By Woodard, Dale on June 17, 2017.
Some solid arms and sound defence has put the Lethbridge Elks in the win column to start the Mary Oikawa Memorial Baseball Tournament.
The Elks doubled the Medicine Hat Moose Monarchs 6-3 to kick off the tournament Friday afternoon at Spitz Stadium.
Lethbridge’s Wyatt Tomalty threw five innings on his way to the win before Raleigh Ferby came on in the last two innings to close out the game.
The Moose Monarchs were able to tag on a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh, but the tournament hosts turned 1-4-3 double play to end the threat and salt the win.
“It was a nice way to start the tournament,” said Elks head coach Scott Oikawa. “I thought Wyatt and Raleigh did a nice job on the mound. Our defence has been fairly solid all year and we made some big plays to hold them down.”
The teams traded runs in the first inning before the Elks added two in the second inning and another in the fourth for a 4-1 lead.
Lethbridge carried a 6-1 lead into the seventh inning, but Medicine Hat cut that lead in half with two runs before a double play ended the tournament-opening game.
With a 1-4 start to the American Legion season and currently on a four-game skid, Oikawa was hopeful Friday’s win will bring the team’s bats back around.
The Elks started their conference schedule with a 14-13 win over Medicine Hat May 30, but lost a pair of double-headers, the first to the Billings Royals (2-0 and 10-2) on June 7 and to the Bozeman Bucks on Sunday (3-0 and 7-2).
“It’s been up and down,” said Oikawa. “We started off fairly well. Our tournament play has been pretty solid. We ran into a bit of a bump in conference play where we just didn’t drive in a lot of runs. That’s going to happen, but hopefully we can make some adjustments this weekend.
“It happens, but with our pitching and defence, it’s been pretty solid this year. So that’s a good sign and hopefully our hitting comes around and it has at times. We didn’t necessarily see it last week.”
The Elks wrapped up the opening day of the Mary Oikawa Memorial Tournament Friday night against the Edmonton East Central Bulls, losing 10-6 to sit at 1-1.
Ferby was the sole multi-hit Elk, going 2-for-3.
Action resumes today, starting with the Moose Monarchs taking on the Calgary Junior Dinos at 9:30 a.m., followed by the Elks facing the Calgary Redbirds at noon.
At 2:30 p.m. the Redbirds play the Bulls and at 5 p.m. the Bulls are back on the field against Medicine Hat.
The Elks wrap up today’s play when they host the Junior Dinos at 7:30 p.m.
The tournament wraps up Sunday.
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