By Matt Ingiis
The Gresham GreyWolves were in Kelowna Wednesday night to open the second half of the 2016 WCL season. After finishing the first half with a 13-14 record, the Falcons hoped to come out swinging and put their early struggles behind them. That wasn’t in the cards in game one of the series though, as they fell 3-2 to the visitors.
It was an issue of timely hits, a story all too familiar for the birds. Despite getting plenty of contact and racking up 10 hits, they couldn’t seem to cash in when it mattered the most.
Falcons coach Bryan Donohue was frustrated, not with his team’s overall play, but with their execution in scoring situations. “Too many runners left on base. Second and third with one out, chance to tie it or take the lead with a hit…we were knocking at the door.”
It wasn’t just the Falcons’ bats failing to make contact when it counted though. Credit to the GreyWolves pitcher, Andrew Heideman, who went the complete game.
Opposite him, Tanner Knapp started for the Falcons. The righty went 5 1/3 innings, giving up 7 hits, 3 runs, and walking 2. It wasn’t the finish Knapp wanted, after coming out and retiring the first 6 batters he faced.
Both teams scored all their runs in the 4th inning, right fielder Joey Crunkleton and center fielder Chandler Robertson each drove in a run while infielder Bowen Ogata and catcher Brendt Citta scored the runs for their club.
The bullpen was a point of strength on the night, something coach Donohue was relieved to see. “What our bullpen did tonight was what we’ve needed them to do for a long time. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t score the runs to make it pay off.”
It was an impressive outing for the ‘pen. Righties O’Keefe Hall and Max Carter pitched in relief, combining for 2 1/3 innings, allowing just a hit each and only one walk between them.
After a close outing, the Falcons are hoping to bounce back and start capitalizing on runners in scoring position. They’ll get a chance on Thursday, game two of the series is slated for 6:35 PM at Elks Stadium.