By: Steve Gordon
Canadian Baseball Network
Carson Perkins pitched five solid innings and Jordan Malainey drove in three runs to help lead Prairies Purple to an 8-1 win over Atlantic Maroon in game one of Tournament 12 at Rogers Centre Tuesday morning.
Perkins (1-0) allowed four hits and just one run, but Prairies Purple was losing 1-0 when the right-hander was pulled out of the game after the top of the fifth.
The Prairies Purple offence rallied in the bottom of the inning, putting up six runs led by a two-RBI single from catcher Malainey.
“It always feels good,” said Perkins, post-game. “I mean, when teams score runs behind their pitcher, it’s all you can ask for.”
Atlantic Maroon’s (0-1) pitching was solid until the fifth when things fell apart on defence.
Perkins credits his team’s ability to pick up on pitching tendencies for being able to break the game open late in the game.
“Well it’s tough when we pick up that he’s not throwing a second pitch for a strike or an off-speed, so he was only fastball.” said the Bienfait, Sask. native. “Once we figured that out we were just sitting fastball, sitting fastball, and anything off-speed we were just laying off of and that’s what really boosted us ahead when we caught on to that.”
Malainey came up in the fifth with the bases loaded and only one out and got his team on the board with the eventual game-winning RBI that kick started the six-run inning.
The Saskatoon, Sask. native was glad that he was able to come through for his hurler and his team.
“Perkins is probably one of the best pitchers to be around when he’s pitching because you know he’s going to give you 110% and the guys always want to rally around him,” said Malainey. “They always want to win for him because he’s going to go the extra mile for you, so you want to go the extra mile for him.
“He’s up there cheering, he’s giving the boys motivation and we feed off that. I think that’s what helped me, he’s been a great buddy along my side the whole way and I wanted to do it for him.”
Malainey added another RBI in the sixth inning with another single with a runner in scoring position and finished the day 2-for-4.
Despite the slow offensive start to the game, the 17-year-old didn’t doubt his team’s ability to put runs on the board.
“I think we just got guys on base, we had to change the pitchers rhythm a bit and got him working,” said Malainey. “We just believed that there was no stopping us, we believed that we were going to eventually get good pitches, be selective, and we’re going to eventually drive in runs.”
A number of costly errors by Atlantic Maroon helped contribute to the six-run fifth inning and four walks in the sixth helped Prairies Purple add to their lead with two more runs.
Atlantic Maroon had eight errors in the game, allowing its opponent to score eight runs despite registering only three hits.
Hard base running and effort seemed to lead to at least two of the throwing errors.
“Yeah, for sure. Any time you can force the defender to rush a throw you know he’s going to make a mistake the odd time,” said Malainey. “The boys were hustling and that’s all you can ask for.”
Atlantic Maroon opened the scoring in the top of the first with a single from shortstop Declan Buckle, bringing in Dominic Tardif from first base.
Prairies Purple was threatening in the bottom of the inning with runners on second and third base, however, Dylan Flasch grounded out, stranding both base runners.
Atlantic Maroon pitcher Garrett Nicholson entered the game in the bottom of the fourth, relieving starting pitcher Blake Flinn.
Flinn went three innings without giving up a hit while striking out and walking two batters.
Prairies Purple starter Carson Perkins went five innings, surrendering one run, four hits and striking out one. He was relieved to begin the sixth by Brody Frerichs.