IT'S A WALKOFF WIN FOR THE AXEMEN
Posted May 16, 2018
Tonight the Axemen picked up their first Powerline Baseball League win in dramatic fashion with a walk off single from centre fielder Kyler Kupka. The 9-8 win over the Rosalind Athletics is the second walk off the Axemen have been a part of in as many games. On Saturday the Axemen were the victims of a walk off by the Tofield Braves.
Manager Zach Willms would give the ball to lefty John Robbins for the home opener. The young south paw would get through 4.2 innings throwing 91 pitches and allowing 6 runs with only 2 being earned due to some errors by the Axemen infield. Robbins would strike out 3 and allow 5 hits but would leave in the 5th inning with a pair of Athletics on. Willms would turn to right hander Matt Andreassen to get out of the jam.
With a 7-4 lead and the bases loaded against Andreassen, Brandon Heck would deliver a 3-2 single for a pair of RBIs to trim the lead to 7-6 Axemen. Rosalind would re-load the bases in the inning against Andreassen before the young pitcher would get Kevin McDonald to ground into a check swing out to end the inning. Willms would use a combination of Andreassen and Zach Bailey to get through a scoreless 6th but the Athletics would get to Bailey in the top of the 7th.
Brandon Heck would once again come up big for the A’s with a 3-2 double down the left field line to lead off the inning. Matt “Gibby” Enright would pick up a single in the next at bat to end Bailey’s night. Brady Ryan would be the next out of the pen for the Axemen and would be greeted by back to back to back singles from Kevin McDonald, Dan Enright and Sheldon Pederson to put the Athletics up 8-7 when the inning was all said and done. Cue the comeback.
Dan Enright would relieve Steve Enright to start the 4th inning and would pitch well through the next three innings allowing only a single run and 4 hits. Enright would start the now dark bottom of the seventh inning strong retiring second baseman Zach Willms with a curveball for a strikeout and third baseman Wes Harrison with a ground ball to second. Two outs and the Athletics lead 8-7.
Right fielder Wes Wilson would have a huge game for the Axemen in his first action with the team since 2008. Wilson would have a double in the 3rd inning, single in the 5th inning and on the 7th would rip a 2-0 pitch from Enright back up the middle to kick start the rally. Brady Ryan in his first at bat of the night would see a strike before lining a hard hit ball to left field to move Wilson into scoring position. Brandon Erik would walk in his first plate appearance of the night after coming in defensively in the sixth. Erik would work a walk from Enright moving the tying run to third and the winning run to scoring position with centre fielder Kyler Kupka coming up to bat.
With conditions getting darker by the minute and this likely to be the last inning as a result, the time was now for the Axemen to do something. After seeing the first pitch spin in for a ball, Kupka would hit a hard liner towards Rosalind centre fielder Brett Yuha. The ball would land in front of Yuha easily scoring Wilson from third and with a two out head start from second base, Brady Ryan would slide in easily for the win.
The win is the first for rookie manager Zach Willms and the first for the Axemen in the Powerline Baseball League since a July 19, 2007 win over the Ryley Brewers in their PBL Semi-Final series.
Offensively the Axemen were able to pound out 12 hits against the Athletics with Wes Wilson (3-4), Cal Zimmer (2-3) and Kyler Kupka (2-4) all having multi-hit nights. Kupka, Zach Bailey (1-2) and Wes Harrison (1-4) would each drive in a pair of runs while Kris Johnson (1-2) and Wilson would each score two runs. The Axemen would combine for five extra base hits on the night with doubles from Johnson, Wilson, Bailey and Zimmer with Jacob Kendall (1-3) hitting a triple.
Last season the two best defensive teams in the PBL were the Tofield Braves (58 runs against) and the Rosalind Athletics (61 runs against). Early this season the Axemen have been able to score 19 runs and collect 25 hits against the two teams.
The Axemen will now have a week to rest up and get ready for the Tofield Braves on Wednesday May 23 in Camrose. The Axemen will need to beat the Braves by two or more runs to hold a potential tie break over Tofield should end of season standings require it. The Braves won 11-10 on May 12 in Tofield.
UPCOMING AXEMEN GAMES
Wednesday May 23 vs Tofield Braves
Thursday May 24 at Camrose Roadrunners
Tuesday May 29 at Rosalind Athletics
Monday June 4 at Edmonton Expos
AROUND THE PBL
Tuesday May 15
13 - Armena Royals (2-0)
11 - Tofield Braves (1-1)
0 - Camrose Roadrunners (0-1)
4 - Holden Blue Jays (1-1)
3 - Edmonton Expos (2-0)
2 - Leduc Milleteers (0-2)
Wednesday May 16
8 - Rosalind Athletics (1-1)
9 - Camrose Axemen (1-1)
Thursday May 17
Edmonton Expos (2-0)
Camrose Roadrunners (0-1)
Tofield Braves (1-1)
Armena Royals (2-0)
Holden Blue Jays (1-1)
Rosalind Athletics (1-1)
Leduc Milleteers (0-2)
Sherwood Park Athletics (0-1)