Dawgs tie series
Baseball: Game 5 in Lethbridge last night
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 01:13 pm
An old Dawg has given his team new life.
Three-year veteran Jerod Bartnik slammed a two-out double to score Blake Patterson and Connor Crane in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Okotoks Dawgs to a 4-2 victory over the Lethbridge Bulls Sunday at Seaman Stadium. The win tied the best-of-five Western Major Baseball League series at 2-2.
“He (Bulls reliever Tyson Hudson) left a fastball for me and I was able to take advantage of it,” Bartnik said. “I was lucky to get a ball I could hit. I was waiting for it and I was ready to go.”
The Dawgs Zachiary Johnson got things going with a one-out single, and was replaced by pinch-runner Patterson. Connor Crane then got to first base on a rare catcher’s interference call. Both runners moved up a base on a wild-pitch, setting up Bartnik’s game-winning drive in the gap at right-centre.
Dawgs Academy graduate Shawn Andersen picked up the win, by hurling 4 2/3 scoreless innings after taking over for southpaw Jon Richards who turned in a workman-like effort in allowing two runs over 4 1/3 innings.
“Absolutely my biggest game as a Dawg,” Andersen said. “I had been up and down in the bullpen all season and I was just looking forward to doing my job.”
Andersen came in with the game tied at 1-1 and Bulls on first and second with nobody out. He let a run cross when the Bulls Brandon Blufton hit a shot just to the left of diving shortstop Ellis Kelly to score Cody Stewart to give Lethbridge a 2-1 lead. The Bulls were able to load the bases in the inning, but Andersen was able to strike out slugger Travis Steinke to keep things at just a one run deficit.
He wouldn’t allow any hits over the final four innings, retiring 12 Bulls in a row, before giving up a two-out walk in the ninth. Andersen was helped out by some strong defence. Dawgs leftfielder Scott Hoyt made a diving two-out catch in the seventh inning to keep the Bulls off the basepaths.
The Bulls opened the scoring when Blufton drove in his first run of the night on a single in the third to bring in Stewart to make it 1-0.
Starting pitcher Richards was able to work his way out of a one-out jam with Bulls on first and second to keep the lead at one, thanks to defensive gem by first basemen Crane.
He was able to go across his body and snare a two-out groundball shot from Lethbridge’s Dylan Dyson with Bulls on first and second to end the inning.
“He is a good hitter and I was playing down the line,” Crane said. “He hit a hard one and I was able to grab it.”
Okotoks tied the game at 1-1 when Crane cranked the Dawgs’ first homer of the post-season with a two-out solo shot in the fourth. Crane had been colder than a Winnipeg winter in the series.
He was 2 for 12 before stepping to the plate in the bottom of the fourth.
“It was about time,” Crane said.
“I had been struggling early in the series and to be able to get hold of one really felt good. It was a low curveball that I was able to get under a little bit.”
After the Bulls took a 2-1 lead, the Dawgs tied the game in the seventh when Jordan Peterson knocked in Bartnik with a sac fly.
Okotoks got their first win of the series by downing the Bulls 3-2 in front of a sold-out crowd at Seaman Stadium on Sunday.
Lefty Conor Lillis-White picked up the win, despite being in more jams than an Okotoks commuter on the Deerfoot.
“That was my best outing this year,” Lillis-White said.
“Lethbridge is a good hitting team, but luckily I was able to get out of it.”
Okotoks lost the first two games of the series as they faced the Bulls’ aces.
Alex Regan, a former J Dawg, picked up the win on the mound in Game 1, striking out eight and in a complete game Friday in Lethbridge
Tyrell King took the loss for the Dawgs.
Steinke went three-for-four for the Bulls with three RBI and a homerun.
The Bulls took a 2-0 lead in the series when they scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 2-1 victory Saturday in the Bridge.
Bulls reliever got Dylan Hastings got the win, while starter Scott Cone pitched eight innings of one-run ball.
Bulls coach Ryan MacDonald is glad to be leaving Seaman Stadium and coming home for Game 5.
“It’s a good, tense atmosphere here — kids don’t know how to relax, were young,” MacDonald said after Monday’s game. “Hopefully, we get it done tomorrow.”
The fifth and deciding game was Aug. 5 in Lethbridge.