By: Jamie Mountain
Canadian Baseball Network
In a game where he needed to be his best and more, Zach Demchenko was exactly that.
The six-foot-two right-hander was outstanding on the mound, tossing a complete game, three-hitter as Prairies Purple knocked off defending Tournament 12 Champion Quebec Blue 1-0.
Demchenko’s only encounter with trouble came in the second when he allowed a two-out double to Pierre-Olivier Avoine and followed that up by walking Jeremy Gonthier. But the tall righty was able to force Marc-Antoine Tremblay to ground out to third to end the threat.
“I just came out with a different focus,” said Demchenko about how he felt about this start compared to his last start. “I just tried to throw strikes and not overpower. The first time out I got a little cocky, tried to strike people out and this time I just tried to put it over the plate and if they hit, I know I had good defence to make the plays.”
Quebec starter William Sierra also had a good day on the mound, but the third inning is what cost him. Dylan Flasch reached on an infield single that handcuffed the shortstop. Jordan Malainey walked and came into score the game’s only run on Brett Resch’s single to centre. Resch then stole second, but Brett Esau Struck out shortly after to end the inning.
Resch was glad to come through for his team as he hadn’t been able to earlier in the tournament.
“I’ve been struggling all week but I just went up to the plate and thought about driving it up the middle,” said Resch. “He (Sierra) threw a big curveball and it seemed to be right down the middle. So I just thought to get my hands through and I’m just glad I got the hit and knocked in the winning run.”
Sierra pitched five innings for Quebec, giving up three hits, one run, three walks and racking up five strikeouts.
The right-hander was disappointed with the loss, but is looking forward to next year.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Sierra. “I want to get back here next year and have the same experience and keep on moving up.”
The Prairies looked poised to add to its 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Liam Giesbrecht drew a lead-off walk but Travis Horanski struck out swinging followed by Flasch grounding into an inning-ending double play.
Quebec was able to get the leadoff man to reach base in both the sixth and seventh innings, but Demchenko was able to escape with no damage done.
The Saskatoon, SK native finished the game allowing just three hits and two walks while accumulating eight strikeouts.