AXEMEN SUFFER UGLY OPENING DAY LOSS
Posted May 12, 2018
Tonight’s game was a defensive disaster for the Camrose Axemen as they would commit a total of seven errors leading to seven unearned runs in a 11-10 defeat to the Tofield Braves. Due to the errors and a pair of missed fly balls that would end up as Braves doubles, the Axemen offence would be unable to keep the ship afloat despite battling back to re-take a lead on three different occasions in the game.
The offence was working hard right from the first inning against Braves ace Corey Epp. Down 1-0 in the top of the second inning the Axemen would single five times with RBI singles from centre fielder Jordan Riopel, first baseman Kris Kushnerick and catcher Kris Johnson. It would be 3-1 Axemen before defensive errors in the third would make it a 3-3 game. Then former Axemen and Braves pitcher Corey Epp would drive a three run shot over the left field fence to make it 6-3 Tofield.
Second baseman Zach Willms would hit his own three run home run in the top of the fifth after a one out single to left fielder Shaun Painter and a walk to short stop Brendan Erik. The home run would be the last hit Epp surrendered as he would be replaced by long time PBL veteran Ray Lehman to start the sixth inning.
Two unearned Braves runs in the bottom of the sixth once again but the Axemen down, giving Tofield a 8-6 lead. But once again the Axemen offence would battle back scoring four runs in the top of the seventh to make it 10-8. Back to back singles by Willms and now left fielder Zach Bailey would set up the big inning capped off by a RBI single from third baseman Brady Ryan and aided by a couple of Braves errors, the Axemen would find themselves sitting with a lead and the momentum heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Axemen some ugly defence reared it’s head again allowing the Braves to walk it off for the home town crowd. With one out the Braves would reach via a single, an error and a fielder’s choice. With the tying run in scoring position and two out, Braves first basemen Craig Koughan would hit a towering fly ball to centre field for what seemed like out three and the game. It ended up dropping in for a RBI double to tie the game 10-10 and a throwing error on the play would move Koughan to third for the game winning RBI single by centre fielder Craig Neufeld. Heart breaking loss.
Axemen pitchers Zach Bailey and Matt Andreassen combined for eight strikeouts and five walks while the atrocious defence allowed a total of seven unearned runs on the afternoon. The pair of young right handers provided the team with nothign but opportunties to make plays on ground balls and fly balls, however it was not in the cards for the Axemen.
The Axemen will need to look at the positivies of the game which include putting up ten runs against the PBL's best defensive team from 2017 when they allowed a league low 58 runs against. The offence showed that they can put up big innings and clutch hits, something that the team struggled with in 2017 while still in the North Central Alberta Baseball League. The learning experience will have to be taking care of the baseball on defense. Ill advised throws, not paying attention to allow a runner to get into scoring position and misplays while fielding are all things that the team will have to improve on drastically to have a shot at a playoff spot.
On Wednesday May 16 the Axemen will host the Rosalind Athletics at Harry Andreassen Field in Camrose. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00pm and the Axemen are expected to have a full and healthy roster at the game as there is no graduation celebrations happening the night before.
AROUND THE PBL
Eight of the nine teams in the league were on the field on Saturday afternoon with games in Tofield, Armena, Rosalind and Edmonton. The home team was victorius in all four games yesterday;
Leduc Millteers - 2
Armena Royals - 9
Ian Sherbaniuk would dominate the Milleteers as the he would go the distance for a complete game win on Opening Day for the Royals. Offensivley the Royals would have everyone contributing throughout the lineup.
Camrose Axemen - 10
Tofield Braves - 11
Braves outfielder Craig Neufeld would send the home town fans home happy with a walk off two out single after the Axemen committed six errors throughout the game. Braves pitcher Corey Epp and Axemen second baseman Zach Willms would each hit three run home runs and Ray Lehman would make a successful return to a PBL mound picking up a relief win.
Sherwood Park Athletics - 4
Rosalind Athletics - 11
Rosalind outfielder Nic Ronsko would help the Athletics blow out Sherwood Park with a home run on Opening Day.
Holden Blue Jays - 0
Edmonton Expos - 7
Expos opening day starting pitcher Gary LeBlanc would hold the Blue Jays to only two hits as Edmonton easily defeated the Holden Blue Jays for their first regular season win in franchise history.
Upcoming PBL action this week will see the Camrose Roadrunners make their season debut as they travel to Holden to take on the 0-1 Blue Jays. Armena and Tofield will play a home and home this week to get their two games against each other out of the way early. On Thursday baseball fans will be treated to the first re-match of the 2017 PBL Championship Series as the Holden Blue Jays travel to Rosalind to take on the Athletics at 7:00pm.
Tuesday May 15
Camrose Roadrunners (0-0) at Holden Blue Jays (0-1) - 7:00pm
Edmonton Expos (1-0) at Leduc Milleteers (0-1) - 7:00pm
Armena Royals (1-0) at Tofield Braves (1-0) - 7:00pm
Wednesday May 16
Rosalind Athletics (1-0) at Camrose Axemen (0-1) - 7:00pm
Thursday May 17
Edmonton Expos at Camrose Roadrunners - 7:00pm
Leduc Milleteers at Sherwood Park Athletics - 7:00pm
Holden Blue Jays at Rosalind Athletics - 7:00pm
Tofield Braves at Armena Royals - 7:00pm