REMARKABLE COMEBACK FOR CAMROSE
Posted May 23, 2018
In a reverse of fortunes, the Camrose Axemen got revenge on the Braves for their Opening Day 11-10 walk off win in Tofield, with an 11-10 walk off win of their own on Wednesday night. The win moves the Axemen to 2-1 on the season while the Braves fall to 2-3. The season series between the two teams is now tied with a 1-1 record and teams having identical 21-21 runs scored.
Things would go badly for the Axemen right from the first inning, as the Braves would hang seven runs on Camrose starter Joe Pasychnyk. The now veteran right-hander would get a surprise start for the Axemen despite not throwing a baseball yet in 2018. Tofield was all over Pasychynk in the first with a total of seven singles in the inning and two big errors in the first three batters, which led to a big inning for the Braves. The rough inning would lead Willms to bring in lefty John Robbins from first base for the second inning. The young starting pitcher would struggle in relief facing eight Tofield hitters in the second inning walking four and allowing three runs to cross the plate pushing the Braves lead to 10-0 after two innings.
But this is the Powerline Baseball League and no lead is safe.
For the third inning Willms would turn to Matt Andreassen to pitch, looking for somebody to stop the bleeding. Andreassen did that and much more holding the Braves to only two singles in the final five innings of play striking out five in the process. In the final fifteen outs of the game for the Braves, Andreassen would see a total of fourteen come in the infield via strikeout, pop up or ground ball. Andreassen would go on to earn the win for the Axemen, his first of the season and first in his Axemen career.
While Andreassen was holding the Braves offense at bay, the Axemen hitters started to chip away at Braves starter Corey Epp. In the second inning, down 10-0, the Axemen would strike twice with a pair of unearned runs. With two out Brady Ryan would hit a single into left field and a big throwing error by the Braves third baseman would lead to runners at second and third for Wes Wilson. Wilson would jump all over an Epp fastball driving a ball into the outfield for a two RBI single to put the Axemen on the board. There was finally life in the Axemen offense.
After Epp would settle down for the Braves in the third inning it would take the oldest Axemen rookie in franchise history to get things going again. Second baseman Gord Nadeau would connect on a pitch up the middle for his first Axemen career hit in only his second plate appearance. Brady Ryan would reach on a fly ball to left field that ended up on the ground after a twisting route to the ball. Andreassen would work a walk from Epp to load the bases before a wild pitch would score Nadeau from third to make it 10-3. Joe Pasychynk, now the first baseman for the Axemen, would connect on a single up the middle to score Ryan from third but a strong throw from Braves centre fielder Dylan Berrecloth to third baseman Rob Berrecloth would get Andreassen trying to go first to third on the play for the second out of the inning in a now 10-4 Tofield lead. Pasychnyk’s single would be the beginning for the end for Epp as Cal Zimmer would hit a single, Jacob Kendall would work a walk and catcher Kris Johnson would hit a single that included an error to the Braves second baseman allowing another run to score. The game was now 10-6 and during a Shaun Painter at bat, Epp would throw a wild pitch allowing Jacob Kendall to score with a head first slide from third to make it 10-7 and ending Epp’s night. Braves rookie Dustin Huebert would come in and get the final out of the inning on a deep fly ball from Painter.
Camrose would struggle with Huebert in the fifth inning with only Gord Nadeau having luck by hitting a double down the left field line. The young right-hander would then get the Axemen 1-2-3 with a good fastball/curveball pitch selection.
It was in the sixth that the Axemen would strike again. Down 10-7, Cal Zimmer take a walk from Huebert with second baseman Jacob Kendall coming up to bat. Kendall would get a hold of a pitch from Huebert that looked to be a shallow fly ball with the Braves centre fielder running in. Fortunately for Kendall the fielder would stop running and toss up the arms with the ball sailing well back towards the right centre fence giving Kendall his second triple of the season and making it a 10-8 game heading into the seventh inning.
In the Braves part of the seventh inning, pitcher Dustin Huebert would get issued the dreaded lead off walk from Andreassen who was still pitching strong. But Andreassen would once again bear down and get top of the Braves lineup in order with an infield pop up, a ground out to first baseman Joe Pasychnyk and finally a strike out looking. Andreassen gave the Axemen a chance and the offense did not let him down.
For the third time in the game, Gord Nadeau would lead off an inning with a base hit, this time a single. Manager Zach Willms would quickly bring in pinch runner Jordan Riopel for Nadeau in a 10-8 game. Shortstop Brady Ryan would reach base safely for the second time in the game due to a Braves error, this time by his counterpart who would bobble the ball and fail to get Riopel would at second base for the force out. With one out Wes Wilson would be hit by a Huebert fastball to load the bases with the tying run at second base and the winning run now on base. The wheels would finish falling off for the Braves in the inning as first baseman Joe Pasychynk would hit a chopper to the Braves first baseman who elected to try and come home as opposed to taking the second out at first base. Riopel would slide in safely infront of a surprised Braves catcher to make it 10-9 with the bases still loaded with one out. Coming home might not have matter as the next batter, Cal Zimmer would hit a seeing eye single up the middle to tie the game as Brady Ryan would cross the plate from third.
An ugly game would come to an ugly close that if written in a movie, would have been too ridiculous to even put in the movie. Game tied 10-10, bases loaded with the winning run at third base and one out. Axemen second baseman Jacob Kendall up to bat and the Braves brining in relief pitcher Chad Nelson from behind the plate to the mound while centre fielder Dylan Berrecloth would suit up and take over behind the plate. Kendall would work a 2-1 count from Nelson before the unthinkable would happen. After the third pitch of the at bat, the Braves catcher would throw the ball into centre field on the return to the pitcher. The throwing error would allow Wes Wilson to jog in from third base for the Axemen win. Unbelievable.
Longtime PBLer Mike Leclaire who spent a decades long career with the Bardo Athletics took to Twitter to mention a game between the A’s and the Lamont Steelers in the 1990s. “That reminds of a game back in the early 90’s Bardo vs Lamont. Bardo up 10-0 and end up losing something like 15-14. I miss that Steelers team #PowerlineLeague #lamonthotelforbeers #grundbergspinkhat”
Former Axemen and Armena Royals infielder, as well as current Axemen Kris Johnson’s brother, Adam Johnson would respond to the game on Twitter “This is the most #powerlineleague thing I’ve ever seen”.
The game was reminiscent of a June 9, 2016 Ryley Rebels at Camrose Roadrunners game, which ironically was also a game that Corey Epp started and would also see Braves catcher Chad Nelson and Axemen outfielder Kris Kushnerick in the lineup for the Rebels along with Epp. The Rebels would jump out to a 9-0 lead in the fourth inning and would be up 11-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning. The Roadrunners would chip away but scoring six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to make it 11-8 and in the bottom of the seventh inning with the game 12-8 would score five runs to walk off the Rebels 13-12. The Roadrunners win would be the first for the team since July 4, 2013, which was a span of thirty-five regular season games (July 4, 2013 vs Holden Blue Jays saw the Roadrunners win 6-3).
It is the PBL and no lead is safe.