June 24th, 2024

Bulls walk it off!

By Dale Woodard on August 19, 2021.

Lethbridge Bulls first baseman Ty Penner stretches to make the grab and the out against Sylvan Lake Gulls Cooper Jones in Game 2 of the teams' semifinal Western Canadian Baseball League series Wednesday night at Spitz Stadium. Herald photo by Dale Woodard

With a walk-off, the Lethbridge Bulls will now play for a Western Canadian Baseball League championship.

Tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth with the Sylvan Lake Gulls in Game 2 of the teams’ best-of-three semifinal series Wednesday night at Spitz Stadium, Bulls first baseman and Lethbridge product Ty Penner came up clutch, sending a single up the middle that scored Josh Kabayama from second as Lethbridge posted a 3-2 win and a 2-0 series sweep.

The Bulls now face the Edmonton Prospects in the WCBL championship with Game 1 coming to Spitz Stadium Friday night.

After going 0-for-4 up to that point with a couple deep shots, Penner delivered with the series on the line in the ninth.

“They had (Kyle) Froelich in the game and I knew he was probably going to come with the fastball, he’s a pretty hard-throwing guy,” said Penner, who batted 1-for-5 Wednesday, “Earlier the game I popped up a few. I was just trying to stay on top and got a ball through the middle. I was just trying to keep it simple.”

The Bulls trailed 2-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth before Carlin Dick singled to shortstop and scored on a double from Dalton Demers.

Then with Kabayama drawing a walk to start the ninth and advancing to second on a Mike Fitzsimmons sacrifice bunt, Penner delivered the walk-off dramatics.

“Ty had a great day at the plate,” said Bulls head coach Chance Wheatley. “I think that might have been his only hit, but he was seeing the ball well and just missed couple of home runs, they were just short. It was phenomenal.”

Meanwhile, the for the second straight game, a Bulls starter worked deep as Brad Goodwin – who has played nearly every position for the Bulls this season – tossed eight innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out six.

He didn’t get the win as Ardan Berg came on in the ninth to shut down the Gulls with a walk and a strikeout and no hits, but it was another solid Bulls start after Bryce Oriold-Fraser went the distance in Game 1 in Sylvan Lake Monday to put Lethbridge in a position to sweep and advance Wednesday night.

“Brad gave us an unbelievable start just like Bryce did Monday. Our pitching really picked up the offence,” said Wheatley. “Bryce went a complete game Monday and Brad did eight innings tonight. It sets us up really well for Edmonton. It’s huge for us.”

Penner agreed.

“That’s unbelievable for both guys to do that and it make it more fun to play. Both guys pounding the zone makes it really fun to play behind. Those were huge games for Bryce and Brad. Brad has been the guy for us all year who has played every position on the field.”

Heading into the ninth, Wheatley said there was “tons of energy” in the dugout.

“Not to sound arrogant, but it felt like we were going to score. That’s how I fell most of our guys went into that ninth inning,” said the Bulls bench boss.

“It was a huge win, obviously. They were throwing some good arms at us and the guys just stuck with their approach and came up clutch when it counted.”

After the Gulls went up 1-0 in the first, the Bulls pulled even in the third on Kabayama’s first run of the game as the centre field scored on a Noah Or single to right field.

The Bulls outhit the Gulls 8-7.

Kalem Haney was 2-for-4 for Lethbridge.

Cleary Simpson and Cooper Jones each had two hits for Sylvan Lake.

Froelich took the loss for the Gulls.

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