Rookie shines in Dawgs loss

Rookie lefty Graham Brunner allowed just one earned run in six innings in the Okotoks Dawgs' 7-5 loss to the Lethbridge Bulls on Saturday. Photo Credit: Amanda Fewer

Rookie lefty Graham Brunner allowed just one earned run in six innings in the Okotoks Dawgs' 7-5 loss to the Lethbridge Bulls on Saturday. Photo Credit: Amanda Fewer

Saturday June 24, 2017

Rookie shines in Dawgs' loss

By Dustin Saracini

Lethbridge, AB - In the first of six upcoming games against the (12-6) Lethbridge Bulls, the (11-6) Okotoks Dawgs took a late-game, 7-5 loss.

On the mound it was Dawgs Academy product, Graham Brunner, posting his third quality start with the collegiate club. For the third straight outing, Brunner allowed just one earned run while throwing six frames, striking out six.

“I felt pretty good,” he said following the contest.

“It gets a little bit easy when [you’re used to] pitching in front of a bigger crowd than usual.”

At one point, the 17-year-old retired eight straight Bulls -- picking off three of them.

“You always have that as being a lefty,” he said.

“I don’t usually have the best pickoff move in the world but I guess it was working tonight.”

Okotoks let the air out of Spitz Stadium early in this one. A pair of doubles from Greg Cullen (Niagara University) and Kody Funderburk (Dallas Baptist) in the top of the first handed the Dawgs a 1-0 lead. Cullen slapped a shot down the left field line before Funderburk blasted one to the gap in left-centre. The RBI was Funderburk’s sixth in his last two games -- the double was his first of the season. The advantage wouldn’t last long though.

Lethbridge injected the energy right back into their fans in the bottom of the second with an RBI single off the bat of Brett Semeniuk, later taking a 2-1 edge ahead of a mishandled run-down at second.

Error trouble continued to haunt the Dawgs in the third following an RBI single from Alex Bishop. The base-knock brought home Ryan Pouwells -- who reached on a blunder up the middle -- extending the lead to two.

The red and white fought right back to reclaim the lead in the top of the fifth, capitalizing on an error from the other side. An errant throw from shortstop saw Darius Foster (Oregon State University) advance to second, allowing Cullen to take over first after a hit-by-pitch. A past ball set up Eddie Sanchez (Central Arkansas) in a two-on, no out situation. Number eight delivered with a line drive up the middle, scoring two on an RBI single. He came around to score off a Jayse McLean (North Dakota State University) seeing-eye single, his 11th hit in his last eight games played.

Matt Lloyd (Indiana University) came on in the sixth and immediately made his presence known. Coming off back-to-back multi-hit games, the Indiana product didn’t miss a beat in a pinch-hit situation, driving a double to the gap in left-centre. Two batters later it was Cullen bringing him home off a sacrifice-fly, handing the Dawgs their first two-run lead of the tilt.

Lethbridge got to the bullpen in the seventh and eighth, scoring four off five hits, taking a two-run lead and shutting down the potent offence of the Dawgs in the ninth.

Okotoks looks to rebound in a double-header on Sunday against Lethbridge.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Eddie Sanchez: 1-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, .353 AVG

Kody Funderburk (R): 2-4, 320 AVG

OF RECORD:

WP: Dawson Moser (3-1) LP: Taylor Davis (0-1)