Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Dawgs blast their way to four straight wins
By Dustin Saracini
BROOKS, Alta. - Two hours and 179 kms away from Seaman Stadium, the Okotoks Dawgs (4-0) were up to much of the same against the Brooks Bombers (1-4).
The Dawgs used an incredible sixth inning to power their way to a 9-6 victory. Kody Funderburk (Dallas Baptist) blew the contest wide open with a multi-home run game, allowing Nick Vickers (Calgary, Alta.) to cruise to a quality start on the other side of the ball.
“That was the first time in my career I’ve hit two out,” Funderburk said. “Back in Mesa I hit eight home runs, but I didn’t hit multiple home runs in a game so it was pretty cool to hit two in a row. The first guy wasn’t blowing it by guys so we knew, as a lineup, if we could just see the ball up, we’d be able to catch up to it. I was sitting fastball but I think I got a change-up up, the second one I was sitting fastball and he grooved a fastball.”
Vickers tossed five innings of one-run ball while striking out eight.
Behind him, the bullpen was fantastic. Ryan Morgan and Tyler McWillie both made their Dawgs debut, combining for two scoreless innings. Will Undershute gave up two before Cole Lang allowed one earned run against to close things out.
Setting the tone early was Peter Hutzal (Iowa Western), who worked a quality, 10-pitch walk in the Dawgs’ first at-bats. Behind him, Greg Cullen (Niagara University) and Zach Hanna (University of Alabama) did the rest of the work. Advancing on a wild-pitch, the pair of Dawgs smacked ground balls to the right side of the infield, scoring Hutzal and handing the Dawgs a 1-0 advantage.
Okotoks took off just two innings later, capping the third with a Funderburk blast to the deepest part of the field. The 6’4”, 225-pound Arizona product barrelled a change-up for the Dawgs’ first home run of the season. Jayse McLean (North Dakota State University) provided the aftershock, continuing his hot streak and knocking a double to the left-centre gap for his fourth hit in the last two games. He promptly crossed the plate on a Kobe Hyland (Iowa Western) RBI groundout.
Hanna further made his presence known in his Dawgs debut following the offensive outburst in the third. Ripping a two-out double to right field, the Kansas product was able to score Cullen from first, restoring the six-run lead.
From there, the Dawgs cruised the rest of the way. Funderburk added salt to the wound in the top of the 7th, putting a charge into a fastball and sending it far over the right field wall for his fourth RBI of the contest.
The Dawgs have now scored seven-plus runs in each game this season, recording double digit hits for the second game in a row.
“It makes it a lot easier when everyone is hitting,” Funderburk said. “There’s not pressure on one guy to get hits and score runs when the guy behind you is going to get it done. It makes it so much easier as a team.”
Funderburk has another opportunity to play against his former team, the Edmonton Prospects, in hostile territory tomorrow.
“I’m excited to be back in Edmonton,” he grinned. “I’m always competitive so I always want to win in everything I do, but especially against them. They’ve been so good with me coming to Okotoks.”
BY THE NUMBERS:
Kody Funderburk (R) : 3-5, 4 RBI, 2 R, .467 AVG
Joel Brophy: 3-4, R, .700 AVG
Jayse McLean: 2-4, R, .429 AVG
Nick Vickers: 5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO
WP: Nick Vickers (1-0) LP: Mason Swegarden (1-1)