WESTLOCK - The Westlock Grey Lions came up a run short in what was nearly a comeback for the ages.
After falling behind 7-1 heading into the bottom of the second inning of their Aug. 5 home tilt versus the Sherwood Park Pirates, the Grey Lions mounted a sustained multi-inning comeback but ultimately couldn’t plate the tying run in the bottom of the seventh and lost 8-7. Played at Keller Field, the Thursday-night defeat dropped the club to 8-4 in the Alberta West Central Baseball Association.
Player/manager Sheldon McConaghy said the Pirates looked more like the 1927 Yankees in the early innings as every hitter was able to connect.
“They were finding holes the first couple of innings, but after we changed our pitcher we started to battle back,” said McConaghy. “We tightened up defensively and stayed in the game and nearly came all the way back.”
The Grey Lions finish out their regular season tomorrow, Aug. 10, on the road versus the Sherwood Park Ducks and McConaghy said he won’t know their playoff matchup until the final league game is played Aug. 16. As it stands the club will finish in the Top 4 of the nine-team league.
“We should end up in the top half of the league for playoffs, so it’ll be one versus four and two versus three,” he added.
Red Lions return
After an extended break in their North Central Alberta Baseball League schedule, the Westlock Red Lions still have an outside shot for a regular-season pennant and need a pair of wins in their final two games, plus some help from the league-leading Sherwood Park Athletes.
The Red Lions need to sweep their upcoming Aug. 9-10 two-game, home-and home series versus the 3-7 St. Albert Cardinals — Game 1 is scheduled for tonight, Monday, Aug. 9, at Keller Field at 6:45 p.m., while the return match goes Tuesday in St. Albert.
The Sherwood Park A’s, who are the defending NCABL champs, still hold all the cards and sit at 9-1, while the Red Lions are in second at 7-2-1 — one win for the A’s in their final two games secures them the pennant.
The Edmonton Athletics have finished their regular season schedule and sit in third at 6-6, while the Fort Saskatchewan Reds occupy fourth at 5-4-1. The Reds, whose final two contests are against the Sherwood Park A’s, only need one win to vault into third.
The NCABL playoffs, which will start after the conclusion of the regular season, will see the pennant winner face the fourth-place finisher, while the second and third-place teams will square off — both series will be best of threes.