An important week continues across the PBL as teams battle for the Pennant and a playoff spot. After Tuesday night’s games their are six teams looking for one of four playoff spots as the 2018 season trickles to an end. The defending PBL Champion Rosalind Athletics are surging and the Leduc Milleteers have continued to be the hottest team in the league as they extended their winning streak to six games on Tuesday night.
Monday June 18
Armena Royals – 11
Edmonton Expos – 14
A big fifth inning for the Expos which would see them send ten batters to the plate and score six runs, was the fifth and final lead change in the back and forth game at Empire Park on Monday night. Gary Leblanc would pick up the relief win for the Expos, pitching 2.2 innings allowing 5 hits and 3 earned runs while contributing in a big way on offence going 2 for 4 with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI. Leblanc would do it all on Monday night including making a diving catch in centre field, where he started the night, that turned into a double play at second to end the top of the first inning. Right hander Daniel Zuk would get the start for Edmonton, but poor fielding behind him and a strong Armena offence wouldn’t allow the hard throwing pitcher to get out of the fifth, pitching 4.1 innings allowing 8 runs, 3 earned runs and 11 hits.
Poor defence was the theme of the game as 9 errors by the Expos and 7 errors by Armena would hamper both teams pitching with extra outs needed to get out of innings. Royals starter Lyndon Galvin would be tagged with the loss, throwing 4.1 innings, allowing 11 runs, 9 of which were earned runs off of 5 hits and 7 walks. Offensively for the Expos left fielder Mike Cassidy was 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs, a run scored and a stolen base and Gavin Turinek would come off the bench for Edmonton going 1 for 1 with a RBI triple, a walk and two runs scored while playing great defence at second base as well. Armena short stop Doug Morris and second baseman Liam Gregor would both finish 2 for 4 on the night, each with a RBI with Morris hitting a double in the top of the first inning and Gregor hitting a sacrifice fly for the final Royals run in the top of the seventh inning.
These two teams will meet again before the season ends, with the next matchup happening at Anniversary Park on a date yet to be determined after the scheduled early season game between the two was rained out. After starting the season 8-0, the Royals have now lost two in a row while the Expos are 3-4 in their last seven games after a 4-0 start to their year.
The win vaults the Expos into a tie for second place with the Leduc Milleteers who were idle tonight. Both teams have 7-4 records and the two teams split their season series 1-1 with the Expos winning 3-2 and the Milleteers winning 2-1 to tie their record against and runs scored tie breakers as well.
Tuesday June 19
Tofield Braves – 4
Leduc Milleteers – 8
The Milleteers continue their white hot play with their sixth win in a row, defeating the Tofield Braves 8-4 at Fred Johns Park in Leduc on Tuesday night. The Braves scored four runs in the top of the first inning but allowed the Milleteers to score eight unanswered runs for their ninth loss of the season. With the loss, the Braves are now officially eliminated from the playoff race, after a disappointing 3-9 season in 2018, one year removed from a second place finish in the PBL in 2017 with a 10-4 record. Tofield will now look to play spoiler for the remainder of the season with two games remaining in their schedule. No game details were made available.
Camrose Roadrunners – 14
Sherwood Park Athletics – 11
The Roadrunners handed the Athletics their tenth loss of the season and kept their own playoff hopes alive, albeit on life support, heading into the final stretch of the season. Now sitting at 3-7 on the season the Roadrunners climbed over the Tofield Braves in the standings for seventh place, and will need to win each of their four remaining games, and get some help, to have a shot at the new Wild Card game.
Roadrunners starting pitcher Trey Zimmer would be the difference for the Roadrunners on Tuesday night, the first year player would pitch 6.2 innings, striking out 11 Athletics on his way to his first win in his PBL career. The Coronation native would also lead the way for the Roadrunners at the plate going 2 for 2 with a pair of walks, a hit by pitch and scoring a total of 5 runs from the lead off spot. Veteran second baseman Reg Zimmer would go 1 for 1 with 4 walks and a RBI against Sherwood Park starting pitcher Markarthy Bridges and reliever Kyle Brisebois. Bridges would be charged with the loss. Reg Zimmer would also pick up the save for the Roadrunners, after pitching 10 innings on the weekend, relieving Trey Zimmer in the bottom of the seventh inning to get the final out with the tying run left in the on deck circle. With the save, the 60 year old Reg Zimmer is more than likely the oldest player to record a save in PBL history.
Camrose would have to work for their win as Sherwood Park would combine for a total of 12 hits including doubles by Matt Shurvell, Curtis Munesy and two from Joey Poapst. Shurvell would finish his night 4 for 5 with 3 singles, a double and a run scored in the loss. Both defences were challenged on the night as a handful of errors and questionable decisions by both teams made for a high scoring game at the Strathcona Athletic Park tonight. It was not a good night for Sherwood Park pitchers either as the duo of Bridges and Breisbois would combine to issue 13 walks on the night, nine of which occurred in the first two innings putting them into an early 5-3 lead that they would not be able to overcome.
Rosalind Athletics – 8
Holden Blue Jays – 1
A tough night at the plate for the Blue Jays meant that the first meeting between the two PBL Championship Series participants from a year ago, would go to the Athletics. No details were available about the game, but according to the Blue Jays Twitter account, a lack of timely hits against Rosalind with runners in scoring position plagued Holden thought the game. With the win the Rosalind Athletics climb to third in the PBL standings, ahead of the Edmonton Expos due to a tie break win by Rosalind earlier in the season. The defending PBL Champions appear to be hitting their stride with their fourth win in their last five games heading into the teams final three games of the season. These two teams will meet on last time on June 28th in Rosalind.
Wednesday June 20
Holden Blue Jays – 11
Camrose Axemen – 9
Former Axemen pitcher Kyle Muzechka would defeat his former team on Wednesday night as once again Camrose defence was not as sharp as it needed to be. Muzechka would pitch 4.0 innings striking out 7 and allowing two hits and one run before being lifted for reliever Randall Ziegler with a 10-1 lead after four. The Jays offence could do not wrong in the first four innings against Axemen pitcher John Robbins right from lead off hitter Colten Ziegler reaching base with a single to start the game. The Axemen would battle back and make the game 10-9 and look to strike again with the bases loaded and one out, however the Jays were able to pick up a double play on some poor base running by Camrose to end the threat. A Grayson Suprovich double in the top of the seventh would give the Jays an insurance run and Stephen Hrabec would earn the save as Holden moves to 7-4 on the season.