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Friday June 09, 2017
Story by: Dustin Saracini
Fort McMurray, AB. - The Okotoks Dawgs (4-2) dropped their second straight game on the road tonight.
Travelling to Fort McMurray, the Giants (1-5) refused to stay winless in front of their crowd at Shell Place, taking a 12-5 victory from the red and white. Scoring in bunches, combined with strong defence, Fort McMurray found themselves with a 12-0 cushion while the effective hometown product, Tyler Hodder, wouldn’t let the Dawgs climb out of their deep hole.
“I saw a little bit more tentativeness offensively when we got down,” bench coach Dave Robb said following the loss.
“It was a Jekyll and Hyde thing for us. We were swinging the bat early and swinging aggressively but we weren’t getting anything. Then all of a sudden we were kind of feeling for it and not really swinging … We [were aggressive] more at the end of the game.”
Okotoks broke the shutout late in the contest with a Jayse McLean (North Dakota State University) double and Eddie Sanchez (Central Arkansas) RBI groundout. Greg Cullen (Niagara University) then extended his hitting streak to six with a bases clearing triple, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the hefty deficit.
In back-to-back games, it’s been the home team finding the scoreboard early. The Giants racked up three runs in the second inning courtesy of an RBI double from Corey Conklin and a two-run single from Joey Nicastro.
The Giants tacked on five more just two innings later, highlighted by their first home run of the season. Keegan Marsden acted as a catalyst for the Giants offence, launching a ball over the right field wall for a two-run shot, putting Fort Mac in the driver's seat with a 5-0 advantage. The inning was extended by a turf related error in left field, allowing an additional two runs to score before an RBI single chased CJ Lewington from the game.
Fort McMurray wasn’t done there, either. A four-run surge in the fifth inning handed the black and orange a 12-run lead.
The Dawgs wouldn’t be shutout in the seventh, though, setting the tone for the sequel to the series. McLean powered a double over the head of the outfield before Brendan Rose (University of British Columbia - Calgary, AB) singled him home for his fourth base-knock of the season. Following the back-to-back hits was Joel Brophy (Niagara University - Burlington, ON) and Aderly Perez (University of Arkansas Pine Bluff) doing their part to juice the bases with a pair of singles. Sanchez followed through with a groundball to the right side, scoring their second run of the game.
Cullen and the Dawgs didn’t go down without a fight, barrelling his eighth hit of the season to deep right-centre for a bases clearing triple. A seven-run deficit was as close as they would get.
Jose Corrales (Nyack College) from Guatemala made his impressive Dawgs debut tonight, pitching 2.2 innings of shutout baseball.
Okotoks looks to right the ship tomorrow against these same Giants. Coach Robb said the first three innings will be vital.
“Most of all, for us, if we did score early and got ahead early, the pitchers would have more confidence and fill up the zone a little bit more,” he said.
“We play a lot better when we’re ahead. That would be huge for us. Get up, get ahead and see what happens.”
First pitch is scheduled to fly at 7:35pm.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Jayse McLean (R): 1-4, R, .318 AVG
Aderly Perez (R): 2-4, .357 AVG
Jose Corrales (R): 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 K
WP: Tyler Hodder (1-0) LP: CJ Lewington (0-1)