Braves 4 Athletics 1
The game-tying run came barreling down the third base line, but two great throws and the Red Deer Midget AAA Braves closed out a third straight win over the Sherwood Park Athletics.
Red Deer was up 4-1 heading into the seventh inning Sunday, but closer Cooper Jones gave up a run and two hits before the third, a double down the left field line.
Left fielder Ty Moline took the ball off the fence and fired a strike to the cutoff man, then another perfect throw hit catcher Hunter Leslie chest high before he tagged the A’s runner for the final out.
“They flared it down the line and Ty came off the wall clean. We still had two make clean throws and we did that. Just execute what you have to do. Got it to the relay man, relay man finish it and put it on home plate and hang on at the dish,” said head coach Dwayne Lalor.
“It was fun; it’s been a long time since we’ve swept the Sherwood Park A’s. They’re already at 20 wins so it feels pretty good.”
The 4-3 win at Great Chief Park Sunday marked a weekend sweep for the Braves. Red Deer took 6-4 and 12-3 wins over Sherwood Park on Saturday. Lalor said it was encouraging to see the offence score four runs off a top pitcher Sunday.
“Today we beat Brayden Cust; he’s one of the better pitchers in the league. He leads the league in strikeouts. We handled him well. Real exciting weekend for us,” Lalor said.
Jones notched two saves in three games and was also key in the win Sunday, cashing in a two RBI double in the fifth inning to give Red Deer a commanding 4-1 lead.
“He closed out yesterday too. Between him and Zach Baker they delivered some power today. Baker hit a home run and a double then Jones hit the big double to give us a two-run cushion. As a group we played the game really well,” Lalor said.
Josh Zinger pitched six solid innings Sunday, striking out six and only allowing one run on five hits.
Overall the head coach added their defence has been strong this season, but on the weekend at home the offence finally caught up.
“We struggled a bit (last weekend) in Kamloops to score but our defence was very good. (Saturday) we broke out of that,” Lalor added.
In the Braves 12-run breakout Saturday, Zach Olson, Baker and Austin Sorokan all had two RBI. Tsar Hester pitched seven strong, only allow two earned runs and struck out five.
Austin Hammond pitched six and two thirds innings in the 6-4 win Saturday. Sorokan and Jones each chipped in two RBI.
Red Deer will welcome the Okotoks Dawgs to town Wednesday, before the Fort McMurray Oil Giants make the trip for a three game set next weekend at Great Chief Park.