It was an anti-climactic end to a dominating performance by the Sight & Sound Wolves yesterday evening in Barwick to wrap up the Rainy River District Fastball League season.
The Wolves took a 9-0 lead to the final inning and looked poised to celebrate their first league title since 2005—but Mother Nature rained on their victory parade as players and spectators alike had to make a quick dash to their vehicles with the game ending prematurely.
League rules normally require that the game be made up, but the wide margin with only an inning to play warranted an exception in this case.
The Wolves’ victory ended Barwick’s three-year reign as league champs.
Not often does a first-inning run hold up to decide the game, but that’s just what happened last night at George Oltsher Field.
Sight & Sound jumped on Barwick pitcher JJ Landry early, manufacturing a run in the first off a lead-off walk by Clayton Windego.
Marcel Pagee sacrificed him to second with a bunt, then John Desaulniers smacked a sacrifice fly to send Windego to third.
Duane Carlson then delivered a two-out single to plate the game’s first run.
The Wolves got their lead-off man aboard again to start the second on a Joel Ashworth single. Cole Kaemingh bunted him to second and actually reached first safely himself.
Two batters later, Bob Andy brought in Ashworth on a first-pitch line drive single to centre.
Kaemingh later scored on a misplayed throw between Barwick catcher Kevin Gemmell and Landry to give the Wolves a 3-0 cushion.
Desaulniers pitched all six innings for the Wolves, keeping the Barwick hitters guessing all night long.
He had eight strikeouts through two innings, with two Blue Knights reaching base after the third strike of their at-bats got by catcher Windego.
“I’ve never seen that in 36 years, and I’ve been playing since I was 12,” umpire Gary Noga remarked.
Desaulniers continued to pick his spots at will, stringing together 13 punch-outs through four innings as he held Barwick off the scoreboard.
The Wolves blew the game wide open in the fifth with five-straight hits.
Pagee and Desaulniers hit back-to-back singles to start the inning, then Carlson drove in two more runs as his single plated both runners to put Sight & Sound up 5-0.
After Wolves’ first baseman Derek McKinnon stroked a double to right to move Carlson to third, Ashworth plated both McKinnon and Carlson on another line-drive single to build the lead to 7-0.
At that point, everything seemed to be going right for the Wolves as a line drive to start Barwick’s half of the fifth went through Carlson’s glove at third, but Ashworth tracked it down in shallow left to record the out on what would have been a potential double.
McKinnon smacked his second double in as many bats in the sixth to bring in two more insurance runs and round out the scoring.
After finishing fourth in the standings, the Wolves had to play five of their six playoff games on the road, including the quarter-finals (a 4-3 win over Big Island), semi-final (a 7-0 whitewash of Big Grassy, the regular-season champs), and finally last night’s shutout over Barwick.