Dawg plays nine in nine
Baseball: Mark Riendeau at every position in regular season finale
Thursday, Jul 31, 2014 11:38 am
An Okotoks Dawg had to get over the bump to make team history.
Versatile Dawg Mark Riendeau took the mound in the ninth inning to complete playing all nine positions in Okotoks’ 5-1 victory over the Lethbridge Bulls on Fan Appreciation Night July 30 at Seaman Stadium.
“Pitching was the most nerve-wracking for sure,” said Riendeau, a junior at Louisiana College who hadn’t been on the mound since high school. “Once I threw my first strike I was okay.”
Sporting a 5-0 lead, Riendeau and catcher Taylor Fish kept it simple — fastballs, fastballs and more fastballs.
“Nothing fancy, with a big lead like that and the good defence behind me, I just rolled with it,” said Riendeau, adding he had a curveball and a change-up in his repertoire.
Riendeau got the first two batters out, which brought a large cheer from the sold-out crowd of 3,827 fans. However, then the Bulls Travis Steinke reached first base on a pitcher-friendly scorekeeper’s call of an error on Dawgs’ third baseman Connor Crane.
“That was a tough call,” Riendeau said with a smile. “I play infield and I know how it is.”
He found out the day before he would go from 1 to 9 on the scoresheet.
“BT (coach Brett Thomas) came up to me in practice and told me be ready to go for all nine positions,” Riendeau said. “I only had shortstop, pitcher, centre field and first base to complete the cycle for the season.”
He played all three outfields in the first three innings and then the infield from the fourth through to the seventh. He got the fans charged by playing the battery in the final two.
Although Riendeau covered more ground on his job than a traveling salesman, he wasn’t that busy. He didn’t get his first putout until the seventh inning when he was playing first base and the Bulls’ Justin Clarkson grounded out to shortstop Ellis Kelly.
His only other putout was while behind the plate and he snared pitcher Adam Collier’s strike-three pitch.
With the game as important as a Corner Gas rerun, Thomas saw it as a chance to provide some entertainment for the Dawgs’ faithful.
“He’s capable of doing and it’s just one of those quirky things that’s kind of fun to do,” Thomas said. “I thought it would be fun for the fans.”
However, the Dawgs were still out there to win. Had Riendeau been on the rubber with a slim 2-1 lead, he would have been on a shorter leash than a dog at a cat show.
“I don’t know what I would have done,” Thomas said with a chuckle. “Probably if the first guy had got on I would have had to think about.”
Riendeau also proved his adept with a bat in hand. He went three-for-four in the game with a double and an RBI. He also scored two runs.
He knows he won’t be playing all nine positions when the Dawgs play the Bulls for keeps this weekend in the first round of the Western Major Baseball League playoffs.
“I am just going to show-up and help us win,” he said.
The first two games of the series are Friday and Saturday in Lethbridge. Game 3 and 4, if necessary, are at Seaman Stadium on Sunday and Monday. Game 5, if needed, would be back in the ’Bridge on Tuesday. All the games start at 7 p.m.
For Dawgs ticket information go to www.dawgsbaseball.ca or call 4-3-262-DAWG (3294).