WESTLOCK - The Westlock Red Lions will face the Fort Saskatchewan Reds in the opening round of the North Central Alberta Baseball League playoffs next weekend with a spot in the league championship series at stake.
The club wrapped the regular season in second place with a 14-6 record following a 7-1 home win over the Barrhead Orioles Aug. 2, followed by a tough 6-5 road loss Aug. 5 to the league-leading Parkland Twins who finished the year at 17-3.
Player/manager Chris Brand said they had their chances against the Twins, a team they went 1-4 against during the season, but wound up fumbling a three-run lead in the final frame.
“I think we might have addressed our pitching in the seventh a little differently if it was a game that actually meant something. But it is what it is,” said Brand.
Meanwhile versus the Orioles, starter Corson Hanlan was dominant and only gave up three hits and an unearned run in four innings of work, while relievers Jordan Brand and Kyle Lawrence allowed only one hit over the final three frames. At the plate, hitters Hayden Chies and Sean Beaudoin each had two RBIs — Beudoin also had three hits and Chies netted a pair of runs.
To prepare for their best-of-three semifinal series against the third-place Reds, a team they went 5-0 against during the regular season, Brand said they’ll hold a few practices and play a fun tilt against an Edmonton ‘AAA’ midget squad that’s heading to Westerns.
Game 1 of the series goes in Fort Saskatchewan Friday, Aug. 19, with first pitch slated for 6:45 p.m. Games 2-3 will be held at 1 and 4 p.m. at Keller Field on Sunday, Aug. 21, during the ag fair weekend.
“We’re looking forward to playing them. It’ll come down to us just going out there and doing our job,” said Brand.
In the other semifinal series the Twins will face either the Orioles or St. Albert Cardinals, who are tied with identical 5-14 records. In the final week of regular season play the Cardinals take on the Reds in Fort Saskatchewan Aug. 8, while the following night the Orioles finish out their regular season on the road versus the Reds.
Game 1 in that semifinal series will be held in either Barrhead or St. Albert Aug. 18, with the second and third games to be hosted by the Twins Aug. 20.