BIG WIN - The Red Deer Razorbacks scored an important 9-8 victory in extra innings over the Lacombe Dodgers in Parkland Baseball League regular season action at Great Chief Park last Friday. The win means the Razorbacks will head into the PBL final tournament in Lacombe this weekend in second place overall.

Red Deer Razorbacks head to final tourney

The Red Deer Razorbacks will be heading into their final tournament full steam ahead this weekend.

Red Deer’s senior men’s AA baseball team proved why they have been one of the top teams in the Parkland Baseball League this season when they picked up a huge win over the visiting Lacombe Dodgers at Great Chief Park last Friday night.

“The game was good. We had some battles, some base running errors. But the boys worked hard. We’re a scrappy team and we pulled it off,” said Razorbacks’ second baseman Mark Weiss of the 9-8 victory, which required extra innings.

The Friday night barn burner was a back and forth affair, with neither team being able to really pull ahead, despite numerous attempts by both sides.

It was a tough night on the mound for pitchers on both ends, as the batters smacked base hit after base hit to run up the scores. By the top of the sixth of seven innings, the score was deadlocked at eight runs apiece.

“We were happy with the way it went. We grinded it out and, like I said, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” said Lacombe Dodgers player Andre Touchette of his team’s play.

Tochette added the Dodgers weren’t putting too much stock into the game.

“We’ve got our big league tournament coming up next weekend, so that’s what we’re focusing on right now.”

The matchup came to a head in the bottom of the seventh inning, with the Razorbacks trailing the visitors 9-7.

After putting up a couple of quick runs to draw even again, the home team found themselves with runners on the corners and two out. A base hit would mean the game was over while an out would mean the game would be heading to extras.

Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, there was a third scenario that not many people could have seen coming, as they managed to smack a base hit into shallow centre field and score the run, but the runner on first base forgot to touch second before heading in to celebrate with his teammates.

The base running error resulted in a force out at second which ended the inning, meaning the run didn’t count. We were heading into extras.

Luckily the error wasn’t too costly as the home team slammed the door in the top of the final inning before grinding out one final run to seal the deal in the bottom of the eighth.

“It felt good. I was one of the guys who made an error on the running earlier, so it was good to get some redemption there,” said Weiss, who picked up the walk-off RBI hit for the Razorbacks.

The win put an exclamation point on a solid regular season of baseball for the Red Deer team, who finished with a 12-4 record, which tied with the top-ranked Innisfail Eagles. It was only by run differential that the home team finished short of the top spot.

“It was a pretty good year. We’ve had some pretty good battles with Innisfail, they ended up first. We’ve had some close games, I think this is three games now that we’ve gone into extra innings. So it’s been a lot of games like this through the year,” said Weiss.

“I think we’ve got a pretty good shot. Innisfail’s top of the league, but going into the tournament I think we’ve got a good chance.”

He added that the win was an important one for the Razorbacks, as it solidified their position in the standings heading into next weekend’s final tournament.

“I think it’s big because we’re going to end up playing Lacombe first off. This game decided that; this game decided second and third. So we’re going to play them first off, we’ll be home team now with this win. It gives us last at-bats and we showed tonight what last at-bats can do.”

The Parkland Baseball League final tournament will be held this Friday through Sunday at Michener Park in Lacombe, with the Riggers and Dodgers taking the field at 1 p.m. on Saturday in quarter final action. The top two teams in that tournament will advance to the best of three final.

zcormier@reddeerexpress.com