Dawg days of summer are over
Baseball: Mavericks ends Okotoks’ season for third straight year
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Monday, Aug 11, 2014 09:58 am
The Underdawgs just couldn’t get over the Medicine Hat Mavericks.
The Okotoks Dawgs, who had comeback from a two-game deficit in the opening round of the WMBL playoffs, , weren’t able to pull the trick again when they lost 7-5 to the Mavericks in front of 3,245 fans at Seaman Stadium Sunday night.
The victory gave Medicine Hat a 3-1 victory in the best of five West Division final.
“The only disappointment I have is I don’t get to coach these guys anymore,” said Dawgs head coach Brett Thomas. “Our guys left it all on the field.”
It just wasn’t enough.
The Dawgs jumped out to a 5-1 lead after four innings, but the Mavs chipped away and finally took the lead in the eighth inning on Medicine Hat’s Garrett Wiese’s seeing-eye blooper in short right field which landed just out of the reach of the hustling Dawgs second baseman Mark Riendeau.
“It was just one of those bloopers, I thought I was on it, but that’s baseball — a game of inches,” Riendeau said.
You can call it a blooper, or a Texas leaguer, what mattered to Wiese was it was the game-winning hit.
“It wasn’t pretty I was just trying to get a bat on the ball,” said Wiese, who had three hits and three RBI. “We had been struggling with men in scoring position and haven’t been able to get the big hit.
“It wasn’t a great swing, but I knew it had a chance and I watched it fall.”
The Dawgs had taken an early 2-0 in the second inning when the red-hot Zachiary Johnson opened the inning with a double and then Connor Crane got to first on an error.
Jerod Bartnik then doubled to bring in both Dawgs.
They were poised to score more with runners at the corner when Brendan Rose stepped to the plate and hit a laser up the middle. However, Mavs pitcher Kenton Schroter snared the beamer, to not only save some valuable body parts but saves some runs when he doubled up Riendeau at first base to end the inning.
The Mavs would close the gap to 2-1 in the fourth when Bryan Arthur tripled to score Sheldon Daquioag from first.
Okotoks would counter with three runs of its own in the bottom of the inning when Scott Hoyt hit a two-out double to bring in Bartnik and Riendeau. Hoyt would score later in the inning on a Maverick error.
The Mavs would come back in the top of the fifth to score two to close the gap to 5-3. They would tie the game in the seventh at 5-5 when starter Tyrell King and reliever Travis McDonald walked in a run each with two outs.
King said he was pressing a bit in the game.
“I was trying to be too fine with my pitches rather than just pitching it,” King said. “I just had to relax. I realized I was doing it, but it was too late.”
However, the Dawgs didn’t rollover in the bottom of the seventh.
Mario Sanchez led off with a single and advanced to second on a bunt by Ellis Kelly. With two outs, Johnson, who went 9 for 18 against the Mavs, launched a rocket to deep left field.
However, Mavs leftfielder Devin Johnson, who was just put in for defensive changes, turned his back and chased it down at the wall.
“Props to the guy who caught it — I didn’t think anybody in the whole stadium thought he was going to get to it,” Zachiary Johnson said. “He had an amazing catch.”
The Mav outfielder said he just never gave up on the ball.
“I just saw the ball, put my head down and ran, stuck my glove out and caught it,” Devin Johnson said. “Fortunately we were playing a little back because he had been hitting so well.”
The Mavs would then take the lead for good in the eighth inning.
The Dawgs had trounced the Mavericks 21-5 in Game 3 Saturday at Seaman Stadium. Kelly, Johnson, Crane and Taylor Fish homered for the Dawgs in front of 3,873 fans. Johnson had five hits and five RBIs in the game. The Dawgs put themselves in an early hole when they lost the opening two games of the series in Medicine Hat on Thursday and Friday. They couldn’t pull many runs out of the Hat as only one Dawg crossed the plate in the opening two games.
The Dawgs lost 2-1 in the opener on Thursday, with Conor Lillis-White picking up the loss. Okotoks was shutout 4-0 in Game 2 Saturday.
It was the third consecutive year the Dawgs’ season was ended by the Mavericks.
Okotoks advanced to the West Division final by beating the Lethbridge Bulls 6-4 in Lethbridge Aug. 5 to win Game 5. The Dawgs had been down two games to zero at one point.
The Mavericks will now take on the East Division champions Swift Current Indians for the Western Major Baseball League title. It is the third consecutive year the Mavericks will play for the title. They lost to the Melville Millionaires last year and to the Regina Red Sox in 2012.
For more information go to www.wmbl.ca