The Fort McMurray Giants will finally get to enjoy beautiful Shell Place for more than just a handful of games as the team returns home after a six game road trip.
The club has played 17 of their first 23 games on the road to start the season and currently find themselves in fourth place in the Western Division with a 10-13 record.
After a rough start to the season that saw the Giants go 1-4 on their opening road trip, the team has played .500 baseball the rest of the way going 9-9 in their last 18 games.
The up and down season was evident on their most recent road trip as the Giants dropped their first two games in Brooks before winning three of the last four to end the trip including a two game sweep in Lethbridge.
The Giants hope they can ride that momentum back up Highway 63 when they open a 13 game homestand Saturday night against the Brooks Bombers at Shell Place. It will be the Giants longest homestand in their four year history and will see the team play Brooks (6-17), Moose Jaw (11-11), Melville (9-15) and Okotoks (18-5) over a 16 day span.
The Giants struggled out of the gate on their road trip as the bats were ice cold in their opening game in Brooks as they fell 1-0 to the Bombers. Keith Manby and Ryan Moroz were outstanding on the mound only allowing the one run on five hits but the Bombers Nick Garcia was just slightly better pitching the complete game shutout and holding the Giants to five hits. The following night was the complete opposite as both teams pitching staffs were lit up in a 17-10 Bombers win. A combined nine homeruns in the game with the Giants hitting five from Eric Meyer, Richard Ortiz, Peyton Crispin and Max Hewitt with a pair.
The Giants needed a better effort Monday night to come away with their first win in Brooks of the season and they got just that, picking up a 10-7 victory. BJ Minarcin led the way offensively with his first homerun of the season and picking up three RBI’s while Brennan Hatten got the win out of the bullpen.
The Giants then headed to Okotoks for a date with the division leading Dawgs who are currently the only team in the Western Division with a winning record at 18-5. The Giants received another stellar pitching performance with Nick Cardinal going the distance on the mound but the run support just wasn’t there as the Dawgs slipped away with the 2-1 win. Okotoks has taken all three meetings so far this season against the Giants with two of the games being decided by just one run.
Looking to salvage the road trip, the Giants put forth a dominate performance in Lethbridge on Wednesday as they hammered the Bulls 12-2. Will Langford had his longest outing of the season going seven innings and striking out four. Max Hewitt and Cam Sanderson each had three RBI’s while Chase Adkison and Peyton Crispin had three hits in the ball game.
Needing another win Thursday night to come away with a 3-3 road trip, the Giants fell behind early as the Bulls jumped on starting pitcher Jordan Williams scoring six runs in the first two innings to open up a 6-1 lead. But that was all the Bulls offense could muster as the Giants bullpen shut the door and allowed their bats to get them back in the game. The Giants tied the game 6-6 in the top of the 9th inning to force extra innings. The game went all the way to the 12th inning when Eric Meyer scored Chase Adkison with a base hit and then Tanner Hess belted a two run homerun to give the Giants a 9-6 lead. Ryan Moroz finished the job with a scoreless bottom half of the 12th and the Giants swept the two game set against the Bulls. Ike Buxton, Tyler Hodder, Tristian Richardson and Moroz pitched 10.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen in the win.
The Giants open their homestand with a four game set against the Bombers beginning Saturday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
The Two teams will play a double header on Sunday with games at 2:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m and then the big Canada Day game is Monday at 6:05 p.m.