After losing the first two games of their best-of-five Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League semifinal series against the Truro Bearcats, the Sooners got back into it in a big way with a 16-7 win on Friday evening before a crowd of about 300 people at the Susan McEachern Memorial Ball Park in Sydney.
"Looks like the extra batting practice this week paid off," said Sooners manager Jim (Rico) McEachern. "We needed to start hitting and we did - we're back in the series."
The Sooners 17-hit attack was led by second baseman Josh Forrest, who obviously benefited from his time in the batting cage as he had five hits, four RBI and three stolen bases. Outfielder Jeff MacKinnon and the versatile Sean Ferguson, who played third base on Friday, were also productive at the plate with the latter pounding two balls off the fence.
While the score line flattered the home team, the game's outcome was anything but clear in the early to mid innings. With the Sooners leading 4-2 after three innings, the Bearcats scored five runs in the top of the fourth to take a 7-4 lead and knock Sydney starter Logan Aker out of the game. He was replaced by Nate Brewer. The Sooners came right back in the bottom of the inning to score five runs of their own. And, while the lefthanded Brewer tamed the Bearcat bats through four shutout innings, the Sydney offence continued to pound the Truro pitching staff for seven more runs, including another five-run inning in the bottom of the sixth.
Kenny Long pitched a scoreless ninth inning to end the game.
The evening's highlight for the visiting team was Guy Pellerine's monster homerun over the right field fence.
The first pitch of Game 4 is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday. A fifth and deciding game, if necessary, will be played at 5 p.m.
"We're going to throw everything at them, we won't leave anything in the dugout and I'm certain they will be doing the same thing," said McEachern.
NOTES: Injured Sooners regular third baseman Cory Christie was a surprise return to the line-up as he played as the designated hitter. The other NSSBL semifinal series has the Dartmouth Moosehead Dry leading the Halifax Pelham Molson Canadians two games to one.