs.
Sanchez smacked a base hit right up to Jordan Williams who bobbled the ball but managed to toss the
play to first before first baseman Joseph Maestu.
Next, a double from second basemen Liam Rihela tied the game before Valcke ripped the heart of the
The rubber match is set for 2:05 p.m. Sunday afternoon.