The Yorkton Cardinals have struggled as of late in the Western Major Baseball League, but came up with an important split over Okotoks.
The Dawgs are battling for top spot in the WMBL’s West Division and were in Yorkton looking for wins Sunday and Monday, and found one in game-one of the set.
The Cardinals got off to a quick start scoring a pair in the home half of the first inning, and leading the game 3-2 going into the eighth inning.
But the Dawgs would show they still had bite, scoring twice in the eighth inning, and adding one in the ninth to win 5-3.
Sean Kettering of the Dawgs, who is batting .365 on the season hit a home run for his league-leading eighth, and added two RBIs to reach 25 on the season. Kettering leads the league in round-trippers and sits second in RBIs.
Matt Bowles took the loss for Yorkton going 7.1 innings, scaring seven hits and giving up four runs, all of those earned. He struck out seven.
A night later the teams each scattered 12-hits, but Yorkton would use those hits to score six runs, including three in the eighth for a comeback 6-4 win.
RJ Page recorded the win with 1.1 innings of relief for starter David Toth who went 6.2 innings, allowing four runs, three of those earned.
Chris Estrada pitched the ninth for the save.
Cardinal assistant coach John McVey said the win Monday was huge.
“We have been looking for a jumping off point all year, and this could be it,” he said, adding the Dawgs with the second best record in the league are a tough team to beat. “… They’re talented top-to-bottom.”
The game included a five hit inning by the Cardinals, yet they didn’t score a run as two runners were gunned down at home plate.
McVey said the decision to send the runners were his as third base coach.
The game also included a controversial call at first base by field umpire Peter Perrault who called out a runner at first base who seemed to have safely beat out the Dawgs throw.
McVey said the call was one he thought was wrong, adding the Cardinals used it to fuel the eventual comeback.
“Something like that happens it can inject some life into your team,” he said.
McVey said the Cardinals needed the win.
“With a six-game losing streak you look for any life you can get,” he said.
The win Monday ended a six-game losing streak for the Cardinals, who now sit with a record of 10-19, six games off the pace in the WMBL East Division behind front-running Melville. Regina is second in the East two back of the Millionaires.
Weyburn is fourth, seven back of the lead.
The Highway 10 rivalry was on again Friday night, and it was a close one as Yorkton lost 3-2.
But the loss only came after a controversial call at first base. It looked as though Matt Bowles had beat out a hit to shortstop, and scored the tieing run in the process. But field umpire Darryl Zimmer rang Bowles up as an out, a call seen differently by everyone at Jubilee Park, except maybe the Millionaires and their fans who appeared to be handed a gift.
The controversial call ruined what had been an outstanding pitching performance by Cardinal starter Jeff Pool who went the distance allowing only six hits and three runs, two of those earned. He struck out seven.
Jaime Paxton earned the win for Melville based on seven innings of work, allowing only three hits and one run, with eight strikeouts.
Ethan Sharp had the save on two innings of work.
Cardinal Matt Chavarria went three-for-three, with singles in the second, seventh, and ninth innings.
When asked about the call McVey the Cardinal coach wanted to talk about his pitcher first.
“First off Jeff Pool pitched a great ball game, he really, really did a great job,” he said, the adding a tip of the hat to Mills pitcher Jaime Paxton, who kept the Cardinal bats at bay for most of the game.
As for Zimmer’s call McVey said, “it’s a tough one. It’s one of those plays I thought he was safe …
“It’s definitely frustrating to lose on a close call.”
McVey said Bowles would beat out a play like that almost every time, adding “and I believe he had it there.”
McVey said it was a tough way to lose, as the Cardinals were scratching back into the game.
“The guys fought hard. They didn’t give up,” he said.
The teams were to play Saturday in Melville, but the game was postponed due to weather.
July 4th thumping
It might have been a holiday for the Americans on the Cardinal roster, but there was no celebrating on the field July 4 as Yorkton took a 15-7 drubbing at the hands of the Regina Red Sox.
Yorkton was actually up 3-1 through four innings and added three in the fifth to go up 7-1.
However the Red Sox scored 10 in the home half of the fifth, then added single runs in each of the next three innings for the win.
The one bright spot for the Cardinals was Mike Meany slugging his third home run of the season.
Yorkton pitching allowed a combined 19 hits, 11 earned runs, and walked five, as their defence also committed three errors.
Yorkton heads to Regina for action tonight (Wednesday), and Saskatoon in town Friday for a double header.
The Red Sox will visit Jubilee Park in the city Sunday, and next Tuesday Weyburn will be here.