Pardon the pun, but the Kelowna Falcons (4-1) baseball team is flying high. The Falcons won their fourth straight West Coast League game Wednesday night in Walla Walla, WA, and have now officially won the series against the Sweets by taking at least two out of three.
The game was nail bitter all the way through, with the Falcons finally prevailing in extra innings by a score of 4-3.
The winning run was none other than Joseph Shepherd, the speedy right fielder. He started his play by ripping a double down the left field line. He used an errant pitch to jog easily into third before another wild pitch gave him the opportunity to run home.
He slid in a cloud of dust and when it all settled, he was declared safe by the home plate umpire.
The game had it’s fair share of crazy moments. In the bottom of the tenth inning, the Falcons were trying to preserve the tie and move on to the eleventh, where they could bat. They had one out, and were in dire need of a couple more. Then in one crazy play, they found them. The way it happened however, was incredibly odd.
Bryan Donohue had this to say, “We were looking to just get the sure out. Turning two would be great, but if we can’t let’s just get that first out. What I think happened is that the base runner thought we turned two. The first thing he saw was an out being recorded at first. He then must have thought we flipped it to second.”
In reality, Daniel Nist had just made the out at first and was still holding the ball. The Sweets runner was halfway between Brendt Citta at home and Jake Druce at third at this point. Nist gunned it to Druce who made the swiping tag to end the threat.
When asked which players impressed, Donohue was quick to point to short stop Lane Lacrone. He said, “he laid bunts down, I think he had three hits, rbi singles, he made every defensive play. He was just a bulldog for us.”
Donohue also heaped praise on his three pitchers, Blake Rendazzo, Connor Stevenson and Stephan Morrison. “Stevenson did a great job of coming in and just being consistent, keeping the score where it was and giving us a chance to win the game.”
“It was an awesome job of Morrison coming in and going three up and three down. That’s tough to do. He’s running out there wearing a uniform he’s never worn, playing with guys you’ve never played with, throwing to a catcher you’ve never thrown to. That was huge.”
Morrison was credited with the win in his first appearance.
The Falcons are quickly earning themselves a reputation as a scrappy and resilient bunch. Donohue wasn’t surprised his team is like that, and despite the win, he knows they still have things to work on. “We can’t strike out that much,” Donohue said. “We struck out a lot looking. But those are things that we can eliminate as the season goes on.”
Donohue used an interesting metaphor to describe his team, borrowing from a shark, which is considered an apex predator. “This team, it’s like when we smell blood in the water, we’re going to get it done. That was good to see that we closed it out the way that we did.”
The Falcons will now look to sweep the series against the Sweets tonight. They won’t be seeing the team out of Walla Walla again until August. The boys in red and blue will return home Friday for a three game set against the Victoria Harbourcats that will go Friday through Sunday.