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Wednesday May 11, 2016
After both going a perfect 3-0 in round-robin play and winning their semi-final games, the table was set for another Championship game between the Okotoks Dawgs 18U Black and the Langley Blaze. Earlier this year, the Dawgs managed to win their first Best of the West Tournament in program history; defeating the Langley Blaze by a score of 2-0. This time, the Blaze looked to avenge their loss and beat the Dawgs on their home turf at Seaman Stadium in their host tournament, the Perfect Game Mother’s Day Classic.
Both teams had senior arms available in the Championship, making for a great match-up between Nathan Tovell of the Dawgs and Corey Jackson of the Blaze.
The Dawgs would jump out to an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Brett Esau, scoring Jacob Bouzide. The Blaze were determined to bounce right back, and they did, manufacturing a run after a lead-off single by Daniel Berg scoring on a fielder’s choice and tying the game at 1-1.
The score would stay that way until the top of the 4th inning when the Dawgs managed to put up 3 runs, highlighted by a two-run single by Ashton Roy on a line drive to right field scoring Justin King and Brett Esau. Roy would later score on a sacrifice fly by Soren Graversen.
Proving resilient, the Blaze answered right back after an RBI double by An Pan to left-center field to score Hardie from second base; pulling the Blaze within two runs by a score of 4-2.
Tovell ended up pitching 5 complete innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits.
The score would remain 4-2 until the bottom of the 6th when Dawgs relief pitcher, Zach Rabe, had some bad luck. After a lead-off walk, followed by two quick fly-ball outs, Blaze player An Pan would come up in the clutch with a 2-out RBI double to make it 4-3 and advancing to third base on the play at the plate. Down to his last strike, Blaze outfielder Cantron would beat out an infield single to tie the game at 4-4.
After being shut down in the top of the 7th, the Dawgs brought in standout pitcher Ben Thompson. Proving tough to hit, Thompson would manage to retire the side in order and setting the table for a dramatic finish.
In the top of the 8th, Aaron Bender led the inning off with a line-drive single to left field. Greg Student was then brought into the game as a pinch runner, when Ryan Humeniuk laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Student to second base. After a passed ball, Student advanced to third. With two outs and the go-ahead run now 90 feet away, Clayton Keyes battled to get himself into a 2-2 count when he came up clutch with an rbi single down the 3rd baseline scoring Student to put the Dawgs up 5-4.
Thompson would prove to be unhittable in the bottom of the 8th, retiring the side in order to clinch the Championship for the Dawgs.