The 2018 season came to an end on Thursday with the playoff picture now officially set as we head into the first Powerline Baseball League Wild Card Game between the Edmonton Expos and the Holden Blue Jays. The Wild Card Game will be held in Holden on July 10 with the first game of the two PBL Semi-Final Series happening in Armena and Rosalind on July 12.
Thursday July 5 – Playoffs Are Set
Edmonton Expos (6) at Armena Royals (11)
The Royals head into the playoffs on a winning note defeating the Expos at the newly renovated Anniversary Park on Thursday night. Finishing 11-3 on the season after a 3-11 season has been one of the best turnaround seasons in PBL history. The Royals will now be able to take advantage of the newly formed playoff schedule with game one of their playoff series against the Wild Card winner happening only two days after the Wild Card Game. They will take on either the Edmonton Expos, who they were 1-1 against in the regular season or the Holden Blue Jays, also finishing 1-1 during the season.
Camrose Axemen (24) at Camrose Roadrunners (6) F/5
It was a big win and a tough loss at Harry Andreassen Field on Thursday night for the Camrose teams as the Axemen pounded their way to a win to finish the season 7-7. The Roadrunners would need a total of five pitchers on the night to record 15 outs as the Axemen started the game out with an 8 run first inning to chase starter Lance Zimmer. Pitcher Chuck Erman would be ejected in the second inning for hitting a batter, before Josh Banack and Trey Zimmer would also be chased by the Axemen offence. The fifth and final pitcher Marcel Lesoway would finish the game for the Roadrunners. The Axemen would put up 14 hits while being helped by Roadrunner pitching with 9 walks and 4 hit batters to ensure a steady stream of base runners all night. Matt Andreassen would pick up the win for the Axemen as the offence would score 16 runs in the first two innings on their way to the win. The game saw a big crowd which also included a video crew documenting the final month of the Camrose Canadian newspaper. Shout out to Rosalind Athletics pitcher/first baseman Ty Twitchell for filling in on the bases for the umpiring crew.
Wednesday July 4 – Playoff Picture
Tonight’s game between the Camrose Axemen and the Armena Royals had no effect on the 2018 Playoff Picture after the forfeit loss to the Edmonton Expos handed out earlier this week. The Royals became the 2018 PBL Pennant winners with that forfeit loss as Edmonton needed to defeat the Sherwood Park A’s, Tofield Braves and Armena Royals with Armena losing to the Axemen on Wednesday, for the Expos to steal the Pennant away from the Royals in a tie break. Unfortunately for the Expos it will not be. The Axemen defeated the Royals 8-7 in Camrose which would have set up a final game of the season showdown between the Expos and the Royals for the PBL Pennant and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Instead the Expos will be playing for 4th place and the right to host the 2018 PBL Wild Card Game at home should they defeat the Royals on Thursday night. A loss by the Expos sees them have to travel to Holden to take on the Blue Jays in the Wild Card Game.
Two big forfeits in the last few days of the season has had huge playoff impacts with the Armena Royals securing the Pennant and the Rosalind Athletics securing 2nd place with home field advantage in the first round as a result of the Edmonton forfeit, while the Leduc Milleteers locked up 3rd place on Tuesday with the Sherwood Park forfeit against the Holden Blue Jays.
On Wednesday night the Axemen were able to defeat the first place Armena Royals by not completely collapsing after allowing a 6 run 5th inning to the Royals. Up 3-1 heading into the 5th, the Axemen would allow the Royals to bat around and score 6 runs off of 4 hits, two of which evaded the Axemen outfielder turning fly ball outs into a double and a single. Down 7-3 the Axemen would start to chip away scoring 3 in the home half of the 5th with a RBI single from Brendan Erick and a two RBI single from Wes Harrison to make it a 7-6 ball game. Brady Ryan would come in relief of Axemen starter Spencer Burton who pitched five strong innings for the Axemen. Despite loading the bases with the first three batters he faced, Ryan would get a big 5-2-3 double play off the bat of Clark Banack to help get out of the inning and allow the Axemen offence to come back. In the bottom of the 6th a two out walk to Evan Schoenknecht by Royals pitcher David Ritz allowed Spencer Burton to drive a ball to the left centre gap scoring Schoenknecht all the way from first to tie the ball game 7-7. Burton then proceeded to steal third base and come in to score on a throwing error by the Royals catcher for the game winning run. Brady Ryan would pick up the relief win for the Axemen while Royals pitcher David Ritz would be charged with the loss.
The Axemen will close out their 2018 regular season looking to get to .500 with a game against the Camrose Roadrunners on Thursday night at Harry Andreassen. The Royals will host the Edmonton Expos on Thursday as both teams will be looking to head into the playoffs on a winning note.
Tuesday July 3 – Playoff Picture
It was a disappointing season for the Sherwood Park Athletics, and it ended on an even more disappointing note with a 7-0 forfeit loss to the Holden Blue Jays due to a lack of player availability. The game was announced as a forfeit early in the afternoon on Twitter;
The forfeited game has some serious playoff implications attached to it. The win for the Blue Jays means that the Leduc Milleteers will secure 3rd place, regardless of the outcome of the July 5 Edmonton Expos vs Armena Royals game, and face off against the Rosalind Athletics in the first round beginning on July 12 in Rosalind. The only thing yet to be decided will be who between the Holden Blue Jays and Edmonton Expos will be hosting the 2018 Wild Card Game and who will be travelling and paying for the umps as the visiting team. The Wild Card Game is scheduled for Tuesday July 10, with the winner set to take on the Armena Royals on Thursday July 12 in game one of their best of three Semi-Final Series.
Monday July 2 – Appeal Update
On Tuesday June 26 the Sherwood Park Athletics launched an appeal after their 13-3 defeat to the Edmonton Expos. The appeal was based on the use of a non-rostered player. The PBL put the appeal to vote with the Appeal Committee over the weekend with the vote coming back a unanimous 6-0 in favour of the appeal. The result was a 13-3 win by the Edmonton Expos turned into a 7-0 defeat. It also meant that the Armena Royals would win the 2018 PBL Pennant, the Rosalind Athletics would finish in second place and the league would see some sort of combination of the Edmonton Expos, Holden Blue Jays and Leduc Milleteers finishing 3rd through 5th.
The July 3 game between the 8-5 Holden Blue Jays and the now 1-12 Sherwood Park Athletics would help determine the order of the final three playoff spots. Holden is guaranteed to be in the Wild Card Game due to tie breaks, but hosting it is still up for grabs. The Expos and the Milleteers both can finish in third place still as Edmonton will need Sherwood Park to beat Holden, then they would need to defeat the Armena Royals themselves to get a coin flip tie break opportunity vs Leduc for third place. Both Leduc and Edmonton won a game by one run in their two game season series meaning the fifth tie break, a coin flip, would be used to seed them.
Thursday June 28 – Playoff Picture
1st – Armena Royals – Still only need a single point vs the Camrose Axemen or the Edmonton Expos or a tie/loss by the Expos to win the 2018 PBL Pennant.
2nd – Rosalind Athletics – A Thursday night pitchers duel between A’s Brayden Bensen and the Blue Jays Kyle Muzechka was ended on a walk off single by…Brayden Bensen to secure the 3-2 win. The ‘W’ ensures that the A’s finish no lower than 3rd place in the PBL Standings. An Edmonton win vs Armena on July 5 would see the Expos move ahead of the A’s.
3rd – Edmonton Expos – It was a spirited slugfest on Thursday night at Empire Park as the Expos would outscore/outlast the Tofield Braves for a 16-14 win. Right fielder Yan Rodriguez Morales would go 3 for 4 with a pair of two run home runs finishing with 5 RBIs and centre fielder Daniel Zuk would finish 2 for 4 with a pair of runs scored. Eight of the nine Expos hitters would score at least one run with six scoring at least twice. Pitcher Gary LeBlanc would earn the win, grinding out 7 innings of work allowing 16 hits, 14 earned runs with 10 strikeouts and 6 walks. The win still gives the Expos a shot at the PBL Pennant. They need to defeat the Armena Royals on Thursday July 5 and have the Royals lose to the Axemen on July 4 for this to happen.
4th – Leduc Milleteers – The Milleteers season is finished as they sit in 4th with a 9-5 record. Leduc holds a tie break (1-0) against the Holden Blue Jays, so a Jays win against Sherwood Park on July 3rd will not change their current standing. If Holden wins and the Expos lose their final game against Armena, tie breakers will be needed to seed the three teams at 9-5. Edmonton holds the tie break over Holden (1-1 +1), as does Leduc (1-0). Edmonton and Leduc however have their tie break…tied as each team won a game by one run.
5th – Holden Blue Jays – The Jays are in a tough spot after a 3-2 loss to the Rosalind Athletics on Thursday night. Despite Kyle Muzechka pitching 6.2 innings allowing only 1 earned run and striking out 9, the Jays were unable to secure the win against Brayden Bensen and the A’s. Muzechka would help his own cause going 2 for 3 at the plate while Clay Giebelhaus would hit his first PBL home run and collect 2 RBIs in his 1 for 2 night. It likely means that the Jays will be sitting in 5th place and headed on the road to the 4th place team for the Wild Card Game.
Thursday June 28 Scores
Tofield Braves (14) at Edmonton Expos (16)
Holden Blue Jays (2) at Rosalind Athletics (3)
Sherwood Park Athletics (2) at Camrose Roadrunners (3)
Wednesday June 27 – Playoff Picture
1st – Armena Royals – A single point is needed or a loss/tie by the Edmonton Expos for the Royals to secure the 2018 PBL Pennant and home field advantage throughout the PBL Playoffs.
2nd – Rosalind Athletics – One game left, at home versus the Holden Blue Jays on Thursday night. A win by the Athletics on Thursday will ensure they are at least in third place heading into the playoffs. A loss by 8 or more runs to the Jays could see the A’s fall all the way down to fifth place, should the Expos defeat the Tofield Braves on Thursday as well.
3rd – Leduc Milleteers – On Wednesday night the Milleteers escaped Camrose with a 7-6 win to move from fifth to third in the PBL Standings, ahead of the Edmonton Expos and Holden Blue Jays. The Milleteers found themselves down 4-0 after one, but veteran right handed pitcher Steven Pahl would settle in and Leduc would capitalize on seven errors from the Axemen defence on their way to the win. Designated hitter Kirk Smith would finish 4 for 4 with a double and a RBI as the Milleteers would put up 9 hits. The Milleteers are capable of finishing as high as second place, as they hold a tie break over the Rosalind Athletics, currently in second place.
4th – Edmonton Expos – The Expos will be closing out the season with games vs the Tofield Braves on Thursday night, and in Armena on a date yet to be announced. If the Expos can win both games, with Armena losing against the Axemen on Wednesday next week and against the Expos, Edmonton will secure the PBL Pennant due to a tie break win over Armena.
5th – Holden Blue Jays – A big game is lurking for the Jays on Thursday night against the defending champion Rosalind Athletics at the Homer Dome. The Jays will need to win one or both of their games to try and climb out of the fifth spot and avoid having to travel for the Wild Card Game.
6th – Camrose Axemen – A 7-6 loss to the Leduc Milleteers on Wednesday night officially eliminated the Axemen from playoff contention. Pitcher Zach Bailey would take the loss for the Axemen throwing 6 innings, allowing 8 hits, 7 runs and 4 earned runs. Spencer Burton would make his Axemen debut throwing 1.2 innings of one hit baseball and going 1 for 2 with a ground rule double and walk. The Axemen would jump out to an early 4-0 lead on the Milleteers with a two RBI single from Zach Willms and a two RBI triple from Jacob Kendall only to see the lead get squandered away by a total of seven errors on the night.
Wednesday June 27 Scores
Leduc Milleteers (7) at Camrose Axemen (6)
Tuesday June 26 – Playoff Picture
1st – Armena Royals – They are currently leading the PBL Pennant race, as they have for most of the regular season. After a 6-4 win in Leduc on Tuesday night the Royals will need only a single point over their last two games to clinch the pennant. The Royals hold the tie break over the Rosalind Athletics, Holden Blue Jays and Leduc Milleteers with two games remaining. One of those games is against the Edmonton Expos, a team that if they win both their remaining games (vs Tofield, at Armena) with Armena losing both of their games, both teams would be at 20 points with the Expos holding the tie break. A loss by the Expos or a point from Armena would ensure the Royals are the 2018 PBL Pennant winners.
2nd – Rosalind Athletics – The A’s clinched their fourth playoff berth in as many years with a 8-4 win over the Camrose Roadrunners on Tuesday night at the Homer Dome. The A’s currently hold a tie break over the Holden Blue Jays (1-0 +7) and have already won the tie break against the Edmonton Expos (1-0) but both the Leduc Milleteers (1-1 +1) and Armena Royals (2-0) hold tie breaks over Rosalind. Should the A’s lose their final game to the Blue Jays, they could see themselves fall all the way down to fifth place and should they win, the A’s will find themselves in second place.
3rd – Edmonton Expos – The Expos currently hold a tie break over the Holden Blue Jays (1-1 +1) with both teams having two games left on their schedule. The Expos however have not clinched a playoff spot yet, despite the fourth place Jays clinching one tonight. The Camrose Axemen will hold a tie break over the Expos (1-0) should the Axemen win their final three games (vs Leduc, at Armena, at Roadrunners) and the Expos lose their final two games (vs Tofield, at Armena). A single point from the Expos or anything but three wins from the Axemen will secure the five post season teams with the Expos still having the potential of winning the 2018 Pennant with some help. The Expos defeated the Sherwood Park Athletics 13-3 in six innings on Tuesday night at the Strathcona Athletics Park.
4th – Holden Blue Jays – A 4-3 win over the struggling Axemen clinched a playoff spot for the Holden Blue Jays who win the tie break against the Axemen (2-0). Grayson Suprovich picked up the win throwing 6.0 innings allowing only 2 earned runs with Kyle Muzechka pitching the seventh to earn the save. Jays catcher Stephen Hrabec would go 2 for 2 with a pair of stolen bases and Zak Lang was 2 for 4 with a double and run scored. For the Axemen Zach Willms, Jacob Kendall and Matt Andreassen each scored a run in the loss. With a pair of wins, the Jays could climb as high as second place in the standings with Armena holding a tie break over Holden, preventing them a chance at the PBL Pennant.
5th – Leduc Milleteers – The Milleteers simply need to not lose by more than 11 runs on Wednesday night in Camrose against the Axemen to secure their trip to the post season. Leduc made things a little complicated for themselves with a 6-4 loss at home to the Armena Royals on Tuesday night, however still sit in a great spot to make the playoffs. A win, tie or loss by 10 or less runs will do that for them. They do however have a tie in their tie break with the Edmonton Expos as each team won a game by a single run meaning if they two teams were tied in the standings with each other, a coin flip would likely be used to determine positioning in the standings.
6th – Camrose Axemen – It has been a tale of two different teams for the Axemen this season. The home team which is 4-1 at Harry Andreassen Field, and the road team which is 1-5 throughout the league. The Axemen’s hope for a playoff berth is on life support at the moment, anything less than three wins in their final three games will see them miss the playoffs in their return season in the Powerline Baseball League. Camrose will need to defeat the Milleteers on Wednesday night and then the Armena Royals on July 4 and the Roadrunners on July 5 with the Edmonton Expos losing both their remaining games (vs Tofield and at Armena) to slide into the playoff picture. A 4-3 loss to the Holden Blue Jays on Tuesday night was a severe blow to the Axemen who held games in hand over the rest of the playoff contenders.
Tuesday June 26 Scores
Armena Royals (6) at Leduc Milleteers (4)
Edmonton Expos (13) at Sherwood Park Athletics (3)
Camrose Roadrunners (4) at Rosalind Athletics (8)
Camrose Axemen (3) at Holden Blue Jays (4)