2016 Grand Forks International – Day Two Recap
Day two of the 2016 Grand Forks International had a bit of everything – close, low-scoring, defensive games; thrillers that had fans on the edge of their seat through the whole game; and even its share of massive blowouts. From early morning to late night, the second day of competition certainly had something for everyone.
Burnaby Bulldogs 2 – 4 Northwest Honkers
Goose calls filled the morning air at James Donaldson Park as the Northwest Honkers prepared to take on 2014 GFI Champions, the Burnaby Bulldogs.
The game could certainly be considered one for the baseball purists, as after seven complete innings of play, the score was deadlocked at 1-1. The Honkers opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning and the Bulldogs responded quickly by tying it up in the top of the fourth, but from that point, strong pitching and fielding and weak bats combined for another scoreless three innings.
Burnaby finally broke the monotony of the game up to that point with another single run in the top of the eighth, but that run looked to open the floodgates for the Northwest Honkers.
The Honkers had a strong eighth inning to earn three runs, enough to guide them to the 4-2 victory in the incredibly close and defensive game, over the Burnaby Bulldogs.
Depending when you were watching the game, the pitching could be described as superb or less than perfect. The two starting pitchers both had great games. Burnaby’s starter, Shawn Schaefer, only gave up one run, three hits, and two walks in six entire innings pitched, while Northwest starter, Jerome Byndloss, struck out seven, and only allowed one run and two walks over seven innings on the mound.
Both teams both had their share of poor pitchers too, however. Josh Larson of the Bulldogs allowed three runs, only one earned however, and walked four players in almost two entire innings. Oliver Wange of the Honkers also struggled, allowing one run, one hit, and one walk in 0.1 innings pitched for an ERA of 27.00.
West Coast Guns 1 – 3 Everett Merchants
If the fans at James Donaldson Park thought the first game of the day was low-scoring, were they in for a surprise when the West Coast Guns and Everett Merchants clashed in the 11:00 AM game.
The game looked like it would be more offensive than the first game of the day early on with the Merchants going up 3-1 after the third inning, but the bats for both teams seemingly stalled.
Inning after inning of strong pitching and fielding created six consecutive innings of no runs for either side from the fourth inning all the way to the ninth.
Both teams succeeded defensively in different ways, though. The Guns relied less upon their pitchers and more on their fielders, but gave up eight hits in the process. Everett on the other hand, only allowed five hits over the course of the game, thanks to their 16 strikeouts, 14 of them all coming from the same pitcher.
Starting pitcher Cody Culp was the star of the game for the Everett Merchants. In an astounding eight innings pitched, he only allowed four hits, one run, and two walks. The most amazing statistic of all, was his 14 strikeouts leading his Merchants to victory in an incredibly hard-fought game. Click here for Culp’s post-game interview with Gerry Foster.
The West Coast Guns’ starting pitcher, Damon Porter, also deserves credit, however. While he only struck out four batters in seven innings, he still only allowed seven hits, one earned run, and one walk to keep the Guns alive against a tough Merchants team.
Seattle Studs 6 – 5 Thurston County Senators
The third game of the day pitted two GFI powerhouses in defending champions Seattle Studs and the Thurston County Senators against each other to open both their tournaments.
It was another tight defensive game with strong pitchers on both sides, but despite the skill on the mound and in the field, the powerful bats of these two teams could not be silenced completely.
The Studs got the scoring started in the third inning with a strong three run performance that seemingly put them in the driver’s seat of the game from then.
It wasn’t until the sixth inning when the Senators began to mount their comeback scoring a single run. Two more in the seventh inning tied things up at 3-3.
Then the excitement began.
Thurston County put the pressure on the Studs with an additional two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the scoreline at 5-3 in favour of the Senators.
The Studs can never be counted out though and the defending champions had a three run top of the ninth and a shut down performance in the bottom of the final inning to earn the win.
Like the other two games of the day to this point, the pitchers were the stars. Studs starter Geoff Brown had a breathtaking performance striking out 16, while only giving up five hits, two walks, and one earned run in seven innings pitched. Nick Caudillo, the starter for the Senators, also put up a strong six inning performance only allowing three hits, three walks, and no earned runs.
Burnaby Bulldogs 8 – 0 North Sound Emeralds
The Burnaby Bulldogs were the first of two teams to have to play two matches on Wednesday and after their earlier loss to the Northwest Honkers, the Bulldogs looked out for blood against the North Sound Emeralds.
It took some time for Burnaby’s bats to warm up with a 0-0 deadlock after three innings, but once they did, there was no coming back for the Emeralds.
The Bulldogs earned two runs in the fourth inning, four in the fifth, and their final two in the seventh.
Burnaby’s offensive dominance made this the first game to be called due to the eight-run mercy rule, with the Bulldogs up by eight runs at the end of the seventh inning.
Even more remarkable however, was Burnaby’s spectacular pitching and fielding. They held North Sound to no runs and only three hits over the course of seven innings, which is certainly no easy feat.
Mitch Hodge was the pitcher behind Burnaby’s shutout as he only allowed three hits and one walk, while striking out four en route to the big win.
His team also rallied behind him strongly both at the plate and in the field to earn the 8-0 victory for the Bulldogs.
Everett Merchants 10 – 3 Snoqualmie Valley Hurricanes
After Burnaby, the Everett Merchants became the second team to play two games on Wednesday as they matched up against fellow Washington rivals in the form of the Snoqualmie Valley Hurricanes for the 8:00 PM night game.
As seemed usual on Wednesday, the offence faltered in the early stages of the game, with the first 3.5 innings going without a single run.
Snoqualmie got the scoring started with a single run in the bottom of the fourth inning, while Everett responded with a run of their own in the fifth. Eventually, by the end of the sixth, Snoqualmie was up 2-1.
From that point, it looked like the Merchants could not be stopped as they thrashed the Hurricanes in the latter half of the game. Three runs in the seventh inning coupled with a dominant six-run performance in the eighth guided Everett to a 10-3 victory and their second win of the day.
With the 2-0 record on the day and the tournament, Everett all but secured themselves a spot in the Money Round with their strong performances.
Despite the loss, Snoqualmie’s left fielder Chris Badley was one of the most impressive players as he went three for three at the plate and scored two RBIs, scoring most of the Hurricanes runs for them in the game.
Snoqualmie’s starting pitcher, Hoskins, also starred in his team’s loss, as he struck out 11 and only allowed one earned run in seven innings on the mound for the Hurricanes.