Red Deer Braves catcher Aidan Gehring slides into a tag at third base during the season opener on Saturday against the Parkland Twins in the Norwest Midget AAA Baseball League. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Red Deer AAA Braves lose season opener in extra innings

The Red Deer Braves lost in a 7-5 extra innings thriller to the Parkland Twins in Midget AAA Norwest Baseball League action at Great Chief Park on Saturday.

The home side had a 4-0 lead after four innings, but the Twins battled back and cut the deficit to just one in the fifth.

Parkland pushed ahead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, but a Matt Kohle bunt single helped Red Deer tie the game in the seventh and force extra innings.

With the Twins batting in the eighth, and runners on first and second for the international tiebreaker, a triple off the left field fence scored two runs. The Braves were held scoreless in the home half.

“I thought for the first game of the season that’s what you want,” said head coach Randy Gehring said. “You want lots of at-bats and different guys pitching– Everybody involved. We had our chances to win. Get to extra innings, anything can happen. Tough fly ball over the fielders’ head cost us two runs.”

Gehring said the Braves were missing a few players this weekend due to badminton provincials and the academy season wrapping up, but liked what he saw in the opener.

If Saturday was a sign of things to come, it looks like the Braves will score a lot this year, and that’s the plan according to first baseman Zach Baker, one of the top hitters in the Norwest league last year.

“Just hoping we can be a winning record team. Just hoping we can succeed and be in every game. I think we can be one of the better teams in this league,” Baker said.

“We’re just trying to outscore the other teams most of the time, as long as our pitching holds up, defence will come.”

In his first game at the Midget AAA level, Myles Pallister played some shortstop and pitched in relief of starter Josh Zinger.

The rookie said it was fun to finally hit the field and he’s excited to see what the season holds.

“It was fun, a great time. Love to play baseball outside. Hurt my finger so I didn’t get to play on my academy team,” he said.

“Got all of our firsts out of the way, first hit and all that. It was good and we’ll keep rolling from here.”

Pallister added he intends to make this season a successful one and possibly build towards taking the next step in baseball.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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