After a marathon duel between the starting pitchers, one bad toss gave the Brandon Cloverleafs a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Manitoba Senior Baseball League’s championship series on Sunday at Andrews Field.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th inning, Brandon Marlins pitcher Ryan Duncan hit Kevin McNeill with a pitch to score Casey Clark and give the Cloverleafs a 3-2 victory.
The majority of the game was a pitchers’ duel between Paul Thompson of the Marlins and Anthony Friesen of the Cloverleafs. Friesen allowed just five hits and one run in eight innings of work while striking out six. The lone run charged against him came in the third when Duncan came around to score on a Nolan Jago single.
Thompson, meanwhile, threw 138 pitches in his 11 innings of work, allowing just four hits, three walks and striking out 11. He was poised for the win until the bottom of the ninth when Pearce McDonald singled and stole second base. McDonald then tried to steal third and came around the score when Marlins catcher Ty Paddock overthrew the third baseman.
Patrick Vandoorne almost played hero for the Marlins. In the bottom of the 11th with the bases loaded and one out, he caught a line drive and beat McDonald to the bag to end the threat. He then doubled to left field in the top of the next inning to drive in Duncan and give the Marlins a 2-1 lead.
Jeff Wiebe, however, couldn’t shut down the Cloverleafs in the bottom of the 12th. He gave up a single to Jason Rae, who Dylan Haney replaced as a pinch runner. Clark then singled and Haney came around to score on when Wiebe slipped and threw away a Mason Schiff bunt. Duncan replaced him on the mound and loaded the bases before hitting McNeill.
Wiebe took the loss for the Marlins, while Matt Mutcheson earned the win for the Cloverleafs. He allowed one run on two hits and two walks in four innings of work.
Game 4 is set for Tuesday at Andrews Field at 7 p.m.