Kelowna Falcons

Extra Inning Magic

The Kelowna Falcons used a strong five inning, eleven strikeout relief effort from Cal Hehnke to help them to an 8-6 victory in 12 innings over the Cowlitz Black Bears from David Story Field on Saturday night.

For the fifth straight game, the Falcons saw the opposing side score first as Cowlitz’s Austin Bell continued his hot play with an RBI double in the top half of the 1st inning to give the Black Bears an early 1-0 advantage.

Kyle Froemke pushed the Cowlitz lead to 2-0 in the 2nd inning with an RBI single cashing in Dalton Mitchell before Falcons starter Owen Leonard began to get in a groove and threw up three scoreless innings of work, which allowed the Falcons offence to get to work.

Lucas Soper drove in Steffen Torgerson in the 3rd inning with a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to a run before each of the starters, Leonard and Cowlitz’ Mitch Lines, settled into a groove and did not allow much of anything through the next few innings.

The Falcons were able to tie the game up in the 6th inning with Taylor Wright collecting an RBI sacrifice fly to center field before Cowlitz came back in the bottom half of the frame and got their lead back on a bases loaded balk from Ian Turner, who then shut the Black Bears down with three strikeouts in the inning.

Mike Piniero continued to swing a hot bat in the 7th inning as he drove Austen Butler from third on a looping single in to right field to tie the game once more before the Falcons bats came alive in the 8th inning, scoring three runs on four hits in the inning including a big two-run single from Torgerson that put Kelowna ahead for the first time in the game by a 6-3 score.

As had happened most of the time in the game, there was a response and the Black Bears got that thanks to the red-hot bat of Austin Bell. Cal Hehnke took over in the 8th inning, surrendering a hit to Ryan Kim before Bell hammered a three-run home run to right field and tied the game at 6 with his second home run of the season and eventually saw the game get into extra innings.

Hehnke was masterful through his five innings of work from the 8th inning onward and the Falcons gave him some run support in the 12th inning with a base hot from Torgerson followed by Matt Voelzke being plunked by a pitch and put runners on 1st and 2nd base where Soper and Trent Tinglestad delivered RBI fielder choices to give the Falcons an 8-6 advantage before Hehnke closed the door with his 10th and 11th strikeouts of his five inning night coming in the bottom of the 12th to preserve the win.

Manager Bryan Donohue was impressed with what he saw from his group on Saturday, “We competed hard and scattered hits all over the ball park tonight,” commented Donohue, “I wouldn’t be surprised if this team put up double digit hits every night but it comes down to the value of those hits and tonight was a lot of high value.”

The skipper was equally as impressed with what he saw from the right hander Cal Hehnke, “You could tell after that 8th inning ended, he wasn’t going to give up anything else,” said Donohue, “It was fun to watch a guy deal the way that he did and really shut the door for us tonight.”

After a stellar performance, out of the bullpen, Hehnke picked up the much-deserved victory to improve to 1-0 while Joe Solomon took the loss for the Black Bears. The two teams meet again for the final time on the weekend with the rubber match of the three-game set going on Sunday evening. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PM before the Falcons return to Elks Stadium for a playoff rematch against the Victoria HarbourCats.

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