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Red Lions roar to open 2022

Club downs Fort Saskatchewan and Parkland to start NCABL season 2-0
WES - Red Lions IMG_1918
Red Lions pitcher Mike Cote deals to a Fort Saskatchewan Reds hitter during the club’s 9-1 season-opening win at Keller Field May 10. The Red Lions ended their week with a 2-1 victory over the Parkland Twins May 13 to improve to 2-0 and a share of top spot in the North Central Alberta League.

WESTLOCK - The Westlock Red Lions showed little offseason rust and opened their 2022 North Central Alberta Baseball League season with a pair of wins that included an eight-run drubbing of one of last year’s playoff teams.

On May 10 at Keller Field versus the Fort Saskatchewan Reds, the club rode five innings of stellar four-hit ball from pitcher Mike Cote, who also struck out four while only posting one walk, while Jordan Brand went one-for-two at the plate with four RBIs and Hayden Chies chipped in with two RBIs and three runs in the 9-1 demolition.

Friday night, May 13, on the road versus the Parkland Twins, Kyle Lawrence pitched five scoreless innings and allowed only three hits with no walks and fanned three batters, while Corson Hanlan’s RBI single in the sixth inning proved to be the eventual game winner in a tight 2-1 win — Nathan Brown had the club’s other RBI. Hanlan also recorded the save on the mound, relieving Lawrence for the final two innings and struck out one, walked three and gave up a single earned run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Player/manager Chris Brand said they’re pleased with their hot start considering the abbreviated spring training due to the cold. With some notable additions to the roster over the offseason, the Red Lions appear poised to be the league’s powerhouse.

“It’s a good start to year, it was a team effort. It was definitely nice to be able to shake the rust off,” said Brand. “When our pitchers go out and throw strikes and let our defence play the way they can, it makes the game a lot easier.”

This week the Red Lions will be on the road for their biggest test so far when they face the undefeated 2-0 St. Albert Cardinals May 17. The club will then return to the friendly confines of Keller Field May 24 to take on the Barrhead Orioles — first pitch for both tilts is 7 p.m.

“Since we haven’t had much action to start the year, it’ll be about our pitching and our bench … we have a really deep team and I think anyone I put on the field will deliver for us. It’s going to be an exciting year,” he added.

George Blais,

George Blais

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