Wolves force championship showdown

The Sight & Sound Wolves staved off elimination in the Rainy River District Fastball League playoffs last night with a 6-3 road victory over Barwick.
The Wolves played solid team defence behind starter Bob Andy and were the beneficiaries of some timely hitting in the win.
“It was just a good game for both teams,” Sight & Sound second baseman Derek McKinnon said following the game.
“There wasn’t really any errors—it must have been a good game for the fans,” he added. “We got a few home runs and it really helped us out.”
The win means the Wolves will now play Barwick in a one-game showdown at VanJura Park next Tuesday night for the RRDFL championship.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Despite losing the momentum in the two-game series, Barwick starter George Oltsher remained confident his team can go on the road and defeat the Wolves.
“We love playing in Fort,” Oltsher said. “We don’t care where we play as long as we’re playing ball.”
“We still have a few things left (to show the Wolves). We’re going to have some fun,” he added.
Last night’s game, played in front of a packed house, continued the string of hard-fought, well-played ball games between the two squads.
The Wolves looked to take the early advantage, loading the bases in the top of the first inning with only one out.
However, Barwick starter George Oltsher got Derek McKinnon to pop out and then struck out Paul Visser to escape the inning unscathed—much to the delight of the home fans.
Oltsher’s clutch pitching seemed to inspire his team as they took their turn at the plate in the bottom of the first.
With one out, Vaughn Wilson turned on an Andy offering crushing it to right centrefield for the early 1-0 lead.
Barwick continued to press as Kevin Gemmell followed the Wilson home run with a double and Will Derkson legged out an infield single.
But as he had all year, Andy got a critical out when he struck out J.J. Landry and then got Oltsher to fly out to end the inning.
“It’s a big emotional boost,” McKinnon said of Andy’s clutch pitching.
“It gets you in the game and let’s you know everything is going to be OK.”
Harvey Flamand led off the second inning with a sharp single, bringing Curtis Wepruk to the plate with a man on base.
The physically-imposing Wepruk wasted no time hitting a moon shot home run off of Oltsher to give the Wolves a 2-1 advantage.
The home run energized the visitors who poured out of the dugout to congratulate the young slugger.
“He (Wepruk) was hampered by an injury a little bit earlier this year and he’s really coming around,” McKinnon said. “He’s going to be a big player for us in the future. It’s good to see.”
Sight & Sound added to their lead in the top of the third inning.
Andrew Watson doubled following an Andy ground out and moved to third on a McKinnon single.
McKinnon then moved himself into scoring position stealing second.
A pass ball scored Watson and then Paul Visser cashed McKinnon from third on a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1 after two and a half innings of play.
Both Andy and Oltsher cruised through hitters until the top of the fifth when Watson hit the Wolves second homer of the night to increase the lead to 5-1.
However, as they have shown all season long there was no quit in the scrappy Barwick squad.
Josh Mann drew a walk to lead off the Barwick half of the fifth and came in to score a batter later when Travis Derksen hit a ball off the top of the fence in centrefield.
Derksen settled for a triple and came in to score on a Vaughn Wilson double to cut the Wolves lead to 5-3.
Needing a big play the Wolves got one from one of their most consistent performers.
Wilson broke from second base attempting to steal third but was gunned out by catcher Grant Swire.
The play shifted the momentum of the game as Andy got Kevin Gemmell to pop out and then Will Derksen to ground out to end the inning.
“You have to feel confident in your defence and not get in a big panic and start throwing the ball around,” McKinnon said of the crucial play after the game.
The Wolves added an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning when Flamand got a hold of an Oltsher offering and deposited it over the fence.
Barwick was unable to generate much offence in the final two innings and the Wolves hung on to force Tuesday’s championship game.

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