A’s Win Thriller, Jays Sweep Series

Last night Powerline Baseball League fans got a double shot of playoff action with the Rosalind Athletics and Armena Royals starting their series and the Holden Blue Jays wrapping up their series against the Edmonton Expos. The Jays will head to their fifth PBL Championship Series since re-forming the team in 2010, while the A’s and Royals are expected to scrap it out in what should be another exciting game, perhaps two, in their series. 

Rosalind Athletics (3), Armena Royals (2) F/8

Rookie of the year candidate Griff Lorenz was giving the game one start by Manager Matt Enright and the youngster from Camrose didn’t disappoint. The hard throwing lefty would pitch all eight innings for the A’s holding the defending champs to five hits while striking out nine. The Royals were able to capitalize on some shaky defence from the Athletics, scoring two unearned runs on the night. For the Royals it was veteran knuckleballer Ian Sherbaniuk getting the game one nod. The right hander would get weak contact all night off the bats of the A’s but the ‘Homer Dome’ could not contain Kobe Charchun and Chase Leslie. Leslie’s eighth inning home run would walk the Royals off and send the series to Armena on Thursday night with the A’s leading 1-0. The Royals have proven in the past that trailing in a best of three series is not as debilitating as it seems. In 2018, their PBL Championship Series started with a Milleteers win in game one and a Milleteers lead for most of game two. The Royals however would hang one, play well and take the series with back to back wins for the hamlet’s sixth PBL Championship. 

Game Two – Thursday July 25 in Armena at 7:00pm


Holden Blue Jays (13), Edmonton Expos (5)

The first PBL Playoff game in Vegreville was capped off with a series sweep by the hometown Jays. Veteran second baseman Craig Weder would hit a grand slam to put an exclamation point on the series winning game while Grayson Soporvich and Randall Ziegler pitched. Over two games, and two days, the Holden Blue Jays managed to outscore the Edmonton Expos 25-6 in a dominant series win. Last night was an uphill battle for the Expos who played the game with eight players due to player availability for the road trip. 2019 will be Holden’s fifth trip to the PBL Championship series since the team was re-formed in 2010. However, the Jays have not won a PBL Championship Series since the 1992 Holden Blue Jays defeated the Ryley Rebels 2-1. The Expos on the other hand will have to wait until the 2020 season to get their first playoff win. In 2018 their playoffs came to an abrupt end at the hand of the Holden Blue Jays in the Wild Card Game and this year it was an abrupt 2-0 series sweep by the Jays. The Expos made it one step further in their sophomore season, perhaps in year three they will once again be able to take another step in the right direction. 

The 2019 PBL Championship Series has a couple of start date possibilities, depending on what happens in the remaining Armena/Rosalind games, and assuming weather doesn’t play a factor:

– Rosalind wins game two = 2019 PBL Championship Series begins on Tuesday July 30 in Vegreville

– Armena wins game two = 2019 PBL Championship Series begins on Thursday August 1 in Vegreville as game three between the Athletics and Royals is on Tuesday July 30 in Rosalind. 

Posted in Armena Royals, Edmonton Expos, Holden Blue Jays, PBL, Rosalind Athletics

Jays Make Statement In Game One

The Pennant winning Holden Blue Jays had a statement game on Monday night as they took game one by a score of 12-1 over the Edmonton Expos at Empire Park. The road win in game one now gives the Jays a chance to sweep the Expos on Tuesday night at home as the remaining game, or games, will shift to Vegreville. 

Win – Kyle Muzechka (5IP, 5K, 0ER, 3BB, 5H, 100 Pitches) Loss – Gavin Turinek (4+IP, 3K, 9R, 6ER, 6BB, 5H, 110 Pitches)

Pitching for the Jays was eight game winner Kyle Muzechka who would once again pitch very effectively in his complete game win against the Expos. Opposing him was Gavin Turinek, who is coming off a big complete game, twelve strikeout performance in the Wild Card Game against the Tofield Braves. Turinek would pitch well for the Expos to start the game, however the Jays would wear out the right hander in the third inning when they would break the scoreless game wide open. 

Turinek started the game with a lead off walk to Jays SS Colten Ziegler before erasing him on a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of RF Grayson Soprovich and escaping the inning as 1B Zak Lang would hit a fly ball to the gap that was run down by LF Jordan Janke. The Jays would work another lead off walk from Turinek in the top of the second inning, but the right hander would work his way out getting the next three in order with a pair of strikeouts and a pop up back to himself. Through two the Expos had managed to keep the Jays hitless but things took an ugly turn for the sophomore Edmonton team in the top of the third inning. 

Mid-season acquisition 3B Kyle Brisebois finally got the Jays in the hit column with a lead off single before P Kyle Muzechka would turn over the lineup with an infield single of his own to put runners on the corners. Turinek would end up hitting SS Colten Ziegler high on the shoulder to load the bases with no one out. A ball off the bat of RF Grayson Soprovich handcuffed Expos SS Bret Barron allowing both Brisebois and Muzechka to score on the error. A RBI single from 1B Zak Lang would make it 3-0 Jays before a series of wild pitches would score two more runs to make it 5-0, all without recording an out so far in the inning. Things were going so well for the Jays in the third that they would re-load the bases before Brisebois would score the sixth run on a RBI ground out to right side to make it 6-0. 

The fourth inning was more of the same for the Expos as SS Colten Ziegler would find himself on base for the third time this game, this time with a walk, and would eventually score on another RBI single from 1B Zak Lang, again with no one out. After earlier in the inning missing a fly ball for an error, LF Jordan Janke would make a terrific pick up and throw home on a hard line drive single from Lang to narrowly miss getting a sliding Colten Ziegler at the plate. Player/manager C Stephen Hrabec would score Soprovich on a sacrifice fly making it 8-0. 

Turinek’s night would come to an end in the top of the fourth inning when a lead off walk to CF Randall Ziegler would be enough for player/manager Bret Barron. After 110 pitches through four complete innings, Turinek would head behind the dish as C Vaughn Rempel would take over bullpen duties in the catcher/pitcher position swap. The Jays would score four runs to finish on the fifth inning, a RBI ground out from P Kyle Muzechka, a two RBI single from RF Grayson Soprovich and a RBI hit by pitch from C Stephen Hrabec. 

The Jays offence broke out in just three innings putting up a total of twelve runs and eight hits between the start of the third inning and the end of the fifth inning to seal the Game One win. 

Offensively the Expos had an opportunity to get on the board in the bottom of the first inning and make the Jays play catch up but could not get a clutch hit when needed. After starting the game with a three pitch strikeout looking of 2B Jonathan Down, Muzechka would give up back to back singles from 1B Andrew Down and RF Jeff Morris. A two out walk to CF Gary Leblanc meant a single could easily make it 2-0 Edmonton. LF Jordan Janke would make solid contact and force Jays 2B Craig Weder to move to his left but the veteran infielder would make a nice play and a nice throw to get Janke for the final out. 

In the second inning the Expos were sniffing for a run again when P Gavin Turinek would find himself at third base after an infield single and a pair of errors to the Jays right side of the infield off the bat of 2B Jonathan Down. The ground ball would evade 1B Zak Lang for error number one and make its way to 2B Craig Weder who would throw the ball away for error number two. Like in the Wild Card Game against the Jays, the Expos were given scoring opportunities with two out errors. Unfortunately for Edmonton, they would not be able to capitalize tonight as Turinek and Down would be stranded at the corners. 

After a 1-2-3 bottom of the third, the Expos finally got on the score board in the bottom of the fourth. Down 8-1 and looking for life, LF Jordan Janke would start the inning off with a bunt single. On the play, P Kyle Muzechka would make a throw from his knees to try and get Janke at first base. The throw would end up into foul territory in right field moving Janke into scoring position. After SS Bret Barron was hit by a pitch on a 1-2 count, a fielder’s choice would result in 2B Craig Weder’s second error of the game allowing Janke to score from third. The Expos would C Vaughn Rempel and P Gavin Turinek on base and into scoring position with only one out. Looking for more the Expos inning would come to a crashing halt when Muzechka would get 2B Jonathan Down swinging and 1B Andrew Down was caught looking to end the inning. 

In a last gasp for the Expos offence, 3B Dennis Landriault would finally connect off of his former Camrose Axemen teammate Kyle Muzechka and drive a ball into the right field corner for a stand up double. The two would exchange smiles at second base as Muzechka would lead off the at bat with a change up two feet behind Landriault. CF Gary Leblanc would get to first on a one out walk but Muzechka would get out number two on a ground ball off the bat of LF Jordan Janke. SS Bret Barron was the last hope for the Expos to try and extend the game past the Powerline Baseball League’s ten runs after five innings mercy rule. A single would trim the lead to nine runs with Landriault at third and Leblanc at second. Like in Janke’s first inning at bat, Barron would put the ball in play with a hot ground to SS Colten Ziegler who would make a nice pick up and throw out Barron at first to end the game. Chances were there tonight for the Expos, unfortunately clutch hits just didn’t happen. 

Boxscore from tonight’s game one between the Holden Blue Jays and Edmonton Expos.

The series will now shift to Vegreville, where it will remain for games two and three of the series. Game one was played in Edmonton due to field availability in Edmonton later on in the week combined with the desire to finish this semi-final series off in a relatively timely manner. Game two will go tomorrow night (Tuesday July 23) in Vegreville with a 7:00pm first pitch at the Riverview Ball Diamond. If the Expos can come up with a win, the series will have the deciding game three on Tuesday July 30 in Vegreville. The winner of this series will then move on to play either the Armena Royals or Rosalind Athletics in the 2019 PBL Championship Series. 


** PBL Playoff Schedule **

 

(1) Holden Blue Jays vs (4) Edmonton Expos

Game 1 – July 22 – Jays win 12-1 (5 Innings)

Game 2 – July 23 – Expos at Blue Jays (in Vegreville)

Game 3 – July 30 – Expos at Blue Jays (in Vegreville)

 

(2) Rosalind Athletics vs (3) Armena Royals 

Game 1 – July 23 – Royals at Athletics 

Game 2 – July 25 – Athletics at Royals

Game 3 – July 30 – Royals at Athletics

Posted in Edmonton Expos, Holden Blue Jays, Kris

Start To PBL Semi Finals Delayed

Steady rain in the area has washed out both game ones in the Powerline Baseball League Playoffs. Stormy weather and rainfall warnings have swept over Alberta the last week or so wiping out scheduled games at all levels, with Vegreville and Rosalind not escaping the wet weather. 

The Holden Blue Jays and Edmonton Expos will now have their best of three series start on Monday July 22 in Edmonton. A move that will see the lower seeded Expos host game one due to concerns about field availability throughout the week due to minor baseball provincials fast approaching almost all tiers and age groups. Game two would then shift to Vegreville on Tuesday July 23 with game three remaining in Vegreville on Tuesday July 30. Having the lower seed get game one of a best of three series has happened in years past with the Leduc Milleteers. At one point in time the Milleteers were unable to secure a field outside of Wednesday nights in Leduc meaning that the a first game would need to be played elsewhere. 

Riverview Ball Diamond in Vegreville had standing water the morning of the scheduled Game One between the Holden Blue Jays and Edmonton Expos on Thursday July 18.
Photo: Twitter @HoldenBlueJays

With the Homer Dome saturated with water, the Rosalind Athletics and Armena Royals will also see their series get pushed back. On Tuesday July 23 the two teams will open their series in Rosalind with game two on Thursday July 25 in Armena and game three move back to Rosalind on Tuesday July 30 if needed.  

Days Off Between Games

Armena Royals – last played on Thursday July 11 (twelve days) losing 15-2 to the Tofield Braves in their last regular season game.

Edmonton Expos – last played on Monday July 15 (seven days) defeating the Tofield Braves 6-3 in the PBL Wild Card Game

Holden Blue Jays – last played on Tuesday July 9 (fourteen days) defeating the Rosalind Athletics 4-3 in their last regular season game.

Rosalind Athletics – last played on Tuesday July 9 (fourteen days) losing 4-3 to the Holden Blue Jays in their last regular season game. 

An updated PBL Playoff schedule to reflect the game one rainouts.

The delays to the start of the playoffs will now mean the start of the PBL Championship will get pushed back to Thursday August 1 at the earliest with the Championship potentially being handed out as late as Thursday August 8. Of course, more wet weather over the weekend and early part of next week will more than likely see these dates get pushed back even further. 

Posted in Armena Royals, Edmonton Expos, Holden Blue Jays, Rosalind Athletics