By: Mitch Sanderson
Canadian Baseball Network
In the battle of multiple-province teams, it was the combination of Saskatchewan and Manitoba that took down the Atlantic provinces 3-1 Thursday afternoon at the Rogers Centre.
Brody Frerichs went seven strong for the Prairies Purple (3-1) allowing just three hits and one run with six strikeouts. The Muenster, Sask., native threw one of the few complete games at Tournament 12 and clinched a semi-final spot for his team.
“Before the game, I was talking to coach and he said ‘You’re going as far as you can go’,” said Frerichs, following the victory Thursday afternoon. “So I just went out and attacked all the hitters and it turned out well for me.”
Offence was at a minimum for both teams throughout the game, but Prairies’ lead-off hitter and centre fielder Liam Giesbrecht was a solid 3-4 with one RBI and one run in the low-scoring affair.
“I felt like I was seeing the ball really well, saw it out of the hand pretty good, tried to get a barrel on it and run everything out,” said Giesbrecht after his stellar performance.
This was the second time this week these two teams matched up. Prairies took the first game 8-1 on Tuesday morning powered by solid performances on the mound from Carson Perkins and Frerichs in relief duty.
“I only pitched two innings the first time, but we did play them in Canada Cup, so I kind of knew what to expect,” said Frerichs. “I just went out there and challenged them and it worked out well for me.”
The five-foot-eleven pitcher wasn’t the only one who benefited from some previous game time versus the East coast athletes.
“For sure it helps if you’ve seen a guy once or twice and you know what kind of pitches he’s offering,” said Geisbrecht.
Starting on the mound for Atlantic Maroon (1-3) was young lefty Jaden Griffin, the second youngest player in the tournament behind Alberta’s Cesar Valero. The Lower Sackville, N.S., native finished with two hits, one run, two walks, and four strikeouts through three innings.
Griffin got in some hot water early allowing runners to get in scoring position after a combination of wild pitches and stolen bases, but struck out two straight and got outfielder Brett Resch to fly out to end the first.
Frerichs got into a rough position as well, loading the bases with two out in second before striking out the tournament's lone Newfoundlander Daniel Rice.
“I was too concerned with the runners on base,” said Frerichs on his second inning predicament. “I was focusing on them more than I should have been. Then when we got loaded bases, I went from the full (windup) and I just started throwing strikes and got him out.”
Prairies Brett Esau scored the game’s first run rather non-traditionally after he got to third on an error by centre fielder Dom Tardif and came home on a wild pitch from Griffin.
Returning Tournament 12 pitcher Blake Flinn took over on the hill for Griffin to start the fourth. He came in strong, striking out three of the first four batters he faced and finishing with two hits, two strikeouts, and one earned run in two innings pitched.
Atlantic’s lone run was scored by Tardif who stole home after a failed first base pickoff attempt in the sixth inning.
The Prairies will play their semi-final matchup Thursday night at 8:30 and they feel pretty confident they can win if things keep going this way.
“With pitching like this, I mean, three hits, we’ll take that any game,” said Giesbrecht.