The Red Deer Braves got another gem on the mound when they needed it most.
Lefty Reese DeRuyter tossed a complete-game, three-hitter for the Braves in a do or die contest against the top team so far at the 18U AAA Western Canada Championships.
DeRuyter three-hit the Saskatoon Cubs and after a single in the first inning at Great Chief Park Saturday held the Cubs two just two hits the rest of the way on just 93-pitches.
“I had all my pitches going. I was throwing my curveball well and my fastball had a bit of extra zip on it, so I was getting some weak contact which helped,” said DeRuyter, who was the Braves MVP.
I throw four different pitches and I talked to a player from another team and they told me (the Cubs) hit a lot of first-pitch fastballs. So, kept them off balance with a lot of changeups and off-speed stuff first pitch.”
His counterpart Maris Brons was equally strong through three and a half innings before the Braves bats woke up. Aldo Rojas started the inning with a loud double before Myles Pallister drove him in with another big double.
Max Benton kept the partying going in the inning with a clutch two-RBI single. That lead was all DeRuyter needed.
“Just a massive weight off my shoulders. I hate pitching in tie games,” said DeRuyter, who struck out three and walked five in the outing.
“It just sucks because you don’t want to give up that gives them the lead. When you have the lead you feel like you’re the winning pitcher.”
Saskatoon still wouldn’t go away quietly. With back-to-back walks in the top of the fourth, Braves catcher Aidan Gehring threw out a runner at second on a double steal for the first out of the inning. The Cubs cashed one run in the frame with a sacrifice fly.
In the sixth, the Cubs threatened again with runners on first and third but only managed to score one run on another sacrifice fly.
With the win, the Braves finished round robin at 2-2 but did not advance to the final.