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Wednesday August 02, 2017
Photo by: Angela Burger
Story by: Dustin Saracini
Okotoks, AB - The series is all tied up headed to Edmonton tomorrow as the (1-1) Okotoks Dawgs dropped a close, 2-1 tilt to the (1-1) Prospects tonight.
Despite the loss, Justin Vernia (Gonzaga University) kept the Dawgs in the contest all night long, tossing a complete game -- a season high for the club -- while allowing just two runs. Over the course of nine innings, Vernia fanned seven Prospects, en route to the best outing of the campaign for Okotoks.
“He was just outstanding,” assistant coach Dave Robb said following the game.
“He challenged everybody, he got the 3-2 counts and we just didn’t get the runs early … He was phenomenal and we weren’t afraid to go to that 100 pitches and get that far in the game with him, he’s a senior and everything … Last week he wanted to go farther in Edmonton but we said no.”
Eddie Sanchez (Central Arkansas) had a big night at the plate, tallying three-hits, highlighted by a towering double to right field in the ninth inning. In the end, with everyone at the edge of their seats, the red and white weren’t able to cash him in from third base.
Missed opportunities was the catalyst in the Dawgs’ loss tonight. After Okotoks was unable to capitalize with the bases loaded in back-to-back innings, Edmonton broke the scoreless deadlock in the top of the third. A leadoff single from British Columbia’s Anthony Cusati came around to score before the third base-knock of the frame made it a 2-0 contest, handing the Prospects their first lead of the series.
Robb said playoffs is about timely hitting.
“We had the runner at third and we didn’t execute. We execute early and it’s a one-run game,” he noted.
“If we were to execute earlier … that would have made a big difference.”
It took seven innings for the Dawgs to get on the board -- failing to be shutout in all of 2017 -- but they did so courtesy of the MVP, Kody Funderburk (Dallas Baptist). Ryan Humeniuk (Indian Hills) led the inning off with a solid single up the middle, swiping second on a wild pitch and moving to third on a deep fly to left field. The Dallas Baptist product saw something he liked first pitch, looking in a fastball and driving it past the outstretched glove of Anthony Olson at second base for an RBI single.
The lone-run was the was the first time all year Okotoks was held to that number. They head to Edmonton tomorrow looking to bounce back.
“Right now, there’s so many ups and downs,” Robb said.
“It’s a real rollercoaster ride for these guys … you got to play the game even-keeled, they’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to make mistakes. [We have to] try and not ride on that emotion, because as soon as you get up, just as quick, you can get down, we don’t need that, we need to play nine solid innings.”
First pitch is set for 7:05pm.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Justin Vernia (R): 9 IP 8 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K
Eddie Sanchez: 3-5 , .500 AVG
WP: Justin Vernia (1-0) LP: Eric Sabrowski (1-0) SV: Andrew Mirast (1)