Okotoks takes playoff opener in rain-shortened affair

 Okotoks Dawgs players help roll the tarp off the field on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Angela Burger

Okotoks Dawgs players help roll the tarp off the field on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Angela Burger

Tuesday August 1, 2017

Okotoks takes playoff opener in rain-shortened affair

By Dustin Saracini

Okotoks, AB - In Game 1 of the WMBL playoffs, the (1-0) Okotoks Dawgs didn’t miss a beat with a 8-2 victory over the (0-1) Edmonton Prospects at Seaman Stadium. The game was called midway through the fifth inning due to an unplayable field and wet conditions.

Anthony Balderas (Lewis Clarke) won his first start of the postseason, tossing five strong innings, limiting the Prospects to two runs and fanning five.

Greg Cullen (Niagara University) earned himself a multi-hit night in the shortened, five-inning game, while Matt Lloyd (Indiana University) drove home three.

The potent offence for the Dawgs carried over into the postseason in the opening frame. Cullen got things started, shooting an outside pitch to left field before Kody Funderburk (Dallas Baptist) worked a two-out walk. Stepping into the box while his fans and teammates serenaded him with an on-beat clap to The Stroke by Billy Squier was Campbell, who ripped a two-out triple down the left field line to give Okotoks a quick 2-0 advantage.

In the third, it was a perfect mix of small ball and power that gave the Dawgs a five-run lead. All-Star Cullen moved a lead-off walk over to second with an excellent bunt down the right side, setting up another All-Star in Lloyd, who didn’t disappoint. With one-out, Lloyd launched a double off the wall in deep centre field to plate two -- later scoring on a throwing error.

After Okotoks extended their lead to seven off the Prospects' second error of the contest and a wild pitch, the reigning MVP, Funderburk, stepped in and delivered a two-out RBI single to right field to make it an 8-0 edge.

Edmonton got on the board in the top of the fifth, scratching a pair of runs across the plate off an RBI single and a three-hit inning.

This was as close as they would get, though, as the sky opened up to put Seaman Stadium under water.

Okotoks now leads the best of five series, 1-0, and looks to take the stranglehold Wednesday at home.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Greg Cullen (R): 2-3, 2 R, .667 AVG

Matt Lloyd: 1-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, .333 AVG

Cameron Campbell (R): 1-3, 3B, 2 RBI, .333 AVG

Anthony Balderas: 5 IP 5 H 2 ER 2 BB 5 K

OF RECORD:

WP: Anthony Balderas (1-0) LP: Zaine Foth-Thomas (0-1)