By Ryan McCracken on July 17, 2017.
The Medicine Hat Mavericks used two monster innings to steer themselves back into the Western Major Baseball League’s win column on Sunday at Athletic Park.
The Mavs cashed nine runs in a landslide third before Colton Wright and Jackson Freed added a pair of two-run shots in the sixth to run away with an eventual 18-10 victory over the league-leading Okotoks Dawgs and snap a four-game losing skid.
“It was good. We needed that,”said Freed, adding it was a particularly emotional day for him on the diamond. “My aunt was killed four years ago today, and I can’t tell you how good it is to hit one for her. God is so good. If God’s not real, I don’t know man.”
“I knew it was going to be a hard day for me, but I’m excited to honour her name today.”
Medicine Hat jumped to an early lead thanks on Chris Caffrey’s 2-RBI double in the home half of the first inning. The long fly ball to right evaded Dawgs outfielder Zack Hanna and sent Blake Rowlett and Wright across the plate after back-to-back walks.
While the Dawgs regained their footing and took over lead with a three runs in the second and another in the top of the third, it all quickly unraveled when the Mavs got back on the sticks.
Dawgs starting pitcher Chris Horvath put himself in a world of trouble after allowing a run on a Rowlett single before loading up the bases with no out and walking in back-to-back base runners. The series of gaffes — which included two bean balls — resulted in an early end to Horvath’s night, but it was only the start of a landslide.
The Mavericks ran the gamut, cashing six more base runners on a passed ball, a sacrifice fly from Frank Podkul, a single from Louie Canjura, a double out of Rowlett and two more on an error by Dawgs shortstop Eddie Sanchez. The Mavericks sent 13 batters to the plate in the frame while flipping a two-run deficit into a seven-run cushion.
“We were seeing the pitcher well,” said Freed, whose Mavs jumped to 19-17 with the win. “We just started putting barrels on balls and good things were happening. “
The Dawgs refused to let the huge inning knock them off stride offensively and answered back with three in the fourth thanks to a 2-RBI double from Matt Lloyd and a sacrifice fly out of Kody Funderburk. Mavericks starting pitcher Barry Caine worked his way out of danger to preserve a four-run lead, but was pulled in favour of Will Ziebol after allowing a one-out base runner in the fifth.
Ziebol was tagged for two runs on a Funderburk double and a bases-loaded bean ball in the sixth inning before Justin Simanek took the mound. The Kent, Wash. product let Okotoks creep within one run on a wild pitch before finally escaping the inning on a strikeout. He went on to end the game with three shutout innings.
But the Mavericks hit back with another haymaker in the home half of the inning. Wright kicked things off with a frozen rope over the right field fence then Podkul slapped his second RBI of the day into left for a single before Freed cleared the bases with another two-run shot to re-establish a six-run lead and snuff out any chance of a Dawgs comeback.
“We never stopped fighting,” said Freed. “We knew they were coming back but we didn’t get too nervous or anything.
Caffrey added a solo shot in the eighth inning to finish his afternoon with 4 RBI then Freed followed it up with an RBI double to increase his own tally to 3.
Caine earned the victory, pushing him to 4-1 on the season after allowing seven runs on 10 hits through 4 and 1/3 innings. Horvath fell to 3-2 with the loss after allowing eight runs on five hits through two frames — the Dawgs to 24-11 on the year.
The victory follows up Saturday’s 9-3 loss at the hands on the Dawgs in Okotoks.
Brady Tedesco dropped to 0-1 with the loss after allowing five runs on eight hits through six innings of work. Dawgs starter Jack Rupe jumped to 1-1 with the win after holding Medicine Hat to a pair of runs on seven hits through five innings.
Wright went 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI, while Canjura added his team’s third RBI in a 2-for-5 effort.
The Mavericks hit the road for Brooks to take on the Bombers tonight at 7:05 p.m.
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