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Tuesday July 03, 2012
Story By: Jonathan Hodgson
Photo Courtesy: Angela B Photography
Canada Day at Seaman Stadium marked the unofficial halfway point of the 2012 regular season for the Okotoks Dawgs. The fans were in fine form once again, as is the team heading into the second half.
The team struggled to build momentum through the first few weeks of the season, and getting on the field every day was a challenge with the wet weather in the early season, but things seem to have turned around in the last week. Sitting at 9-7, the Dawgs found their bats on a 3-game road trip to Lethbridge and Saskatoon last Wednesday through Friday, as the team would sweep the road trip while scoring 30 runs in the process to move to 12-7, creeping closer to the West Division lead.
The hot streak came just in time for Canada Day Weekend at Seaman Stadium, which saw the Dawgs host Swift Current on Saturday and Sunday. Game 1 of the weekend saw the Dawgs ride a strong performance from the pitching staff, highlighted by a win for Hunter Herdt, and a save for Matt Thornton, while getting a homerun from Trace Tam Sing for the 3rd time in 6 games as the team would edge Swift Current 4-3 in front of a crowd of nearly 2,600.
Canada Day saw the Dawgs and Indians battle it out again, in front of 4,125 fans at Seaman Stadium; the second largest crowd in Seaman Stadium history. In a game filled with offence, the Dawgs were carried to victory by 2-hit efforts from Rylan Chin, Stetson Olson, and Austin Voros. Matt Thornton’s 5th save of the season would close out the 8-6 win.
With 5 straight wins under their belt, it all came together on Monday night in a 10-1 win over Lethbridge. A 4-run first inning, highlighted by a 3-run homerun from Jerod Bartnik, would set the tone for the evening. Bartnik would finish with 4 RBI’s, and four other Dawgs hitters would collect multiple hits while Bret DeRooy dominated on the mound for his second win. The win pushed the winning streak to 6, and the team’s overall record to 15-7, which is good enough for a First Place tie in the WMBL West Division.
The Dawgs have seen several impressive, and key performances turned in on both sides of the ball in the first half. After missing the first few days of the season, Austin Voros stepped into the lineup, and the third year Dawg quickly established himself as a middle of the order presence in the lineup, and the every day left fielder. In 17 games, Voros is hitting a team leading .455 (2nd in WMBL) with 2 homeruns and 19 RBI’s. Another big bat in the order belongs to first baseman Stetson Olson, who leads the club with 4 homeruns while adding 16 RBI’s with a .315 average in 18 games. John Apostolo has counted 2 homeruns and 14 RBI’s while leading the active roster with 10 stolen bases. The club lead for steals is still held by Tyler Hollick (11) who signed with the San Francisco Giants in mid-June.
On the mound, third year Dawg, Danny Britton-Foster has been up to his old tricks. In 20.2 innings over 5 appearances, 3 starts, “DBF” has a 2-0 record and a 2.18 ERA with 14 strikeouts. The bullpen has been lead by the likes of Alex Graham and Matt Thornton. Over 9 appearances, Graham has a 3-0 record and a 1.80 ERA while allowing just 7 hits and 4 walks and has struck out 15 in 15 innings. Thornton has allowed just 1 run in 8 appearances while collecting 5 saves with 13 strikeouts in 9.2 innings.
Entering Tuesday’s game at Seaman Stadium vs. Saskatoon, the Dawgs find themselves in a tie for first place in the West Division with the rival Medicine Hat Mavericks, having trailed the Mavericks by 3 games just days ago. As the team rounds into form, look for names like Trace Tam Sing, Zac Asman, Drew Pettit and Tres Eberhardt among others to have big second half performances offensively, and arms like Ryan Rogers and Bret DeRooy to lead the pitching staff.
The Dawgs have six games remaining on their current home stand before they leave on a pair of road trips, which include stops in Regina, Moose Jaw, Swift Current, and Weyburn. The Dawgs hope to be hitting their peak as the regular season closes out with 5 of the last 8 games being played in Okotoks.
Outside of the wins and losses, it has already been another memorable summer at Seaman Stadium. The support for the team has been spectacular once again, with three crowds of at least 2,600, highlighted by the 2nd largest crowd in Dawgs history when 4,125 fans took in Canada Day at Seaman Stadium. The Dawgs also saw another one of their own begin the next phase of his career, as Dawgs Academy graduate, and 2011-12 collegiate Dawg, Tyler Hollick, was drafted in the 14th round of the MLB Draft in June.
The 2012 Okotoks Dawgs look to be hitting stride as we begin to put an eye on the playoffs. Be sure to join us at the ballpark as we get closer to what we hope is another championship run for the Dawgs, and for Okotoks!