By Patrick Stothers
Canadian Baseball Network
TORONTO - Prairies Purple beat Alberta Red 12-5 in the battle of Western Canada after an explosive second inning at Tournament 12 on Sunday.
Eight runs were scored in the bottom of the second frame when Prairies (2-2) sent 12 consecutive batters to the plate before being stopped by Alberta (2-1-1).
The offence began with a Zach Giesbrecht (Landmark, Man.) single to right field that drove home Connor Sparks (Saskatoon, Sask.) and Jared McCorrister (Boissevain, Man.), with Giesbrecht advancing to second on the throw.
This was set up by aggressive base running on the part of the Prairies squad, as Sparks had stolen both second and third base before reaching home.
After a balk put Giesbrecht on third, Benjamin Pelechaty (Saskatoon, Sask.) was walked, and subsequently stole second, only to have Shayne Campbell (Winnipeg, Man.) join them on base with yet another walk from Alberta pitcher Kevin Okkerse (Calgary, Alta.).
Kendall Keller (Pilot Butte, Sask.) then ripped a grounder to right field, and as first baseman Kyle Seitz (Okotoks, Alta.) deflected the ball, both Giesbrecht and Pelechaty came in to score.
The bleeding didn’t stop there for Alberta. A fielding error from third baseman Michael Johnson (Calgary, Alta.) allowed Jordan Lussier (Winnipeg, Man.) to reach first base, while Campbell came in to score, and Keller advanced to third
This play marked the end of Okkerse’s outing, but replacement Thomas Little (Lethbridge, Alta.) gave up a triple to Tristan Peters (Winkler, Man.) immediately following the change, and Peters scored on a McCorrister single to complete the batting order and the inning.
It wasn’t until the fourth inning that Alberta provided an answer, when they scored four runs on three hits, highlighted by an RBI double from LaRon Smith (Spruce Grove, Alta.) down the third base line, that stayed just inches inside fair territory.
Unfortunately, the Prairies squad was not finished, and produced another four runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth, including an RBI double from Peters and three RBIs on a double from Tyler McWillie (Watrous, Sask.).
Alberta would add one more run from Justin Breen (Fort McMurray, Alta.) in the top of the seventh, on a wild pitch from Blake Pongracz (Saskatoon, Sask.), but it was too little too late.
Despite the loss Alberta had already solidified their spot in the semi finals to be played on Sunday afternoon.