Stickel says it’s comforting to know the team has more arms in the pen than in years past but liked being able to go the distance for the win and take some pressure off of the younger players.
“I’m not use to having so many pitchers in the bullpen there but it’s always nice to have that in your back pocket. I always like pitching deep and I was just glad I could find the stuff and not plug it up too much,” he states. “I think on the weekend we had some jitters. We have quite a young team this year with a lot of kids coming up from the little league system. I felt that everyone got into the game tonight and I think it showed in the field. We had a really good game.”
The game hung in the balance throughout the first half after some errors by the Sox but a big double play in the top of the fourth inning helped turn things around for Fort St. John.
“It was a huge play. Byron Grady made a nice grab out in centre then fired a strike out to Andrew McNeil at short and he threw another strike to Cody Cobb and got that guy at third,” Stickel explains. “That’s just good fundamental baseball, bang bang plays that you can feel the energy build off a play like that and it gets everybody fired up.”
Grady also did solid work at the plate from the lead off spot with a two for four showing. Stickel says he plays an important role as one of the more experienced players on the squad.
“He had a great game defensively and offensively. He went two for four but even the two other balls he ripped right at guys in the outfield. He’s one of the veteran guys. He’s been with us for a few years now and it’s good to see him stepping him especially in the first part of the game when we were a little slow with the sticks tying it up at 3-3.”
Next for the Black Sox is a double dip on Saturday as they take on Grande Prairie and Peace River at home at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively. That’s followed by another home date on Sunday against Grimshaw at 2 p.m.