WESTLOCK – The Westlock Red Lions put on an impressive hitting and pitching clinic last week, pummeling the Fort Saskatchewan Reds and Barrhead Orioles by a combined score of 33-2 to tighten their grip on second place in the North Central Alberta Baseball League.
The club started the week with a dominant 10-1 victory over the Reds July 11 at Keller Field, then followed it with a five-inning, 23-1 destruction of the Orioles July 13 in Barrhead and now sit at 9-4 in the NCABL, good enough for second behind the Parkland Twins who stand at 12-3.
Red Lions centrefielder Nathan Brown said following some early-season rainouts and a late start to the campaign, the club is firing on all cylinders as they head towards the playoffs.
“Both of those teams are good, the scores shouldn’t have been that high but we just got on a roll. We’ve had it happen to us and now we’re doing it to other teams. It’s not going to be like that for the rest of the season, that’s for sure,” said Brown.
“We’ve got solid pitching and our bats are starting to hit mid-season form. I think that’s one of the things we were struggling with in some of the earlier games — getting consistent batting. We knew we had a deep line up as far as hitting, but when you start a season, then end up with rainouts it’s hard to get that consistency. But as the year has gone on, it’s allowed us to have more plate appearance and guys have gotten more comfortable. And now we’re just going up there and trying to hit the ball the best we can.”
Brown, along with teammate Hayden Chies, were voted into the league all-star game played July 17 at REMAX Field in Edmonton — the 9,200-capacity ballpark, nestled in the river valley, has been home to Edmonton’s Triple ‘A’ ball teams in years past. Brown said he was looking forward to the game, adding it wouldn’t have been possible without his teammates.
Through stats up to June 26, Brown has hitting .500 with eight runs, three RBIs and three stolen bases, while Chies was sitting with a .429 average, six runs, five RBIs and three stolen bases.
“Lots of our team will be going as well representing our division, so it will be cool to be going with them. Whenever you get an opportunity like this, really it comes from the fact our team works so well together. This year I’ve had a bit more success than normal and I think it’s because of the guys around me. On and off the field we have a great group of guys,” said Brown.
This coming week, July 19, the Red Lions will be in Fort Saskatchewan to face the Reds then return home July 21 to take on the Parkland Twins. The following week they'll be on the road for three-straight games, July 25, 27 and 28, in St. Albert, Barrhead and Fort Saskatchewan.
“We’ve got a pretty tough stretch coming up, so it should be interesting,” he added.