In a season full of firsts, the Sylvan Lake Gulls made sure to add another to the list in style.
In front of another huge crowd of over 1,000 people at Gulls Stadium Monday night, the Gulls earned a 5-3 victory over the Okotoks Dawgs Red, to clinch a berth in the Western Canadian Baseball League playoffs.
Sylvan Lake will finish the regular season with a four-game home and home series against the Lethbridge Bulls, to determine where they finish in the standings.
As it sat on Tuesday, the Gulls were 5.5 games behind the Okotoks Dawgs Black for first place, but just 1.5 games behind the Bulls for second. The Gulls are 7-3 in their last 10 games, including Monday’s win.
Sylvan Lake fell behind 2-0 Monday, but Red Deer’s Cleary Simpson singled home a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to tie the game at two.
Tyler McWillie hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth to put the Gulls ahead 3-2, before Kyle Froelich and Cooper Jones each added a sac fly of their own in the seventh.
Evan Wilde started on the mound for the Gulls, allowing two runs on two hits while striking out five over three innings. David Stewart, Brett Higgins, Finnigan Duffield, Jaret Arnold and Kyle Smyth combined to close out the victory, allowing just four hits and one run.
The Gulls also picked up a pair of wins over the weekend, shutting out the Okotoks Dawgs Red 5-0 on Sunday and topping them 6-2 Saturday in Okotoks.
In the shutout, Simpson went four-for-four and Logan Grant and Jackson Clemett had a pair of hits each. Nolan Weger, Clemett, Charlie Towers and Dylan Edmands had RBI in the victory.
Ty Boudreau tossed a gem on the mound for the Sylvan Lake, going seven innings allowing just one whit while striking out eight. Shayne McTavish allowed one hit in two innings of work to close the game out.
In Saturday’s win, Jones had a two-RBI double in the top of the ninth as the Gulls combined for 12 hits. Jake Lanferman and Weger also had an RBI, while Matt Bondarchuck, Towers and Clemett each had two hits.
Froelich had a dazzling start, allowing two runs and five hits over eight and a third innings. He struck eight and threw 108 pitches, including 77 strikes before Arnold got the final two outs to close out the victory.
The WCBL playoffs will get underway Aug. 16.