Last-inning rally puts Sight & Sound in final

Big Grassy Lightning catcher Brian Hook limped back from La Verendrye Hospital last night not knowing what was happening in the semi-final fastball game between his team and Sight & Sound.
Hook was taken to the hospital for observation after his chin was struck by a pitch in the top of the fourth inning with the score 8-5 for Big Grassy. But he would be picked up by his teammates with the news he so desperately didn’t want to hear—Sight & Sound had pulled out the victory.
And the two-time defending champs of the Rainy River District Fastball League did so in dramatic fashion.
Entering the second inning, Sight & Sound found themselves trailing 7-0. But that wasn’t as surprising as it sounds considering the team had lost their starting pitcher, Harvey Flamand, for the game after his wife, Jill, was struck in the face by a misguided ball during warm-ups that sent her to hospital.
(The update after the game was that the right side of her face was swollen, but she was released from the emergency room).
So in stepped “Beeker” Watson, who had pitched only twice before this season. But Sight & Sound kept their cool and by the fifth inning had a 10-8 lead.
Watson needed only six pitches for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fifth, then Duane Carlson blasted a solo homer in the bottom half that gave Sight & Sound an 11-8 lead.
Tom Jack of Big Grassy stole home on an errant Watson throw in the top of the sixth to make it 11-9, but Sight & Sound quickly regained their three-run lead in the bottom half after Marcel Pagee scored on a Paul Visser single.
So things looked good for Sight & Sound, who had entered the contest unbeaten in three playoff games in the double knockout format.
But Watson unravelled. He began the seventh by issuing walks to Lionel Horton and Dailen Tuesday, then Big Grassy pitcher Jeff Morrisson launched a monster shot over the fence to tie the game at 12-12.
It didn’t end there. Consecutive walks to Bill Copenace, Ryan Jack, and Tom Jack loaded the bases for “Giz” Jack, which brought Carlson to the mound for Sight & Sound.
But Jack needed only three pitches to jack a moon shot to give the Lightning a 16-12 lead and what looked to be a sure-fire win, especially when Sight & Sound was down to their last out in their final at-bat.
“Rally up here boys—let’s show them what we got,” Ed Vold could be heard saying from Sight & Sound’s dugout.
And that they did.
Derek McKinnon doubled to send Watson over to third, who had singled. Then up stepped Pagee, who tripled to bring both of them in.
After Gary Noga singled to score Pagee and cut the lead to 16-15, Visser singled to move Noga to second. Then up stepped Brian LeMay, who hadn’t played a game for nearly three weeks due to a bad back (he was called to pinch hit for Sheldon Bourassa).
And with the count 0-2, LeMay smacked a shot past the outstretched glove of “Giz” Jack at second base to bring home Noga for the tie.
At the same time, Visser rounded for home despite being told to stay at third base.
A crash ensued at home plate with Big Grassy’s Chris Jack, who had replaced Hook behind the plate. Jack did well to gather the ball and block the plate, but he dropped the ball at the last second and Visser was called safe by umpire Gus Lindberg for the dramatic 17-16 win.
Sight & Sound now can claim its third-straight RRDFL title tomorrow night (Thursday) with a victory over the winner of last night’s game between Rainy River and Stratton (that result was not known by press time).
Game time is set for 8 p.m. at VanJura Stadium here.
Should Sight & Sound lose tomorrow, they’ll get a second chance to win the league crown Tuesday night.