White Sox eliminated

by Terry Villeneuve

Last week’s semi-final series in the North Saskatchewan River Baseball League between the Meadow Lake White Sox and the Lloydminster Twins went the distance with the Twins getting the upper hand.

Game one was held July 29 with Lloydminster winning 2-0. Game two, played in Meadow Lake, was won by the hometown White Sox 4-2 while the third and deciding game was won by Lloydminster on July 31.

“We had three really good games,” noted White Sox veteran and team manager Regan Beck. “Especially the first two.”
In game one, Beck said it was a pitching duel between Meadow Lake’s Quincy Winkler and the Lloydminster hurler. “Both were exceptional. It was as good a pitching you’ll see in the entire province,” he said.

Lloydminster managed to go up 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning as Meadow Lake made a couple of errors.

“ After that, Quincy went to work and pitched six-and-a-third. Les Ellis finished out the game,” Beck said.

Back on home turf for game two July 30, Meadow Lake ran into trouble early. “They hit a lead-off triple, but we were able to limit the damage to two runs,” Beck said.

He noted while the Lloydminster pitcher had good control, so did Meadow Lake’s Craig Weran.

“He gave us everything he had,” Beck said of Weran. “And then we were able to get a rally going in the fifth.”

Meadow Lake had three hits, scored four runs and took over the lead 4-2.

“The right guys came up in the (batting) order and we got a bounce to go our way and had good base running,” said Beck, who belted in Meadow Lake’s first two run. Another pair of runs scored when Davin Hildebrand hit a hard single past the pitcher, with the ball ricocheting off the second base bag.

Lloydminster failed to score in the next two innings as Weran picked up the victory with a total of six strikeouts – two in final inning to close out the contest.

“I struggled early on, but once we got through that inning things seemed to really cruise along,” he said. “I was able to get ahead in the count early just kept them off balance. And my location was really good. Wherever (catcher) Jordan Stacey put the glove, I was pretty much able to hit it with my fastball or curve ball.”

Weran said the six strikeouts in the game was a lot for him against a really good team like the Twins.

“Even against a weaker team I wouldn’t normally strike out that many batters,” he admitted. “I’m just not that kind of a pitcher whereas Quincy is. He’s an overpowering pitcher who racks up a lot of strikeouts.”

The secret to Weran’s pitching is, he says, he’s a pitch-to-contact kind of pitcher.

“For me to have success I rely heavily on our infielders making the routine play and our outfielders catching the ball. And I require a lot of help and I always get it,” he said.

For game three in Lloydminster July 31, Meadow Lake sent Jordan Stacey to the mound. He too had a bit of difficulty.

“Jordan got off to a bad start, much like I did in the previous game,” said Weran. “He gave up four in the first inning.”

Meadow Lake got back in the game later in the third when Winkler hit a three-run homer to cut the Twins’ lead to 4-3.

“Unfortunately, we turned around and gave up another two in the bottom of the third. And from there they blew it open in the sixth with another five runs,” said Weran of the 11-4 final.

The Meadow Lake White Sox now turn their attention to the Senior A Provincials which they host at Assman Field at Lions Park this coming weekend.

“We like our chances as well as anybody. We’ve got a great team. We hit the ball well and have good pitching. The goal is to win on Friday night and get on the A-side of the draw,” Weran said. “It’s so much less stressful to win that first game and not be facing elimination your second game.”

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