The Swift Current Indians are hoping to turn a red-hot regular season stretch run into an extended Western Major Baseball League playoff run beginning tonight against the Lethbridge Bulls.
The Tribe won nine of their final 11 games to run away with the Central Division with a 28-18 record, third best in WMBL.
Their sprint to the finish earned them a first-round playoff match-up with Lethbridge (27-18). The Indians swept all four games in the season series with the Bulls, but Carnahan said the playoff series would be much closer this time around.
“They are an outstanding team and we were just fortunate a couple of times this year, we were playing probably our best baseball against them and we caught them on days when they weren’t playing their best baseball. They are an absolutely outstanding team. They have pitching, they can hit, and they play good defense. It is going to be a battle from game number one.”
Lethbridge are led by the bats of Ridge Gonsoulin (.413, 8 HR, 39 RBI), Joel Blake (.360, 3 HR, 28 RBI) and Jesse Sawyer (.291, 12 HR, 45 RBI).
Carnahan expected to start Brian Ranta in game one. Ranta finished 4-3 with a 4.20 earned run average. His last win came July 23 when he allowed three hits and two earned runs in 5-1/3 innings in a 7-3 win over Lethbridge.
“We have to really execute our pitches,” said Carnahan. “They have a potent offense. The thing with them is if you start giving them free bases, as far as walks, errors, that kind of stuff, they can really capitalize on that. They have speed on their team, they have guys that can hit the ball out of the park, they have good contact guys. They are a well rounded line-up.”
“We played well against them in the regular season, but they are a good team,” added Dunsmore. “They have a bunch of good starters, a couple of good relievers, and they have a good closer too. As well as they have guys like Sawyer and Blake who hit well every single year they are in the league. So when you have a couple guys like that who can put the ball out of the ballpark any time you definitely have to get ready to play.”
The best-of-five series opens Tuesday and Wednesday in Swift Current. Both games begin at 7:05 p.m. at Mitchell Field. Follow the Indians playoff run at swbooster.com.
Games three and four are slated for Thursday and Friday in Lethbridge. Game five, if necessary, would be played Saturday in Swift Current.