Thursday June 29, 2017
Dawgs score in bunches, hold on for late-game victory
By Dustin Saracini
Lethbridge, AB - The (14-8) Okotoks Dawgs propelled themselves into a tie for Western division supremacy with a 13-8 victory over the (14-8) Lethbridge Bulls tonight at Spitz Stadium.
A five-run sixth inning, capped off by a Matt Lloyd (Indiana University) double to left field put Okotoks in the driver's seat the rest of the way. The base-knock gave Lloyd his third straight multi-hit game, while Jayse McLean’s (North Dakota State University) fourth home run of the season put the contest out of reach. All nine starters chipped in with at least one hit, helping the Dawgs hold off a late surge from Lethbridge.
“We saw it yesterday,” coach Andy Peterson said.
“They came back a couple times my second day here. It’s good to see there’s a lot of fight in these guys. [They] never felt like they were out of it, [Lethbridge] came back, it was 9-8, everyone stayed relaxed.”
With their initial cracks at the plate, Okotoks took a 1-0 lead just minutes after first pitch. Kody Funderburk (Dallas Baptist) stretched his hitting streak to three games, waiting on a changeup before driving one up the middle. The base-knock set Zach Hanna (University of Alabama) up with runners on the corners and two outs. Swinging through two straight pitches, Hanna was able to shorten his swing and capitalize on the opportunity, slapping an RBI single the other way. With the base-hit, Hanna notched his third RBI in the last two nights.
Lethbridge continued with the season series theme of “exchanging blows” with the Dawgs in the bottom half, taking advantage of a trio of free bases before scoring two on a fielding error. The Bulls tacked another run on in the next inning, crossing the plate on a fielder's choice to extend their lead to 3-1.
Following five scoreless frames, the Dawgs took a healthy bite in the top of the sixth. Peter Hutzal (Iowa Western) led things off with a single up the gut before Aderly Perez (UAPB) followed suit, ripping a ground ball down the third base line. Cameron Campbell (University of Oregon) stepped in and did his job, inducing a fielding error from the pitcher after a picture perfect bunt hurried the throw. The misplay allowed Hutzal to score and bring the Dawgs within one. Ryan Humeniuk (Indian Hills) then tied the contest with a ground ball to the right side of the infield, scoring Perez.
The real damage came two batters later when Lloyd dug into the box. With two-on and two out, the Okotoks product delivered a towering opposite field shot that banked off the left field wall, handing the Dawgs their first lead of the ball game, 5-3.
An inning later, McLean came through with an enormous shot to left-centre. Getting ahead in the count proved to be beneficial for the Montana product, driving a 3-1 fastball over the wall for a three-run blast, stretching the lead to 9-3. The bomb was McLean’s fourth home run inside Spitz Stadium this year.
Following a five-run frame from Lethbridge to inch within one, the Dawgs added some late-game insurance with an RBI single from Campbell in the eighth and another two-run double off the bat of Lloyd in the ninth.
Okotoks looks to tie the season series tomorrow inside Seaman Stadium. The Bulls have won three of five so far.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Matt Lloyd: 2-5, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, .373 AVG
Cameron Campbell (R): 3-3, RBI, 2B, BB, .455 AVG
Jayse McLean (R): 2-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, HR, .293 AVG
WP: Zach Demchenko (2-0) LP: Ben Erwin (1-2)