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Sunday June 18, 2017
Photo cred: Amanda Fewer
Story by: Dustin Saracini
Okotoks, AB. - In front of a sold-out Father’s Day crowd, quality pitching prevailed in a low-scoring, 4-1 contest over the (4-8) Brooks Bombers.
For starting pitcher Chris Horvath (Wayne State), it doesn’t get old pitching with over 4,500 sets of eyes on him.
“No, never,” he said.
“Every time it’s great, I love pitching in front of these fans.”
The 6’5”, 230-pounder was solid for the (9-4) Okotoks Dawgs, pitching seven strong innings of shutout baseball (one unearned), allowing six hits. The veteran right-hander out of Wayne State at one point retired seven straight Bombers, while inducing 11 groundouts over the course of his outing.
“Every week I try and get a little bit better,” Horvath explained.
“It was a great team win. Me and coach Joe [Sergent] talked a lot about what I have to do to improve today. We talked about really attacking guys with my fastball and then going from there.”
Behind him, the defence did their part, turning a pair of double plays while committing one error.
With the sticks in their hands, the Okotoks offence capitalized on their opportunities.
For the third straight game, the Dawgs found the plate first, this time in the bottom of the second. Aderly Perez (University of Arkansas Pine Bluff) cracked his third hit in the last two games before stealing second and third. Moving up 180-feet proved to be beneficial, as Perez scored the first run of the tilt on a balk, handing Okotoks a 1-0 lead.
The red and white tacked another on in the bottom of the fifth with just their second hit of the ball game. Greg Cullen (Niagara University) ripped a triple down the right field line to extend his hitting streak to three. Peter Hutzal (Iowa Western - Calgary, AB) then stepped in and did his job, driving a fastball to left-centre for an RBI sac-fly -- stretching the Dawgs lead to two.
Okotoks was up to much of the same just an inning later following a Hutzal two-out, two-RBI double to the right-centre wall. Joel Brophy (Niagara University) set the stage with a walk before Ryan Humeniuk (Indian Hills) advanced to first off a fielders choice. Both were able to cross the plate after the Iowa Western product split the gap, bringing the crowd to their feet while doubling their lead to 4-0.
The Bombers cut the lead to three following the Dawgs’ first error of the game. A soft flair to shallow left field from David Janes was good enough to score Brooks’ first and last run today. For the second straight contest, the bullpen came in and held the opposition in check the rest of the way.
Brennen Lauffenburger (Linn-Benton Community College) came on in his Dawgs debut and pitched to a three-up, three-down inning while Tyler Burdett (Dixie State) earned his fifth save in the same fashion.
On deck is a big, two-game series in Edmonton against the Prospects. Okotoks has a chance to hold on to top spot in the division with a pair of wins. Horvath said it may be a little too early to talk about first place, though.
“We’re still trying to get some things done and figured out,” he said.
“Two big games, we got to go get them.”
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Aderly Perez (R): 2-4, R, 2 SB, .393 AVG
Peter Hutzal: 1-4, 3 RBI, .286 AVG
Chris Horvath: 7 IP 6 H 0 ER 2 BB 4 SO
WP: Chris Horvath (3-0) LP: Cameron Kremers (0-3) SV: Tyler Burdett (5)