Dawgs wake up to rout Bulls
Baseball: Okotoks to take on Medicine Hat Mavs in Western final
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Tuesday, Aug 06, 2013 11:33 am
It’s not wise to wake a sleeping dawg.
The Okotoks Dawgs routed the Lethbridge Bulls 14-2 Monday at Seaman Stadium to win the best of Western Major Baseball League final 3-2. The victory came just 24 hours after the Dawgs had lost a 5-4 heartbreaker to the Bulls in Lethbridge.
“After the game we went to the locker room and we could hear the Bulls celebrating,” said the Dawgs’ Jerod Bartnik. “That kind of motivated us and got us going.”
It definitely woke up Bartnik.
The outfielder posted his biggest game in his two-year Dawgs’ career with five RBI thanks to a two-run triple and a three-run dinger. His triple came in the bottom of the third inning, after the Bulls had taken a 2-1 lead in the top half of the inning.
The Dawgs came back to jump ahead 4-2 when Bartnik stepped to the dish. His triple brought in Cade Gotta and Ryan Serrato to put the Dawgs up 6-2. The Dawgs would push eight runs across the plate in the bottom of the third to take a 9-2 lead. Bartnik would hit a three-run shot to give the Dawgs an insurmountable 11-2 lead in the sixth.
“Hands down, my biggest night as a Dawg,” Bartnik said. “Especially since I have struggled this year, it was great to carry them on my back for a change.”
The left-handed hitting Surrey, B.C. slugger hit just .195 in the regular season.
Gotta continued his hot hitting by going 3-for-5 in the game with an RBI. The WMBL hitting champion Thomas Rodrigues drove in two runs with a double in the nine-run bottom of the third for Okotoks. The Dawgs’ Hayden Cleveland picked up the win, allowing two runs in five innings. He was pitching on just three days rest. He was the starting pitcher against the Bulls in Game 2 on Thursday, a 7-5 victory.
“Coach (AJ Fystro) asked me last night if I would be ready for tomorrow and I said ‘give me the ball,’” Cleveland said. “With the Dawgs season on the line, I want the ball in that situation.”
The Bulls put two runs on the board in the top of the third inning on a bases loaded single by Matt Redfearn to take a 2-1 lead. Cleveland was able to get out of the inning and then watched from the bench as his teammates hung eight runs on the board in the bottom of the inning.
The Bulls finished the regular season with a 23-23 record, nine games behind the Dawgs. But they gave the Dawgs all they got, taking the series to the full five games.
“We just gave them too many free bases tonight — if we walked somebody, they drove them in,” Bulls coach Scott Rhodes said. “They did exactly what they had to do.”
The Dawgs will now take on the Medicine Hat Mavericks in the Western final featuring the two best records in the WMBL. The Mavericks were 39-7 while the Dawgs were 31-13.
The Dawgs were 4-4 against the Mavericks. They also beat the Mavs 5-4 in the Hat on July 28 — the Mavericks only loss at the Hat all season.
Game 1 of the series was Aug. 6 in Medicine Hat, but was too late for The Wheel’s publication deadline.
Fystro was expected to go with Tom Zarozinski in Game 1.
The Dawgs’ starter for tonight will likely be Aaron Conyers for Game 2 in the Gas City.
The series will shift to Okotoks for Game 3 on Thursday at Seaman Stadium. Chris Villalobos will get the ball for the Dawgs. Fystro has not decided who will pitch in Game 4, if necessary, on Friday in Okotoks. If Game 5 is needed it will be back in Medicine Hat on Saturday. All games are at 7:05 p.m.
To follow the Dawgs and all WMBL action go to www.wmbl.ca