A back-and-forth affair in the early going settled down and ended with an exciting finish as the Powerline League won for the 7th time in the 13th Annual Andreassen All Star Challenge Friday, Aug. 9.
Ryley’s Craig Koughan and Heisler’s Trent Steil got the starts for the PBL and BRL respectively and the bats for both teams were going early on.
The PBL took an early 3-0 lead on a lot of infield hits and dying quails before the Battle River boys came out swinging with a retaliatory four-run first. Koughan saved himself from sure death with a line drive at his filled-out frame, but then threw the ball away in a possible double-play situation to keep the inning alive. He then struck out Sheldon Pederson but the ball skipped by Dylan Berrecloth and the night looked like it was going to be a long one with both teams short-staffed.
Koughan settled in and Leduc’s Mark Walker and Camrose’s Mark Lawson had back-to-back singles in the third inning to knot the game at 5-5.
But the Battle River Leaguers finally struck paydirt in the fourth when they loaded the bases with two outs, and PBL coach Steven Pahl gave Koughan one last chance to close out the fourth inning against Steil again.
But this time Steil launched a bases-clearing triple and Koughan’s day was done. Steven Pahl appointed himself reliever and was lights out the rest of the way, going 5 ⅓ with three strikeouts and only two hits.
That paved the way for the PBL to mount a Milleteers-like comeback. Lawson would continue his hot day with a lead-off single in the seventh before fellow Roadrunner Josh Banack knocked in two runs with the bases juiced to tie the game.
Banack then came up in the top of the ninth and smacked his third hit of the day to drive in Armena Royal Jason Buzzell for the go-ahead run. Banack was 3-for-4 in the game with three RBI.
Pahl then struck out the lead-off and final batters to cap the victory and mark the series 7-4-2 in favour of the PBL.