By Lethbridge Herald on June 3, 2015.
Getting production from the bottom of the batting order is how teams start undefeated.
For the Lethbridge Bulls Tuesday night at Spitz Stadium, it was second baseman Trace Hansenâ€™s turn. Hitting in the seventh spot, he went four-for-four and scored three runs to lead his team to a 6-4 win over the visiting Medicine Hat Mavericks.
â€œI just got the bounces tonight,â€ Hansen said following the win that improved the Bullsâ€™ record toÂ 4-0 on the young 2015 Western Major Baseball League season.
â€œIt was a good win for us. We just need to play better defence, but we hit it well and hopefully we can keep it up.â€
â€œItâ€™s not a good night for baseball,â€ said Bulls head coach Ryan MacDonald, acknowledging the cold and consistent drizzle which limited the offence early on. â€œBut any way we can find a way to get out and pick up a W in conditions like this and keep rolling to 4-0 is a great start to the season.â€
Jared Bell gave up one run on seven hits in a five-inning pitching outing for the Mavs. But when Riley O’Rourke entered in relief duty during the bottom of sixth, the Bulls opened up the game by scoring four runs.
The rally started with a single to shallow left by Hansen, who later scored on wild pitch. Bulls centrefielder Cody Stewart added a bunt single to load the bases and Ryan Pidhaichuk had a sacrifice fly to score Mason Shiflett.
DH Travis Steinke also hit a two-run double off new Mavs pitcher Jake Cook.
â€œThatâ€™s how itâ€™s been the first four games, weâ€™ll go quiet for a few innings and then erupt,â€ said MacDonald.
Medicine Hat opened up 1-0 in the top the first on an RBI infield hit by Ryan Helgren. The Mavs also forced Bulls starting pitcher Pat Kelley to throw 38 pitches in the top half of the first, but couldnâ€™t capitalize further.
Kelley pitched five complete innings, allowing three hits and only that one run.
â€œPat came out and gave us a strong outing,â€ MacDonald said. â€œHe gave us five strong and the bullpen that we have; we knew we had some guys who keep it close.â€
The Bulls, who also beat the now 0-4 Mavs on Monday in Medicine Hat, tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the second when Hansen scored on an overthrow error.
Andrew Grieder threw a scoreless seventh for the Bulls, before the Mavs scored three off Lethbridgeâ€™s Reno Dupuis in the eighth. Devin Johnson hit a double, then he and Aaron Green both scored on a throwing error by Bulls shortstop Evan Comeau.
Medicine Hat added another run on an RBI single by Mitch Doucette, to make the score 6-4, but couldn’t amount to anything in the ninth off Bulls pitcher Chris Stodolka who came in and earned the save.
The Bulls will next host the undefeated Edmonton Prospects on Thursday and Friday. Game times both nights are 7:05 p.m. at Spitz Stadium.