It wasn't the textbook way to earn a victory, but the streaky Swift Current Indians are not about to complain about the end of a three game losing streak with a wild 17-15 extra inning win over the host Lethbridge Bulls on Saturday night.
The 32 run affair was the highest scoring game in the Western Major Baseball League this summer, eclipsing the previous WMBL season high mark of 28 runs when Regina demolished Melville by a 24-4 count on June 10. And, ironically, it was not Swift Current's highest run producing game of the season, as they had earned an 18-9 win over Edmonton back on June 22.
Saturday's victory mirrored the 13-12 Tribe's roller coaster season, with many ups and downs in the unpredictable game. Swift Current posted five run innings in both the third and fourth innings while opening a seemingly insurmountable 11-2 advantage. After extending their lead to 12-2 in the top half of the fifth, Lethbridge exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fifth and added seven in the bottom of the sixth inning to erase a 10 run deficit and open a 15-12 advantage. Swift Current regained their composure and scored three runs in the top of the seventh to tie the score at 15-15.
It wasn't until the tenth inning that the game was decided when the Indians struck for a pair of runs. After loading the bases with none out, Eros Modena singled home Matt Spillman and Josh Johnson for the deciding runs.
Offensively, both Kolk and Taylor Steen enjoyed three hit games, while Kolk and Josh Johnson slammed home runs in the high scoring affair.
Lethbridge outhit the Tribe by a 21-15 margin, with the trio of Brandon Bufton, Mitch Dornblut and Bretton Gouthro each collecting four hits for the Bulls.
Swift Current sent five pitchers to the mound, with Zach Manley earning the win after allowing two hits and retiring six batters during a relief appearance in the ninth and tenth innings. Lethbridge used six different hurlers, with no single pitcher on the mound for more than three innings.
The Indians have endured a streaky start to the year over their first 25 games, starting the season 0-4 after a four game losing streak, rebounding to 5-4 thanks to a five game winning streak, before falling to 5-7 after a three game losing streak. The only time this season the Indians did not have a streak was on June 22 when they collected their 18-9 win over Edmonton, but they then dropped to 6-9 after a short two game losing skid. Swift Current put together their best set of games from June 25 to July 1 when they rattled off six straight wins to improve to 12-9. The dropped to the .500 mark after a three game losing streak before Saturday's explosive victory in Lethbridge.
Swift Current's losing streak reached three games last Friday when they fell 5-4 to the league leading Bulls in the first game of a weekend series.
The Tribe were one out away from extra innings when Kade Billeaudeux doubled and Evan Comeau hit a run-scoring single to give Lethbridge the victory.
Swift Current had led 3-0 after three innings, and a Darren Kolk run on a pass ball in the top of the ninth had tied the game at 4-4 in the tight contest. Lethbridge had replied with two run innings in the fifth and eighth before Comeau's game ending heroics.
Steve Thompson was tagged with the loss despite just giving up a trio of hits. Indians starter Fernando Pena had the no decision after seven and one third innings of work, striking out nine and yielding three run on four hits.