An inning-ending pop fly was the difference in the Morden Mohawks semi final win.
The Mohawks came back from an 11-day break in Border Baseball League action to defeat the Pilot Mound Pilots 5-2 in game one of the best-of-five series.
The bulk of the scoring came after what appeared to be a harmless, inning-ending pop fly in the third. With two outs, Ryan Steppler ran on contact and kept crossed the plate, not expecting it to count.
The ball appeared to fall in to second basemen Riley Penner’s glove, but came loose as he hit the ground.
“That should be the end of the inning, and that falls in and lets us score,” said Mohawks coach Brent Laverty. “We score a couple more after that.”
“Walks and errors will kill you. That’s the biggest thing they say in baseball.”
The Mohawks plated three more after the error extended the inning, taking a 5-1 lead.
After that, it was left-handed pitcher Seth Staple’s game to win against the Pilots lefty-heavy batting order.
“Seth’s only thrown a couple of games for us this year,” said Laverty. “But every time he’s thrown he’s been really good.”
The 2018 Manitoba Junior Baseball League all-star of the Pembina Valley Orioles got it done, only allowing two runs over all seven innings.
“I feel pretty confident against lefties,” said Staple. “So it was nice to get out there and have about eight of them.”
“I have the advantage, so I want to utilize it.”
The advantage goes to the pitcher in a lefty-lefty matchup for two reasons.
Left-handed pitchers are less common, so batters aren’t used to facing them.
More importantly, the ball travels away from the left-handed hitter as it crosses the plate, making the pitch harder to read and hit.
The Mohawks hit the road for game two on Tuesday night in Pilot Mound, and will return to Buhler Park for game three Thurday, August 2, with first pitch at 7 p.m.
“Now that we have this game under our belt, it’s still anybody’s series,” said Laverty. “But we have a really good chance of coming out on top.”