Wolves lose playoff thriller

Barwick earned themselves a spot in the Rainy River District Fastball League championship game courtesy of a thrilling 12-11 victory over the Sight & Sound Wolves at VanJura Park this past Saturday.
The visiting side battled back from an early deficit and then hung on as the Wolves mounted a comeback in their final trip to the plate to remain the league’s only unbeaten playoff squad.
Barwick starting pitcher George Oltsher credited his team’s perseverance with helping to earn the victory.
“It’s a big win,” Oltsher said. “The guys never let up. They (the Wolves) made it very exciting in the final inning.”
Sight & Sound trailed by four runs heading into the bottom half of the seventh and final inning before rallying to score three times.
However, the Wolves were unable to complete the comeback leaving the bases loaded to end the game.
Afterwards, Wolves first baseman Derek McKinnon praised the opposition but lamented his team’s poor play in the middle innings which allowed Barwick back into the contest.
“They never give up,” McKinnon said of the opposition. “You can’t let them in the game.”
“We booted the ball around and went to sleep,” he added.
Barwick will now host Rainy River tonight with an opportunity to eliminate the regular season’s second place team by handing them their second post-season defeat.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Sight & Sound will face Big Island in the other RRDFL playoff match-up tonight.
Both teams have everything to play for as the loser will be eliminated from post-season contention.
First pitch is scheduled for 8 p.m. at VanJura Park.
It looked as if Sight & Sound were going to continue their dominant playoff run against Barwick when they jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
Grant Swire led off the inning with a single and later scored following a Marcel Pagee bunt and an errant throw to first base.
Clayton Windego then scored Pagee from third on a sacrifice fly.
The Wolves were back at it in the bottom of the second after Sight & Sound starter Harvey Flamand retired Barwick in order to start the inning.
Flamand and Sheldon Bourassa both singled to get the offence rolling.
Barwick starter Oltsher struck out Eric Shute and then got Paul Visser to hit into a fielder’s choice before allowing a Swire single to increase the lead to 3-0.
A throwing error would once again hurt Barwick as both Visser and Swire would come in to count to make it 5-0; seemingly putting the game out of reach.
However, Barwick began to chip away at the Sight & Sound lead in the top of the third inning.
Travis Derkson walked, followed by a Vaughn Wilson bunt single and another walk to Kevin Gemmell to set the table for Will Derkson.
The veteran Barwick catcher came through with a single off of Flamand to cut the lead to 5-2.
The visitors would add another run when Oltsher singled to score Gemmell.
The Wolves cushioned their lead in the bottom of the third when Brandon Lheureux reached base on a single and Flamand homered to help his own cause making it 7-3.
The Flamand homerun would turn out to be the high point of the day for the Wolves as Barwick stormed back in the top half of the fourth inning.
Brad Wakefield, Wes Derkson and J.J. Landry each drew walks to start the inning as Flamand struggled to find umpire Gus Lindberg’s strike zone.
Travis Derkson then hit a deep fly ball to Wolves right-fielder Bourassa who misplayed the ball allowing it to drop and score two runs.
Will Derkson and Oltsher then hit singles to cap the rally and tie the game at 7-7.
Oltsher made short work of a visibly shaken Sight & Sound team in the bottom of the fourth sending Barwick back to the plate looking to take the lead.
Wakefield and Wes Derkson each singled to start the inning and later scored on a Travis Derkson double to put Barwick ahead for the first time.
Gemmell then tripled to score Travis Derkson and increase the lead to 10-7.
Barwick replaced starting pitcher Oltsher with Jason Wilson in the bottom of the fifth inning but the result remained the same as Wilson retired the Wolves without surrendering a run.
In fact, neither team could muster any offence until the bottom of the sixth inning when Sight & Sound’s Visser led off with a single, stole second and later scored on a wild pitch to make it 10-8 heading into the final inning.
Any thoughts of a Wolves comeback seemed lost when Gemmell crushed a two-run homerun following a Vaughn Wilson walk to give Barwick a four run lead with a half inning left to play.
However, the Wolves would not go quietly.
Flamand and Swire both walked and Shute singled to load the bases for Pagee.
The Wolves’ shortstop came through with a single scoring two runs to cut Barwick’s lead in half.
Windego followed Pagee’s hit with a single of his own to make it a one run game at 12-11.
That was the closest they would get though as McKinnon singled to load the bases but Lheureux hit a weak grounder to second base for the final out of the inning.

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