Okotoks drops tight contest in Lethbridge

Catcher Joel Brophy (Burlington, Ont.) returns to the dugout after an at bat on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Angela Burger

Catcher Joel Brophy (Burlington, Ont.) returns to the dugout after an at bat on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Angela Burger

Tuesday June 27, 2017

Okotoks drops tight contest in Lethbridge

By Dustin Saracini

Lethbridge, AB - The comeback fell short for the (12-8) Okotoks Dawgs tonight, dropping a 7-4 game to the (14-7) Lethbridge Bulls in hostile territory.

With the loss, Okotoks moves to 1 1/2 games back of first place in the West division, but have two upcoming games against these same Bulls June 29-30 in a home-and-home series.

“Losing isn’t fun for anybody,” head coach Tyler Graham said following the contest.

“We’re going to do whatever we can to get these kids back on the right track … We need to compete a little better on the mound and hopefully we can change that, but I was impressed with the hitters tonight. It’s always tough to come from behind when you get behind early.”

The top of the order for the red and white did the majority of the damage, combining for nine hits, three runs and four RBI between the top four hitters. Among them, it was Greg Cullen (Niagara University) who led the pack with a four-hit night, driving in one and crossing the plate twice.

In the opening frame it was a walk, hit-by-pitch and a two-out single through the 6-5 gap that allowed Lethbridge to jump out to an early 1-0 edge.The Bulls added to their advantage an inning later with a pair of knocks through the right side, plating two, extending their lead to three.

The Dawgs pressed with their next opportunity on offence. Back-to-back singles from Cullen and Eddie Sanchez (Central Arkansas) set the stage for Matt Lloyd (Indiana University), who dug in with one-out and runners on the corners. A five-pitch at-bat was enough to time down Landen Bourassa, the fireballer pitching for his hometown, sending a screaming line-drive into the left-centre gap for a two-RBI, stand-up double. With his second hit of the night, Sanchez stretched his hitting streak to four, collecting eight knocks over that span.

As soon as the Dawgs were within one, it was the Bulls bouncing right back with a quality inning of their own. A single and a two-run double paved the way for a 5-2 Lethbridge advantage.

The bats of Okotoks did what they’ve been doing all season long and answered in the top half of the fourth. With a runner in scoring position and two down, Cullen made sure his Niagara teammate, Joel Brophy, wouldn’t be stranded. Dropping to 1-2 in the count, the Penfield, N.Y., product barrelled an RBI single to make it a 5-3 ball game.

Kody Funderburk (Dallas Baptist) allowed the red and white to inch within one in the top of the seventh. Cullen registered his third hit of the game before scoring off Funderburk’s second double of the season. Another patient at-bat from the Dallas Baptist signee allowed him to cut down his swing and send a line drive down the left field line.

The Dawgs remained within striking distance until the bottom of the eighth, where the Bulls made use of two free passes, moving their lead to 7-4, putting the contest out of reach.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Greg Cullen (R): 4-5, 2 R, RBI, .324 AVG

Matt Lloyd: 2-5, 2 RBI, 354 AVG

OF RECORD:

WP: Landen Bourassa (2-0) LP: CJ Lewington (0-2) SV: Chris Stodolka (9)