By Matt Inglis
The Kelowna Falcons’ push for the West Coast League playoffs made some headway Tuesday night with a 6-4 victory over the Wenatchee AppleSox. The North division rivals were in Kelowna for game one of a three-game set, a series with strong post-season implications for the birds.
With just 11 games remaining on the regular season schedule, every pitch and at-bat carries weight for the Falcons. The North division is dead heat right–coming into Tuesday’s matchup, the Falcons were part of a four-way tie for first place.
With the victory pushing their second-half record to 9-7, the Falcons are now tied with just one club, their Canadian counterpart Victoria Harbourcats, who have already clinched a playoff berth of their own with a masterful first half of the season.
Tuesday was a ‘complete game’ in a sense for the Falcons. The bats had some pop, while the pitching staff held the AppleSox at bay with some help from a solid defense.
Right-hander Blake Randazzo started the game for the Falcons, and went 7 1/3 strong innings, allowing 4 runs and just 1 walk on the way to his third win of the season. Riley Moore pitched in relief, going 1 2/3 innings, tossing a clean sheet and earning the save.
The team put together 7 hits on the night from 6 different batters. Outfielder Jesse Moore stole the show for the offense, going 2-for-4 including a pair of booming doubles to left field. Moore batted in two runs on the night and scored one himself. Middle infielder Lane Lacrone drove in his 12th RBI, and added his 39th hit of the season, both adding to his team-leading totals.
The six-run, seven-hit performance wasn’t even the most impressive stat of the game. The entire team was making contact all night, totalling just 3 strikeouts for all 11 batters that saw time at the plate.
Falcons’ coach Bryan Donohue saw his team give up a big home run in the eighth, but besides that, he had very few complaints after the game. “On their end, one big swing gave them two [runs], the other two were just guys putting balls in play.”
Donohue gave his pitchers credit for limiting the opposing offense, and not giving them any real chances to come back. “It’s tough for them to play catch up when we aren’t allowing them to string hits together.”
With first place in now hand, it’s up to the Falcons to keep the momentum rolling and try to separate themselves from the pack. They’ll look to do just that on Wednesday back at Elks Stadium for game two of the series.
O’Keeffe Hall will get the nod on the mound for Wednesday’s matchup, that game is set to get underway at 6:35 PM.