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Grey Lions’ backs against the wall in AWCBA final

Club will need a win Aug. 23 versus the Sherwood Park Pirates to force a third-and-deciding game
Third baseman Kevin Ginger throws to first base to get an out for the Westlock Grey Lions during Game 1 of the AWCBA championship played Aug. 20 at Keller Field versus the Sherwood Park Pirates. Despite having a 3-1 lead early in the game, the Grey Lions lost to the Pirates 5-4, with Game 2 in the best-of-three series slated for Aug. 23 in Edmonton.

WESTLOCK – The Westlock Grey Lions will need to run the table if they want to hoist the Alberta West Central Baseball Association (AWCBA) championship trophy.

The club dropped Game 1 of the league championship Aug. 20 at Keller Field by a 5-4 score to the Sherwood Park Pirates, who upset the reigning two-time league champs, the Sturgeon Paladins, 2-1, in their best-of-three semifinal series. Game 2 is slated for 6:30 p.m., Aug. 23, at Wally Footz Field in Edmonton, with Game 3, if necessary, tentatively set for the following day, Aug. 24, back in Westlock.

Player/manager Sheldon McConaghy said they got off to a great start and took a 3-1 lead through the first two innings before the Pirates, who they went 2-0 against during the regular season, plated four runs in the top half of the third inning — it was a tough night in the field for the Greys, as all five runs they gave up were unearned.

But the club did rally and got one back in the top of the fifth inning to make it 5-4, but just “couldn’t get that tying run” home over the final two frames.

“We just didn’t have it on the defensive side of the game today,” said McConaghy following the loss. “We got our hits today and they had a good pitcher on the mound, but we just need to clean up our defensive game.”

McConaghy said they’ll use the next couple of days to refocus, knowing that every game from here on out is win-or-go-home. This is the third-straight AWCBA championship series the Grey Lions have played in, having dropped the last two to the Paladins.

“The Pirates have had good pitching this year, so it’s been tough to muster a bunch of runs against them,” said McConaghy. “But if we play a better defensive game, we’ll have a good shot at it.”

George Blais,

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