The Parkland Baseball League semifinal is heading to a third and final game and the Red Deer Razorbacks are not happy about it.
With an opportunity to sweep the Rocky Mountain Red Dogs on Wednesday night, the Razorbacks looked lost on the field at Great Chief Park, dropping an 8-2 decision to tie the series at 1-1. Game 3 goes on Friday at Great Chief Park at 7 p.m.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t have been able to take these guys in Game 2,” said Razorbacks head coach Darcy Warawa.
“If anything the 12-4 victory (in Game 1 on Monday) had us sitting back on our heels a little bit and we just assumed that it was going to be another easy game to roll through … They didn’t really win it, we lost it.”
Red Deer had won Game 1 12-4 in Rocky Mountain House on Monday.
The Razorbacks did actually lead the game for a couple innings, thanks to a two-run home run to left field by Aaron Tweet in the second inning that put the Razorbacks up 2-1.
Rocky tied the game in the fourth and then took over in the top of the fifth, scoring six runs.
It was a game where what could go wrong went wrong.
The bad mojo started in the third inning when Red Deer’s Teagan Colonna took an errant throw in the face on a pick off attempt by Rocky pitcher Jeremy Brown at first base.
He had to leave the game for stitches.
On offence, they shot themselves in the foot all night with four base running errors, forgetting to tag up on fly balls multiple times, ending potential big innings.
The pitching went off the rails in the fifth inning for Red Deer as they struggled to get anyone out. First they gave up back-to-back doubles that scored two runs early in the inning, then loaded the bases and walked in the next two runs.
They capped it with a bad throw to first on an infield ground ball that scored two more Red Dogs and put the game out of reach.
Chris Grudeski started for Red Deer, but the bullpen — Evan Emerson, Clinton Armitage and Diego Colorado — did not fair much better.
One pitcher who did do well was Brown.
The catch is, he’s not a pitcher at all, he’s their regular centre fielder.
With a roster decimated by people away at work, Brown, 25, was informed on the way to Great Chief Park that he was going to get the start, the first in his life.
He managed to finish it as well, throwing all seven innings and giving up just two runs.
“It’s all we had, we had no one else to pitch and they looked at me, so I stepped in there and we had to win it,” said Brown, now in his eighth season with the club. “I’m pretty happy with it, I didn’t think it was going to go that way.”
Warawa, however, said they did not capitalize on a golden opportunity.
“Brown was just throwing fastballs and we were just hitting balls right at people,” he said. “When we did hit balls at people we then combined that with a base running mistake, so it just made things bad for us.”
In turn what they did do was give life to the underdog, always a dangerous proposition.
“It’s huge, we didn’t even think we were going to make it to this point in the season and we made it here,” said Brown. “Now we’ll just try to win Game 3.”
• The Red Deer Riggers took a 2-1 series lead on the Fort Saskatchewan Athletics with a 10-1 win in the Sunburst Baseball League final on Wednesday at John Fry Park in Edmonton. Jason and Jaret Chatwood had three hits each for the Riggers while Dustin Northcott went seven innings for the win. Game 4 of the best-of-five series goes tonight in St. Albert, Game 5 will go on Friday at Great Chief Park at 7:30 p.m. if needed.