Derian Potskin's bases-clearing three-run double in the bottom of the eight inning lifted the PG Surg Med Knights to a 7-6 win over the host Strathmore Reds Saturday afternoon, keeping their title hopes alive at the five-team Western Canadian 18U midget double-A baseball championship.
It was the first win in three games at the five-team tournament for the Knights, who lost 2-1 Saturday morning to the Altona Bisons of Manitoba.
The Knights forced the afternoon game into an extra inning when they loaded the bases on the Reds in the seventh inning and Luka Kim was hit by a pitch.
Kolby Lukinchuk started the game on the mound for the Knights and Richard French came in with two outs in the seventh inning and finished it.
The Reds scored two runs in the first inning and the Knights cut the lead to one in their half of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Lukinchuk which scored Zach Fillion from third. The Reds went up 4-1 in the sixth inning. Fillion's double scored Kim and French and the Knights trailed 4-3 in the seventh.
Nolan Hull walked to lead off the inning, then Jacob Ross came in to pinch hit for Brady Pratt and was hit by a pitch. Sam Senay, picked up for the tournament from the Queens Park Royals, was walked and Kim took a pitch off the helmet to bring in the tying run.
The international tiebreaker rule came into effect in the eighth inning, giving the Reds baserunners on first and second and they scored two runs for a 6-4 lead. That set the stage for Potskin. With Kim on second base and Fillion on first, which brought Senay to the plate. After two failed bunt attempts, Senay hit a ground ball that was bobbled by the Reds' second baseman. Fillion was forced out and the throw to third sailed high, leaving first and third occupied for Potskin, who blasted a pitch over the centrefielder's head to score three runs and end the game.
"That kept the season alive," said Knights assistant coach Dylan Lukinchuk.
In the game against Altona, the Knights and Bisons were tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning when the Manitoba champions ended it with a walk-off hit. That spoiled an otherwise spectacular game for Prince George pitcher Jacob Ross. The first-year midget pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed just five hits and two runs.
Jordan Swannie, picked up by the Knights for the weekend from the Burnaby Braves, scored the Knights' run in the top of the first inning. The Bisons tied the game in the bottom half of the inning.
The Saskatchewan-champion Unity Cardinals (2-2) lost 11-10 to Altona in the last game of the day Saturday. The Cardinals had a 6-2 lead at one point in that game.
Prince George (1-2) will play Leduc (2-1) Sunday at 8 a.m. PT. The Bisons (3-0) will wrap up the preliminary round with a game against winless Strathmore (0-3) at 10:45 a.m. PT.
The Knights will still have to beat Leduc to have a shot at qualifying for a tiebreaker. After win-loss records, the next determining factor to decide which two teams would then advance to the tiebreaking game is based on runs allowed per defensive inning throughout the tournament. After three games the Knights had allowed 11 runs in 22 innings for a 0.5 ratio. Leduc had allowed 1.3 runs per inning through three games, while Unity gave up a ratio of 1.115 after four games.
That tiebreaking game, if needed, would be played 1:45 p.m. PT Sunday, with the final scheduled to start at 4:45 p.m. PT.
The Knights are the defending Western Canadian champions, having won the Baseball BC and BC Minor Baseball provincial championships earlier this month.stern Canadian champions, having won the Baseball BC and BC Minor Baseball provincial championships earlier this month.
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