It seemed early on as if it was going to be a pitcher’s duel between the Barwick Blue Knights and Sabaskong Lakers.
But then the floodgates opened.
The top-ranked Blue Knights used a four-run third inning to cruise to an 8-0 win over the third-seeded Lakers this past Thursday in Rainy River District Fastball League third-round West Division playoff action at Oltsher Field in Barwick.
After Blue Knights’ starter JJ Landry and James Yerxa of the Lakers combined for 10 strikeouts through the first two innings, Barwick’s offence suddenly sparked to life in the third.
Vaughan Wilson led off with a triple to deep centre field before Ryder Woolsey got aboard with a walk and proceeded to swipe second base.
DJ Mosbeck followed that up by cranking a two-run single to but the Blue Knights on the board.
Brandan Pratt then got on with a crafty bunt single and made it all the way to second base on a throwing error which allowed Mosbeck to score to make it 3-0.
Will Derksen then cashed another run in later in the frame on a groundout to put Barwick ahead by four.
Wilson again reached base on a fielding error by the Lakers’ first baseman in the fourth before coming around to score on a single from Mosbeck to make it a five-run deficit for Sabaskong.
The Lakers got two men aboard with none out in the sixth off Pratt, who came into relieve Landry, but he buckled down and retired the side in order to preserve the shutout.
Barwick then added a trio of runs in the bottom half to round out the scoring.
Landry pitched five shutout innings, surrendering just three hits while striking out seven, to earn the win.
Yerxa allowed five runs over four innings to suffer the loss for the Lakers, who now drop to the Loser’s side of the playoff bracket.
In a Loser’s side matchup in the West, the fifth-seeded Stratton Eagles eliminated the second-ranked Dawson Tigers with a 9-4 win in Pinewood.
Guy Arpin nabbed the pitching win in that one while Carl Big George suffered the season-ending defeat for Dawson.
Over in the East Division, the top-ranked Fort Frances Braves used a pair of homers to dispatch the third-seeded Windey’s Warriors 7-3 in third-round action.
Dakota Andy and Travis Tom both went yard while Jaden Gustafson again tossed a gem to earn the win.
Rob McGinnis was tagged with the loss for the Warriors, who now drop down to the Loser’s side of the playoff bracket.
The second-ranked Sight & Sound Wolves blanked the fourth-seeded Couchiching Raiders 3-0 to eliminate them from the playoffs on the Loser’s Side of the bracket.
Last night’s Loser’s Side game in the East saw the Wolves hosting Warriors while over in the West the Lakers welcomed the Eagles to Sabaskong.
Both results were unavailable as of press time.
Tomorrow night’s East Division final will see the Braves hosting the winner of the Warriors and Wolves game while over in the West the Blue Knights will battle the winner of the Lakers and Eagles game at Oltsher Field.
All games will start at 6:30 p.m. (weather permitting).