Wheels fall off quickly for Dawgs as Regina clinches title
It was a superb pitching duel right up until the sky fell upon Andrew Kittredge.
Through five innings, the Okotoks Dawgs right-handed fireman had been Mr. Stingy, holding the Regina Red Sox to just three hits. And then came the sixth . . .
Three doubles, two singles and a home run turned Kittredge’s first start since early in the regular season into Custer’s last stand as the Red Sox scored seven runs, en route to a Western Major Baseball League championship-clinching 7-3 victory Saturday night at Seaman Stadium. The Sox won the best-of-five series against the four-time league champions 3-1.
“You can never predict something like that,” said a happy Regina manager Rob Cherepuschak of the uprising. “They put up the one and we always like to respond with a run back, but fortunately tonight it ended up being seven.”
In all fairness, Kittredge was responsible for five of the runs in that fatal sixth. The other two were charged to first reliever Connor Russell — a two-run shot over the left centre-field wall by Randy Ramirez. That clobber followed a prolonged and somewhat confusing discussion about the previous batter, Jason Veyna, who had appeared to hit a grand slam home run off the left field foul pole but ended up having it ruled as a double.
What added to the confusion is that the Dawgs tagged him between second and third while he was taking what he and his teammates thought was a leisurely home run jog.
“I like to let the umpires do their work,” said Cherepuschak. “We thought it hit the foul pole and dropped down. I asked my players and they felt it hit the top of the wall. Randy ended up hitting the next one out anyway, so sometimes it ends up working out for the best.”
It certainly did on this night, for at least one inning.
“I’m extremely proud of what we accomplished all summer,” said a redeyed Dawgs manager Brandon Newell. “Our guys played their tails off and at the end we just kind of ran out of gas. My hat’s off to Regina. They’re a well deserving team. They’ve had a great summer, as we did.
“I think the two best teams met and they took care of us this year. We’ve got a lot of young kids coming back next year and now they’ve had a taste of it.”
Regina starter Braden Keathley put in a yeoman’s night work, scattering six hits before being chased in the bottom of the eighth by a two out, two-run Kasey Coffman home run that wrapped up scoring. Austin Voros also hit a solo homer in the fifth inning to open scoring and break up a two-hit, scoreless duel between the starters.
Not only did Voros’ dinger wake up a crowd of 3,500 but it ignited the Red Sox. Right fielder Chester Pak had four singles in five at-bats for the visitors, while centre-fielder Josh Young went three for four with two doubles in the 11-hit attack.
Jordan Procyshen, the hero of Friday’s game with five hits in as many trips to the plate, extended the streak to six in a row with a single in his first at-bat Saturday. It was one of just seven scattered hits by the Dawgs, nine of whom went down swinging.