The race is on for the post-season for the Fort McMurray Giants.
With just one week remaining in the Western Canadian Baseball League regular season, the Giants sit in fourth place in the West Division with a 23-25 record. The Giants sit a game and a half up on the Edmonton Prospects (21-26) for the fourth and final playoff position with eight games remaining on their schedule.
The Giants took care of business this weekend as they swept the Prospects in a double header on Sunday in Edmonton. The Giants entered play in 5th place and were able to leap frog the Prospects to get back in a playoff spot with an 8-5 win in Game 1 and a 4-1 victory in Game 2.
“Those two wins were big because now we’re back in 4th place,” said Manager Ray Brown who knew his team had to rebound after dropping three of four against the Lethbridge Bulls at home last week.
The Giants jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead after the first inning Sunday afternoon as they smacked out five hits on Prospects starter Hunter Boyd. Tyler Hodder got the start for the Giants and gave up just one run through six innings as the Giants led 5-1.
In the 7th inning, the Giants scored three in the top half to open up a commanding 8-1 lead but the Prospects weren’t going away easily. A lead-off homerun from Jake MacDonald, followed by a triple and a double chased Hodder from the game. The Prospects brought in four runs before Nick Cardinal recorded the final out to seal the 8-5 win.
Cam Sanderson and Richard Ortiz each went 3-4 at the plate while Max Hewitt was 2-4 with a pair of runs scored but the biggest offensive star was Brady Wood who was 3-3 with three runs scored and two RBI in the game.
“Ever since Weyburn and until the last two games against Lethbridge, our bats were pretty quiet so I think they must’ve put some hitting dust on their bats and woke them up a bit,” said Brown on his team racking up 13 hits over the 7 inning game.
In the second game of the double header it again was another outstanding pitching performance from the Giants. This time from Tucker Sorenson who pitched five and a third innings allowing one run on four hits while striking out four. Sorenson left the game in the sixth inning with the score tied 1-1. In the top of the 7th inning, RBI doubles from Hewitt and Chase Adkison and a single from Wood put the Giants up 4-1. Cardinal entered for a second straight game to close things out and picked up the win.
“We’re at the point in the season where we have to use our best guys and Nick (Cardinal) isn’t going to pitch until Wednesday so I figure if we can use him for an inning which is the same as doing a tune-up in the bullpen, he’ll be ready for Wednesday,” said Brown on using his starting pitcher out of the bullpen.
The Giants will now host the Prospects at Shell Place on Tuesday and Wednesday in the back half of their home and home. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. for both games.
“(Tyler) Hodder and (Tucker) Sorenson came up big time for us. They both gave us great outings. Now on Tuesday they’re going to see (Will) Langford and on Wednesday they’ll see (Nick) Cardinal so I’m feeling really good about those two games also,” said Brown on who he plans to send to the mound for the two pivotal games.
After the two games with the Prospects the Giants will head to Medicine Hat (27-21) for a three game series before finishing the year at home against the Yorkton Cardinals (5-42) on August 5th and 6th.