Elks Walk to Win
By Sven Alskog:
When you are in the midst of a bad stretch in baseball things typically will continue to not go your way, whether it be calls made on the field or the weather.
The Klamath Falls Gems had each of those things happen to them in a 2-1 extra-inning loss to the Bend Elks Tuesday night.
After a 30 minute rain delay at the beginning of the game, action would continue with a pitching duel playing itself out.
With the score tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the 10th, Gems reliever Kody Kuhlman (3-3) would load the bases with two outs. A questionable ball call on a 3-1 pitch to Jake Peevyhouse resulted in Curtis Wildung crossing the plate as the winning run.
Desperately needing a strong start from his pitcher, Gems manager Mitch Karraker would get just that from Long Beach State product Austin McGeorge.
The right-hander had bouts with control all night, however nine stranded base runners for Bend throughout the game would limit the damage, twice escaping bases loaded with one out situations.
In his 6 1/3 innings of work on the mound, McGeorge allowed just one run on four hits and seven walks, striking out seven Elks batters.
Matching McGeorge with goose eggs during each inning, Bend starting pitcher Jake Thompson tossed six scoreless innings, allowing just five hits and two walks in the process, also striking out seven Gems.
The scoring wouldn’t get started for either side until the bottom of the seventh inning.
McGeorge walked Zach Close to lead off the inning and advanced him to second on a wild pitch. Close was moved to third on a Jonathan Brooks sacrifice bunt.
Michael Brinska then entered in relief, falling victim to a base hit up the middle with the infield in off the bat of Peevyhouse to score Close. Brinska escaped the remainder of the inning with no further damage. The run was charged to McGeorge.
Trying to respond in the top of the eighth inning, Dennis Morton worked a full count walk to get things started for the Gems. A John Williams sacrifice bunt moved him to second and an ensuing intentional walk to Thomas Walker put runners on first and second with one out for Carson Breshears.
Breshears jumped all over the first pitch from Jesse Pratt, appearing to have lined it over the first base bag for a huge extra base hit for the Gems. The ball was ruled foul and Breshears would follow it up by flying out to left field, with Kuhlman then striking out on the eighth pitch of his at-bat, ending the threat.
Gems head coach Mitch Karraker would go to his bench leading off the ninth inning in the form of pinch hitter Thomas Lerouge. The speedy Lerouge put pressure on the defense, lining one right at third baseman Brock Carpenter, resulting in an error to allow him to reach. Jay Anderson used a sacrifice bunt to move him to second and Justin Bridgman advanced Lerouge against on a grounder to the first baseman.
Continuing his tear with the bat since joining the Gems, Steven Packard came through with the big hit, crushing a double off the right-center field wall to score Lerouge. Bend would escape the rest of the inning unscathed.
The solo run in the bottom of the 10th would give the Elks the walk-off victory.
The series finale between the Gems and the Elks will be tomorrow at 6:35. Michael Silva is slated to take the ball for Klamath Falls. All the action can be heard on ESPN 93.3 FM and 960 AM with the voice of the Gems, Erik Oas.