Dawgs back on winning track with victory over Bulls

Will Hollis, shown here with the Texas State Bobcats, had three RBIs for the Okotoks Dawgs on Saturday. Photo: Juan DeLeon Studio.

Will Hollis, shown here with the Texas State Bobcats, had three RBIs for the Okotoks Dawgs on Saturday. Photo: Juan DeLeon Studio.

June 22, 2019

By Dan Khavkin

Okotoks Dawgs

After falling short in Friday night’s 10-8 loss, the Okotoks Dawgs rebounded for an 7-3 victory over the Lethbridge Bulls on Saturday night.

Point University pitcher Billy Brand started the game for the Dawgs. A traditional closer, he got the nod to open the game for the de facto starter, UBC hurler Jared Spearing.

Brand allowed one run in the opening three innings, before Spearing took over and pitched four strong innings for the Dawgs.

After Lethbridge jumped out to a two-run lead in the fourth, Spearing, who was born in Winnipeg, retired nine consecutive batters to end his outing.

Following the game, head coach Mitch Schmidt explained his decision to have Spearing begin his appearance in the fourth inning.

“It took the pressure of Spearing of starting another long game. He pitched around 80 innings in school this past year so we gave him a fresher look on the game. His game spoke for itself, he picked apart the batters he wanted and pitched three shutout when we needed it most,” said Schmidt.

The Dawgs (15-5) fought back after being down 3-1 to the Bulls (11-9) in the fourth.

Texas State infielder Will Hollis led the way with three RBIs.

“He had some ‘ABs’ where the pitcher just pitched the perfect pitch. His attitude was the same. Will was caught looking for a strikeout then came back with his RBIs so we know he'll always be a threat for us,” Schmidt added.

“You’re always aware of the situation,” Hollis said about the impact of his at bats on Saturday. “I always want to drive hits hard up the middle and it worked out today.”

Linn Benton Community College outfielder Jacob Melton knocked in Okotoks’ first two runs.

Bellevue University infielder Riley Baasch gave the Dawgs their first lead on a sacrifice fly before the University of Houston third baseman Bret Esau cleverly dodged a tag at home plate during a run-down Hollis was caught in.

Hollis followed up with a two-run RBI double that almost cleared the 400-foot sign in the centre field of Seaman Stadium in the bottom of the sixth to put the game out of reach.

Okotoks’ bullpen took over after the seventh and did not surrender a hit for the last five innings.

The Dawgs close out the three-game set on Sunday afternoon against the Bulls with the first pitch of the rubber match set for 2:05 p.m.