By the sounds of things, there will be some fireworks up on Big Grassy First Nation tonight.
The host Big Grassy Lightning will help kick off the second round of the Rainy River District Fastball League’s playoff slate when they play host to the Sight & Sound Wolves at 6:30 p.m.
Lightning manager Chris Jack anticipates that the game will be a tight one, with ace pitcher Jeff Morrison as his expected starter and the Wolves expected to counter with veteran Bob Andy.
“I think it’s going to be a pitchers’ duel,” said Jack. “Hopefully the bats and defence are there.”
Both the Lightning and Wolves finished with 13-5 records, but the Lightning earned the tiebreaker after their offence outpaced the Wolves 192-155 over the 18 game season.
The 192 runs were good for tops in the league, and four more than first-place Barwick recorded.
However, the Lightning had the fourth-stingiest pitching staff in the loop, allowing 70 runs on the year, but they’ll be up against the second-most frugal team, as Sight & Sound gave up only 55.
Jack feels that his crew has everything going at just the right time.
“Just the whole team, but a lot of it has to do with our pitching, and guys have the bats going,” he enthused.
“Lots of run support,” added Morrison.
Jack and Morrison were two of the league’s big boppers this year, with Morrison’s six home runs sitting only behind Barwick’s Kevin Gemmell (eight). Jack, meanwhile, knocked five out of the park this year.
Jack expects that the Wolves will bring their ‘A’ game tonight, and will appreciate having the home field advantage this evening. The teams split their meetings this year, with the home team prevailing in each game.
“There’s always lots of support,” lauded Jack.
In other action tonight, Barwick will attempt to fend off the No. 5 Rainy River Royals in a battle of the other two teams that are undefeated in postseason action.
Since the playoffs are run in a double-knockout format, the No. 4 Big Grassy Braves will attempt to stave off elimination against No. 9 Big Island, and No. 6 Sabaskong will try to stay alive against No. 7 Stratton.
On Tuesday night, Jack and Morrison were part of the winning squad in the league’s all-star game in Stratton.
The game ended up being a nail-biter, as Barwick manager George Oltsher’s team edged out Sight & Sound manager Derek McKinnon’s squad 2-1 in eight innings.