With their perfect season on the line, the Sight & Sound Wolves decided to throw a wrench into the Fort Frances Braves’ plans.
John Desaulniers homered twice, and pitched a complete game, to help the second-seeded Wolves hand the top-ranked Braves their first loss of the Rainy River District Fastball League season with a 10-4 victory in the first game of the East Division final Thursday evening at VanJura.
The second-and-deciding game was slated for last night, with the result not known as of press time.
The Braves struck first Thursday night when Cole Tymkin led off the bottom of the first with a single against Desaulniers before stealing second.
Jaden Gustafson then came through with a double to left field before Chris Jack cashed them both in with a two-run double to make it 2-0.
Desaulniers rebounded by sandwiching a fielder’s choice between a pair of strikeouts to end the threat.
Matt Sweigard smacked a lead-off single in the top of the third. Then after a groundout, Desaulniers cranked his first homer of the night off Gustafson to deep centre field to knot it at 2-2.
The Braves responded with a pair of RBI doubles in the bottom half to retake the lead at 4-2.
The Wolves had a great chance to trim the deficit in the top of the fourth but Gustafson struck out the side to strand Kurtis Wepruk at second base after he had clubbed a lead-off double.
Desaulniers sparked the Wolves’ decisive rally in the top of the sixth, leading off the frame with his second round-tripper of the night to centre field to trim it to 4-3.
The Wolves then took a 5-4 lead after a pair of walks and singles before Matt Cheetham gave his squad a three-run cushion with a two-run double.
A Sweigard RBI infield single and a Desaulniers RBI single later in the frame pushed it to 9-4 before Gustafson finally escaped the inning.
Desaulniers came up big by retiring the Braves in order in the bottom of the sixth before Ian Tookenay cashed in another run for the Wolves with an RBI single off Tymkin, who had taken over on the rubber for Gustafson.
Desaulniers then kept the Braves’ bats silenced once again in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the win.
Desaulniers gave up just seven hits while recording seven strikeouts.
Gustafson suffered his first loss of the season in allowing nine runs to go along with six hits, two walks, and 11 strikeouts.
Over in the West Division, meanwhile, the final between the Dawson Tigers and Barwick Blue Knights that had been slated for Thursday was rescheduled to Monday evening.
The top-ranked Tigers used a walk-off homer by Kevin Gemmell in the bottom of the eighth inning to pull out a 7-6 victory over the second-seeded Blue Knights.
Jeff Morrison also went yard while earning the win for Dawson.
DJ Mosbeck and Mike Anderson homered for Barwick, with JJ Landry suffering the loss.