Friday June 23, 2017
Dawgs exchange blows with Express, lose fifth of the season
By Dustin Saracini
Okotoks, AB - The (11-5) Okotoks Dawgs split their two-game series against the (11-8) Moose Jaw Miller Express on Friday at Seaman Stadium, unable to find late magic in a 14-7 loss.
Both clubs exchanged blows for five straight innings before Moose Jaw threw the knockout punch with a four-run ninth.
Kody Funderburk (Dallas Baptist) had a quality day at the dish, blasting two home runs over the right field wall in a five-RBI game, and liked the battle from his guys tonight.
“I thought we played awesome,” he said.
“Our offence, as usual, is always in it and we’re never out of it. Even in the end, we have bases loaded, we’re in a position where we could possibly come back… Even from the first inning, we put up a three spot.”
Okotoks cracked the scoreboard early in this one. A night ago, Matt Lloyd (University of Indiana) said the offensive well has no intention of running dry this season. Well, in the first, the red and white showed exactly what he meant. Ryan Humeniuk (Indian Hills) started the rally with a single through the left side of the infield before Lloyd followed suit, opening the floodgates for Funderburk. Following a five-pitch, patient at-bat, the All-American found the pitch he wanted, blasting a fastball over the right field wall and off the scoreboard for an early 3-0 Dawgs advantage.
Moose Jaw answered with a pair of runs in the top half of the second. Ben Dalke doubled to the wall, and Pate Katechis earned his eighth RBI of the season with a single up the middle. An RBI groundout then made it a 3-2 ball game through one and a half innings.
The offence struck for the Dawgs in the bottom half, doubling their lead. Peter Hutzal (Iowa Western - Calgary, AB) and Aderly Perez (University of Arkansas) led the frame off with back-to-back singles, allowing an RBI ground out from Humeniuk to hand Okotoks a two-run edge.
When the Express chugged their way within one, it was Funderburk, again reclaiming the two-run lead with his second blast of the game to right field. The bomb was his fourth of the campaign and his second multi-home run game this year. His last came on the road against the Brooks Bombers.
“The two home runs I hit were two fastballs,” Funderburk said.
“Which was surprising, because usually, being a four-hole hitter, they want to throw off-speed pitches to try and get you off-balance. When you get in good hitters counts, usually you do get a fastball and I think he made a couple of mistakes leaving them in and I took advantage.”
The track meet continued in the top of the fourth and fifth. Moose Jaw came to terms with the Dawgs on the back of a two-run single, and took their first lead of the ball game on an RBI single an inning later.
Lloyd entered the boxing ring in the bottom of the fifth, blasting his second home run of the season to the deepest part of Seaman Stadium to tie this one up. A five-pitch at-bat set the stage for a fastball in, with the Indiana product teeing off much to the applause of his teammates.
Moose Jaw countered with three runs in the top of the seventh, adding another in the eighth, capping off their night with four in the ninth and never looked back.
The Dawgs now take on the Lethbridge Bulls in five of their next six games.
“They are very important,” Funderburk said.
“We could be way ahead at the end of this or way behind, or split. It’s always nice sitting in the middle of the year with a nice comfortable lead in the standings.”
BY THE NUMBERS:
Kody Funderburk (R): 3-3, 5 RBI, 3 R, 2 HR, .316 AVG
Zach Hanna (R): 2-5, .362 AVG
Matt Lloyd: 3-4, 2 R, RBI, .371 AVG
WP: Grant Westmoreland (1-1) LP: Drew Smernes (0-2)