June 14th, 2024

Dawgs down the Bulls

By Dale Woodard on June 29, 2021.

One big inning wasn’t quite enough to earn the Lethbridge Bulls their fourth win of the season.

It briefly gave them the lead, but the Okotoks Dawgs Red promptly grabbed it back on their way to an 11-9 win over the Bulls in Western Canadian Baseball League action Sunday afternoon at Spitz Stadium.

After the Dawgs Red jumped out to a commanding 6-0 lead after three innings, the Bulls bats came to life in the fourth as the hosts pounded out eight runs – including a two-run home run from Ty Penner – for an 8-6 lead.

But Okotoks responded quickly with three in the fifth inning for a 9-8 lead they didn’t give back as the Bulls fall to 3-2 with the loss despite outhitting Okotoks 13-10. With the win, the Dawgs Red are 2-4.

“The bats came and we hit quite well,” said Bulls head coach Chance Wheatley. “You need to win a game like that. But there are still some positives to take from it.”

The Dawgs Red went to work quickly, plating four runs in the first and one more in the second and third for a 6-0 lead.

Lethbridge made that disappear in one inning with eight in their half of the fourth.

The Bulls batted around the order and that gave Penner two at-bats he took advantage of.

The local first baseman singled to lead the inning off and scored on a double from Carlin Dick to make it 6-1 Okotoks.

Dalton Demers and Nick Gravel hit back-to-back singles to score Noah Or and Dick, respectively.

The Bulls kept the rally going as Josh Kabayama laced a double that scored Gravel to make it 6-4 and Mike Fitzsimmons tied it with a single that scored Ty Wevers and Kabayama.

The home side then took the lead in Penner’s second at-bat of the inning as the first baseman connected on a two-run shot.

The lead didn’t last as the Dawgs Red put up three runs in the fifth for a 9-8 lead.

Okotoks loaded the bases with one out when Olivier Vallee and Nash Crowell were hit by pitches and Connor Wong singled.

Vallee scored on a bases loaded walk before Ryder Hancock singled to score Wong and Crowell for a 9-8 lead as the Dawgs Red never trailed the rest of the way.

Lethbridge pulled to within one in the eighth when Gravel scored on an error to second to cut the lead to 10-9, but Okotoks added a little insurance in the ninth. Cole Tucker was hit by a pitch and scored on a wild pitch off Bulls reliever Kade Kahlert.

“All year our bats have been good and we’ve been able to swing it pretty well,” said Penner, whose home run was his first of the year and is now batting .368. “Especially today, it was a positive to take away. We were down 6-0 and we put up an eight spot. So our bats picked us up there. There were probably a few too many free passes today. Normally you would expect that many runs to be a win. But we were happy with the bats today and hopefully we’ll be better next time on the other side of the ball.”

The Bulls earned a weekend split with Okotoks, beating the Dawgs Black squad 16-10 Friday night in Okotoks.

“Friday was another offensively great game,” said Wheatley.

“I can’t say enough about the offence we’ve put up this year. We’ve swung it really well.”

Next up for the Bulls is their Canada Day double header against the Edmonton Prospects (2-2).

The first game goes at 2:05 p.m. with the evening game to follow at 7:35 p.m.

“We’re going to take (Monday) off and regroup,” said Wheatley. “Everyone is excited for Canada Day. Everyone is expecting a big crowd and I really don’t think I need to say anything. They know about it and they’re excited.”

“I’ve had the experience once before two years ago and it’s awesome,” added Penner about the Canada Day experience at Spitz Stadium.

“You don’t need to bring a lot of energy to Canada Day, the fans really supply it all. The atmosphere at Spitz is unbelievable. So we’re expecting nothing less this year and we’re all really excited.”

Or was 2-for-5 with one run scored and Gravel was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Demers hit 2-for-5 with an RBI and Fitzsimmons earned two RBI with his fourth inning single.

Wong paced the Dawgs Red, batting 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBI.

Tucker was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI.

Tyson Kemp was 2-for-2 with one run scored and two RBI and Vallee added two RBI.

Kyle Poapst took the loss for the Bulls, going four and one-third innings and allowing nine runs on seven hits, walking four and striking out three.

Noah Geekie earned the win for Okotoks, coming on in relief of Dawgs Red starter Graham Brunner and tossing three innings, allowing one hit and no runs, walking one and striking out three.

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