Braves crush Blue Knights to level series


If they were aiming to make a statement, then job well done.
The Fort Frances Braves used a pair of six-run innings to cruise to a 15-0 thrashing of the Barwick Blue Knights that knotted the best-of-three Rainy River District Fastball League championship series at 1-1 last Thursday night at Couchiching.
A third-and-deciding game was slated for last night also at Couchiching, but it was postponed due to the field being too wet.
It will now go tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Couchiching (weather permitting).
After dropping the opener by a 9-5 margin back on Aug. 22 in Barwick, and having the original Game 2 last Tuesday at Couchiching being postponed due to the field being too wet, the two-time defending champion Braves proved they weren’t going to be an easy out this time around.
Fort Frances jumped on the bats early and made Blue Knights’ starter JJ Landry’s night miserable right from the outset in the first inning.
After Dakota Andy singled and Christian Bourgeois reached on a throwing error by the Blue Knights on his grounder, Travis Tom smacked a two-run triple to put the Braves on the board.
Logan Jackson’s RBI infield single then plated Tom to put the Braves up by three.
Mike Parisien then came through with an RBI double before Jaden Gustafson grounded out for the first out if the inning.
Tim Archie followed that with a double of his own but Parisien was thrown out at home trying to score.
A Jacob Jack single followed by a two-run triple from Marcus Hunter then put the Braves ahead firmly by six.
Andy then grounded out to mercifully bring the frame to a close for Landry and the Blue Knights.
After Gustafson struck out the side in the second, the Braves added another six-run frame in the bottom half.
Tom crushed a one-out solo shot to centre to put the Braves up 7-0.
Jackson then flew out but Parisien got aboard after he was hit by a pitch from Landry.
Gustafson and Archie then hit back-to-back singles to load the bases.
Jack hit into a Fielder’s choice to score another run before an RBI walk from Hunter made it a nine-run cushion.
Andy then got aboard on another fielding error that scored two runs to push it to 11-0.
Bourgeois then clubbed an RBI single to put Fort Frances in cruise control with a 12-run lead before Tom grounded out to end the threat.
Brandan Pratt came in to relieve Landry in the third for Barwick, but he was promptly welcomed by a leadoff homer from Jackson that made it a 13-0 game.
Jack’s RBI sacrifice fly later in the frame then cashed Gustafson home to make it a 14-run cushion.
In the fourth, Tom’s two-out RBI single cashed in Andy’s one-out triple to round out the scoring.
Neither team was able to score over the next three innings, punctuated by Gustafson striking out the side in the seventh to preserve the Braves’ win and knot the series at a game apiece.
Gustafson went the distance on the mound for Fort Frances to earn the win, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out a whopping 17.
Landry suffered the loss, allowing 12 runs over two innings. Pratt was solid in relief, giving up just three runs over four innings.