Good things come to those who wait. Edmonton Prospects fans had to endure 13 scoreless innings in Fort McMurray before their team hit the scoreboard. The Prospects batted around in the 5th inning scoring five runs to give themselves a comfortable 4-run lead. The Giants valiantly fought back making the game anything but comfortable as the Prospects held on to win 7-6. With the series shifting to Edmonton for games on Friday and Saturday, the Prospects will look to win two games in a row for the first time this season.
Making his first start of the season with only a shaky relief appearance under his belt, Dylan Emmons was your Prospects starting pitcher . Emmons retired his first five batters faced. Tristian Richardson broke up the no-hit bid and was thrown out attempting to steal by Prospects catcher Anthony Cusati. Adam North was at-bat when Richardson was thrown out to end the second inning and led off the 3rd inning with a solo home run.
The Giants held the 1-0 lead until the 5th inning when the Prospects offense awoke from its slumber. AJ Nitzschke collected his first hit of the season driving home Tony Olson. With the bases loaded, Matt Coutney hit a 2-RBI double bringing home Percy (Yi-Jia) Liu and Nitzschke. Percy Liu entered the game leading the club in Runs (4), Hits (6), Walks (4) and Stolen Bases (2). Nick Spillman, and his inflated early season batting average of .556, hit a bloop single to drive in two more runs making the score 5-1 Prospects.
In the bottom of the 5th, the Giants would score another run against Prospect starter Emmons. John Loschiavo hit a RBI single to bring home Adam North but Losciavo got greedy. Attempting to stretch a single into a double, Cusati collected his third thrown out batter of the evening gunning him down at second base.
Emmons would pitch into the 6th inning leaving with 1-out and 2-on and a 5-2 lead. Scott Gillespie entered the game and the first batter he faced hit a single to centerfielder Jake Lanferman. One beautiful throw later and the lead runner Richardson was tagged out at home.
In the top of the 7th, Ryan Dunn entered the game for the Giants and immediately ran into trouble. Cusati got his 5th RBI of the season singling home Daylen Calicdan. Spillman collected his 3rd RBI of the evening with a sacrifice fly scoring Coutney making it 7-2 Prospects.
In the bottom of the 7th, Prospects reliever Gillespie gave up a leadoff single which would come around to score on a Liam Rihela double. Lanferman would unfortunately leave the game in the seventh inning after injuring his leg attempting to reel in a fly ball. On that play two more runs would score for the Giants making the score 7-5. Rich Walker came in to relieve Gillespie on the mound and was able to close out the inning without anymore damage being done.
Walker would come back out for the 8th inning and issue a leadoff single to former Prospect Jordan Stickler. Stickler would come around to score and all of sudden we had ourselves a one run game heading into the 9th at 7-6. Head Coach Ray Brown had enough faith in Walker to keep him in there for the final frame. Three quick outs later and the Prospects come back home on Friday with a 3-2 record!
Throwing out three baserunners put catcher Anthony Cusati in contention for the Player of the Game nomination. His 7th inning RBI single sealed the deal.
Friday June 8 – BLUE JAYS DAY – Wear your Toronto Blue Jays gear and bid on in-game autographed Blue Jays memorabilia. The Fort McMurray Giants provide the competition, 7PM start.
Saturday June 9 – CROWN JEWEL NIGHT – pregame community open house at RE/MAX Field. 7:05 first pitch versus the Fort McMurray Giants.