Red Deer Braves player Ben LeBlanc makes it to first base in Sunday’s game against the Fort McMurray Oil Giants. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer Carstar Braves sweep weekend series against Fort McMurray Oil Giants

The third-game victory was hard won

After winning a “marathon” game on Sunday, the Red Deer Carstar Braves swept a weekend series against the Fort McMurray Oil Giants.

The two Midget AAA teams played twice Saturday at Great Chief Park, followed by a game that lasted more than three hours on Sunday. The Red Deer Braves chalked up three wins, scoring 2-0 and 5-4 on Saturday, and 18-14 on Sunday.

That last ballgame wasn’t easy victory.

Although Saturday’s doubleheaders were short, lasting less than three hours all together, Braves coach Dwayne Lalor called the third game a test of endurance: “It was a marathon.”

The Braves started out strong on Sunday, gaining three runs in the first inning. But the Fort McMurray team took advantage of some miscalculations on the Braves’ part, and rallied, tying up the score 11-11 at the top of the 6th.

The Red Deer team pushed back hard, bringing seven players home later in the same inning.

The bases were loaded at one point when Hunter Leslie swung hard, hit long, and brought a couple of players home. This helped turn the tide in the Braves’ favour.

While the series sweep by the Red Deer team hurt a little, Oil Giants assistant coach Kevin Breen noted at least the games were close. “We’d like to win a few, but it wasn’t a terrible weekend.”

Breen took the opportunity on Sunday to play some pitchers who haven’t had a chance to throw much. Although the long game, “went back and forth, we got behind early and I guess we couldn’t get going,” he concluded.

Lalor was generally happy with the Braves’ efforts. Although he feels his team gave up a few runs in the fourth inning “by trying to make a play that wasn’t there,” he said, “our energy level was good, we were aggressive…

“We need to clean up a few things defensively, but it was nice to get the wins.”

Lalor credited Cooper Jones, Zach Baker and Zach Olson for their consistently strong play, as well as the weekend’s pitchers: Tsar Hester, Austin Hammond, Josh Zinger, Jared Arnold, Aidan Gehring and Cooper Jones.

The Red Deer Braves play a make-up game on Monday against the Calgary Clubs in Calgary. They then play at home on Wednesday evening against the Calgary Jr. Dinos.

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