The Swift Current Indians took a commanding lead over the Weyburn Beavers in their first round playoff series with a 5-4 walk-off win in 11 innings Thursday.
Second baseman Matt Henriksen singled with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th for his third run batted in of the game. The Indians now lead the best-of-five series 2-0 heading back to Weyburn for game three Friday.
The game-winning single capped off an eventful night for Henriksen. He also doubled in a run and hit a solo homerun but made two errors in the field.
None of the late game heroics would have been possible without an outstanding relief outing from Fernando Pena. He pitched six scoreless innings after coming on in the sixth inning and only allowed three hits and one walk while striking out five in relief of starter Micheal Noteware.
“Yeah I am pretty excited right now,” said Pena. “We came back. We were losing 4-1 when I came in. I tried to throw strikes and tried to get people out.”
It was a tough luck outing for Noteware, who didn’t get much help from his defence behind him. He allowed seven hits and four runs, but only two were earned over his five innings.
“It is a little bit different because I have been starting. It is just a different conception of the game trying go out there and throw strikes,” said Pena, a Spring, TX native, who finished with a 2.07 earned run average in four regular season appearances.
He said he would have been unable to go out for the 12th inning after throwing 82 pitches over six innings.
“I wasn’t going [back] out there. I felt like the last inning I was just throwing hard I guess. I was pretty exhausted."
Pena came on when the Tribe trailed 4-1 in the sixth. They scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth when Henriksen hit a solo bomb to left field and Keenan Jumper singled in Will Thorp. They tied it on the eighth when Jake Gonzalez scored on a Weyburn error to help set the stage for extra innings.