Brandon Marlins centrefielder Paul Thompson makes the catch during Manitoba Senior Baseball League action on Sunday afternoon at Andrews Field. (COLIN CORNEAU/THE BRANDON SUN)
The Oak River Dodgers will have home-field advantage for the first round of the Manitoba Senior Baseball League playoffs.
Colin Bates went 4-for-4, scored four runs and drove in two others as the Dodgers won the second half of their double header against the Brandon Houstons Marlins 9-6 Sunday night at Andrews Field to clinch fourth place.
"It was nice to finish with a win against them," said Dodgers manager Gord Paddock, whose team dropped the opener 8-5. "We weren’t real sharp against them in the first game. That’s what we were looking at going into today and things worked out our way."
Bates finished the game with a pair of triples and was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Al Martin also hit a triple and drove in two runs for the Dodgers (6-13). Bryan Krahler led the Marlins (5-14) with a 4-for-6 performance that included two runs and two RBIs.
Scott Beever earned the win for Oak River. He gave up six runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. Matt DeGagne took the loss for surrendering seven runs on 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Although the Marlins can catch the Dodgers in the standings when both teams wrap up their regular season schedule today, Oak River holds the season series over Brandon. Their best-of-three playoff series will start on Wednesday in Oak River before returning to Brandon on Friday. Game 3, if necessary, will be played on Sunday in Oak River.
While the Dodgers were playing for home-field advantage on Sunday, Paddock isn’t sure how big of a role it will play in the series.
"I don’t think it’s huge," he said. "It’s nice to have the home crowd there. Both teams have seen both diamonds plenty of times so there’s nothing new that way, but it’s always nice to start at home."
In the opening game of the double-header, Patrick Vandoorne carried a hot bat for the Marlins, going 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs. He also stole three bases, which is why Krahler said he’s so valuable to the Fish.
"He’s a big part of our success," said Krahler, who earned the win on the mound for holding the Dodgers to five runs — two which were earned — and four hits.
"He’s quick, he’s fast if he gets on base. He had three stolen bases and is a big part there. If he gets hot at the plate, he’s going to worry the pitchers if he gets on at all. He did a nice job for us."
Tanner Jago was 3-for-4 with two runs and one RBI. Jeff Wiebe recorded the save after throwing two scoreless innings.
Nat Howard took the loss for the Dodgers after getting lit up for four runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings in relief of starter Dana McNish. Bates led Oak River at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two runs and one RBI.
Sunday’s other game between the Reston Rockets (12-7) and the Brandon Cloverleafs (11-7) was postponed due to rain.
It has been rescheduled for Wednesday at
7 p.m. in Reston.
Both the Cloverleafs and Rockets can tie the Neepawa Farmers (13-6) for first place in the league, which would force a playoff game to determine the league’s top seed for the playoffs.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 16, 2012