Kelowna Falcons

Falcons Take Two

The Falcons squared off against the Kitsap Bluejackets, not once, but twice on Saturday afternoon. After game one of the series was rained out Friday evening, the two teams clashed in an afternoon/evening double header. Following a three-game sweep of the Bluejackets in Kitsap last week, the Falcons came into this series on a roll.

The hot streak stayed alive, but it took some serious tenacity for the boys out of B.C. The Falcons took a marathon game one by a score of 4-3, before turning around and squeezing out another victory in the late game, edging their opponents 2-1. There was no shortage of drama, as both games were won by the home side in walk-off fashion.

As is the norm in West Coast League double headers, both games were shortened affairs, scheduled for seven regulation innings to help fit two games into one afternoon.

Game one of the day was anything but short, however. It took 11 innings for a winner to emerge, with both sides putting up a fight and refusing to go down.

Jake Simmons started game one on the mound for the Falcons, giving his club a solid 5 innings pitched, allowing just 3 runs on 7 hits with a single walk. Simmons earned a no decision for his start, opening the door up for the bullpen to come in and play some meaningful innings.

Riley Moore came on in the sixth, finishing up the final 6 frames with a dominant performance. The reliever only surrendered a single hit with two walks, earning the W and moving his record to 2-1 on the season. In 11 games this year, Moore has a 2.76 ERA with 12 strikeouts.

The offense was a collective effort in game one. The club recorded 12 hits off the bats of 9 different players. Bowen Ogata, Max Carter, and Davis Todosichuk each recorded a pair of hits. Ogata also earned an RBI in the first matchup.

The Falcons took a 2-0 lead in the third, and held onto it until the top of the sixth when the jackets leapfrogged ahead 3-2. The opponents’ lead didn’t last long though, as AJ Sawyer drove in JT Williams for the tying run.

It was a pitcher’s duel after that, as neither team could find their way onto the scoreboard again until late into extra innings. Jesse Moore made it to first on a walk, before he was subbed out for Geoff McCaulley. The pinch runner worked his way to third, before a wild throw to first base gave him a chance to sprint home and score the walk-off run.

The victory represented the Falcons’ fourth in a row, pushing their second half record to an even 5-5. They weren’t finished there though, after a brief break between games, they came out looking to shut the door on their visitors from the south.

After a game one that saw a combined 20 hits, the offense cooled down significantly for the late matchup. Both teams combined for just 8 hits and 3 runs in game two.

The box score wasn’t in the victor’s favour Saturday evening. The Falcons earned just 3 of the game’s hits, while suffering 2 errors. Despite the daunting numbers, the scrappy club clawed out their second win of the day in dramatic fashion.

It was anyone’s game heading into the late innings. The Falcons waited until the sixth inning, but they drew first blood, and never looked back. Davis Todosichuk got on base to lead off the inning, and managed to make his way around the bases on a series of sacrifices and wild pitches to give his club the lead.

The Bluejackets knotted things up in the seventh inning, and it looked like the game was headed to extras once again. With one out in the bottom of the final frame, Chandler Robertson walked, and then advanced to third on an AJ Sawyer double. Jake Druce was intentionally walked to fill the bases and give the jackets a chance at a double play to extend the game. A Falcons strikeout meant the birds had the bases loaded with two away and a chance to end it. Todosichuk played the waiting game, and worked his way into a full count.

The tension was at its peak as Todosichuk waited for the 3-2 pitch. The Bluejackets pitcher delivered the full count offering, the home plate umpire signaled ball, and the Falcons rushed the field to celebrate their second walk off in as many games.

Falcons head coach Bryan Donohue knew his team was struggling to get the bat on the ball in the second game of the night, so his team managing the win was all the more impressive to him. “Pretty good job just finding ways to get on base. When you put pressure on a team like that, it’s not an easy situation, with the bases loaded and the game on the line. Kudos to our guys for taking care of it.”

Blake Randazzo started the second game on the hill, and kept his club in it, despite their offensive woes. He went 6 innings, allowing 3 hits, not giving up any runs or walks along the way. Jared Morton closed out the seventh inning, earning the win. He went 1 inning, allowing a run on two hits, and adding a strikeout.

The pair of wins Saturday vaulted the Falcons (6-5) into first place in the WCL North division. Donohue knows sitting atop the standings is a pressure position, but he thinks his team is well suited for the challenge. “I think these guys are going to thrive there. Just knowing that we control it. We don’t have to go scoreboard watch, we can just go out and win baseball games.”

The long day of baseball took its toll on both teams, but there is a sense of energy and pride on the line for the Falcons, who will hope to close out the series with another victory on Sunday.

First pitch for the series finale is scheduled for 6:05 PM Sunday at Elks Stadium.

Story courtesy of Matt Inglis – Falcons Media

Photo courtesy of Matt Inglis

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