The Fort St. John Paladin Black Sox came up big , on the road, in the fifth and deciding game of their series.
Heading into their game in Rycroft, neither team had been able to win on the road. Adding to the pressure was the fact that this would be Ryan Stickel’s fourth start in the past eight games. None of that mattered, however, as the Sox played a very good game winning 10-3.
In the first inning, Paladin’s lead-off hitter, Payden Wongstedt, clubbed a triple. Two batters later, Stickel hit him home with a sacrifice fly to lead 1-0 after one inning. In the second, the Sox added another run when Matt Shuya led off the inning with a double and Jeff Shipton brought him home with a double of his own.
The score stayed 2-0 through the fifth inning. In the sixth, the offense exploded for 4 runs, led by Jordan Shipton who hit a two-run home run scoring himself and Stickel. Shuya and Bryan Lewis also scored. The Rycroft Rage finally scored in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 6-1.
In the top of the seventh, the Sox did some more damage, scoring 4 more. This time it all started with 2 outs. As in the sixth inning Stickel, Shipton, Shuya, and Lewis all came home to score. The Rage replied in the seventh with a two-run home run of their own, but it was too little, too late with the score ending up at 10-3 for the Sox.
Sox coach Danny Pappin said that it was a solid defensive effort that lead to the victory, coupled with the strong bats of newcomers Matt Shuya, Bryan Lewis and Jeff Shipton.
Winning pitcher Ryan Stickel threw his off speed pitches for strikes and pitched ahead in the count. He said, "Our defense has just been so strong the last two games all I needed to do was let them hit it, the fielders would go get it".
Jeff Shipton was stellar at the plate going 4 for 4 and driving in 3 runs. Matt Shuya was 2-4 and scored three runs. Lewis , Stickel and Jordan Shipton were all 2-4 and scored 2 runs.
The schedule for the finals against Grande Prairie should be determined in the next several days and will be posted as soon as we get it, here on energeticcity.ca.