Dawgs can't pull second out of the Hat

Baseball: Okotoks to open playoffs against first-place Lethbridge Bulls

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 12:43 pm

Okotoks Dawgs shortstop Ellis Kelly avoids the slide of Yorkton Cardinal Nick Gotta to turn a double-play on July 26. The Dawgs’ four game winning streak was snapped July 28 by the Medicine Hat Mavericks. Okotoks will play the Lethbridge Bulls in the first-round of the playoffs.
Okotoks Dawgs shortstop Ellis Kelly avoids the slide of Yorkton Cardinal Nick Gotta to turn a double-play on July 26. The Dawgs’ four game winning streak was snapped July 28 by the Medicine Hat Mavericks. Okotoks will play the Lethbridge Bulls in the first-round of the playoffs.
Remy Greer/OWW

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The Okotoks Dawgs’ run for second place came up short and now they are looking at a very Bullish market in the playoffs.

Okotoks’ 9-1 loss to the Medicine Hat Mavericks in the Hat Monday night dropped the Dawgs to 23-22 in the West division of the Western Major Baseball League, while Med Hat improved to 25-20, to clinch second-place in the West Division.

“It’s pretty well set we will be playing Lethbridge (Bulls) in the first round,” Dawgs coach Brett Thomas said Monday after the loss. “We have played well against Lethbridge and we look forward to a good series.”

The Bulls will finish with the best record in the WMBL, they had a 30-14 record with only two games remaining in the regular season.

The Dawgs have held their own with the Bulls this season winning three of seven games.

“They are a good team and they have won a lot of games, based on their pitching,” Thomas said. “We just have to stick to our game, get some early hits and make things happen.”

The Bulls ace is Scott Cone who has a 5-1 record and a 2.09 ERA. Former Academy Dawg Alex Regan finished at 5-2 and a 2.58 ERA for the Bulls.

Okotoks still had a chance to finish second, but the Mavericks Monday Night Massacre relegated Okotoks to third place. The Dawgs were trailing 2-0 when they were lit up for sevens run in the sixth inning due to some walks and a few booted balls.

“We just have to make a few more adjustments, but we will get it,” Thomas said. “We will be ready for Friday. We’re looking forward to playoffs, we feel this is our time.”

Dawgs lefty Tyrell King took the loss to drop to 4-2, but he pitched only three innings, giving up one run. He was relegated to a 50-pitch count to keep him ready for the playoffs.

He expects to pitch Game 1 of the playoffs Friday night in Lethbridge.

“I had one start in Lethbridge and I did fine,” King said. “They are a good fastball hitting team and thank god, I have two other pitches... I’m ready. I can’t wait.”

Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday in the Bridge with right-hander Chris Sievers (3-3) expected to get the start.

The series would then shift to Okotoks with Game 3 Sunday at 7 p.m. Game 4, if necessary is Monday night at Seaman Stadium at 7 p.m. Game 5 would be back in the Bridge on Tuesday.

The Dawgs put themselves in position to battle for second-place by rattling off four-straight games prior to taking on Medicine Hat on Monday.

They did it on the strength of their starting pitching.

Sievers outdueled Edmonton Prospect Noah Gapp in a 2-1 Okotoks’ victory in front of 3,278 fans Sunday at Seaman Stadium. Sievers evened his record to 3-3.

He struck out five and didn’t allow an earned run over his six innings pitched. Meanwhile, Gapp through a rare eight-inning complete game.

The Dawgs took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Jerod Bartnik doubled and then scored with two outs. He made the stolen base looked like the best caper since the Great Train Robbery when he came into score on a passed ball.

Bartnik would drive in Zachiary Johnson in the fifth to give the Dawgs a 2-0 lead.

Edmonton would cut the lead to 2-1 in the seventh but that was a close as they would get.

The Dawgs got another great pitching performance on Saturday night as Anthony Willeford allowed two runs over seven innings in a 3-2 decision over the Yorkton Cardinals. Jordan Peterson had a pair of RBI while Scott Hoyt also drove in a run.

The Dawgs provided all the offence southpaw Jon Richards needed in a 12-3 thrashing of the Cardinals on Friday night. Okotoks’ offence was powered by DH Ross Barker who went 3 for four with a double and drove in four runs.

Richards picked up his fifth win of the year. The Dawgs’ winning streak got started with a 5-2 win over the Swift Current Indians on Thursday in Swift.

Conor Lillis-White had his best outing of the season in pitching seven innings and allowing only one earned run. Johnson went two-for-four with a pair of RBI to power the Dawgs.

The Dawgs end the regular season tonight (July 30) at Seaman Stadium on Fan Appreciation Night for a playoff preview against the Bulls. The Dawgs’ fans have come out in droves — they set a new record of 61,000 fans going through the turnstiles this season.

For playoff ticket information call 403-262-3294(DAWG) or go to www.dawgsbaseball.ca


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