Brennen Jacobsen scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Swift Current Indians a come from behind 7-6 victory and control of their first round WMBL playoff series against the Lethbridge Bulls.
The Indians erased a 6-0 deficit to take a 2-0 series lead in the best of five.
"You've got to give these guys a lot of credit," Coach Joe Carnahn said. "They stuck with it the entire time... (Alex Tufts is) the story of the game... Alex was outstanding, kept us in it."
Tufts, a former Bull, came on in relief of starter Garrett Anderson in the 2nd inning and threw a gutsy 7 1/3 innings to give Swift Current an opportunity to win.
"I was just thinking to give us a chance," Tufts said. "I know the offence would kick it in eventually. Good to pitch against guys I knew. It's always fun and pitching against the old team is always a good game."
He only allowed a run in the top of the 3rd before shutting down his former team the rest of the way.
"You know Tufts just has that killer mentality," said Indians Catcher Will Thorp. "When he wants to win not a lot of guys can beat him. That mentality trumps sometimes a 90-100 mph fastball or a great curveball. He came with a plan and executed it. I give 100% credit to him he threw a great game."
The comeback almost didn't happen. Down 6-3 in in the bottom of the 8th, the Indians scored a run when Bulls first baseman Jeremie Fagnan booted a Jack Thompson ground ball. Catcher Will Thorp tried to come in all the way from 2nd base and got called out at home. The call elicited a fierce reaction from the Mitchell Field crowd and almost from Thorp. Indians Coach Joe Carnahan rushed to the plate, guided his player out of the way, and was able to debate the call while cooling the temperature of the moment.
"He was in there real quick," Thorp noted. "Spur of the moment and intensity kind of gets a hold of you at the time. The umpire had a better view and perspective than me. We won and that's all that matters."
The move would pay off as Thorp drove in Brennan Peterson with the tying run on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the 9th inning. He ran out a potential double play on the ground ball to short to make sure the run would count.
"It felt great," Thorp said. "I was just thankful to get another shot at it."
Aaron Dunsmore again sparked the Indians offence. He went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI and a run scored. Tanner Morache also went 3 for 5 and scored once.
Kirk Haviland got Swift Current's offence going with a solo home run in the bottom of the 7th. He also got hit to lead off the bottom of the 10th before giving way to Jacobsen as a pinch runner.
Mitch Ludtke earned the win in relief as he struck out the only batter he faced in the top of the 10th with a runner on 2nd base.
Lethbridge got to Anderson early as Zach Rhodes hit a 3-run home run in the top of the 2nd inning. Joel Blake drove in 2 runs including a home run off Tufts in the top of the 3rd. Fagnan went 3 for 5.
The Bulls bullpen couldn't hold a nearly lights-out performance by starter Alex Regan. He went 7 strong innings only allowing 2 runs (only 1 earned) and 4 hits. His relief followed that up by allowing 5 runs, 4 hits, walking 4 and hitting 2 batters over the next 3 innings.
The Tribe set the table in the bottom of the 10th when Bulls pitcher Jerry Lawrence hit both Haviland and Jack Thompson. Morache than beat out a bunt to load the bases. David Greenstein was at the plate when Jake Hansen's wild pitch allowed Jacobsen to score.
"That's what playoffs are all about, guys staying level," Carnahan said. "The team that stays level the best and can execute is going to come out on top more times than not."
Lethbridge has yet to beat Swift Current in six tries so far this summer in the regular season and playoffs. Carnahan is still taking them very seriously.
"They're a good hitting team," the Indians coach added. "We can't give them free bases, they're going to capitalize. We've got to come out from pitch #1, we've got to be focused."
The two teams hook up again in Lethbridge for game 3 Thursday night. It's a do or die game for the Bulls. Larsen Kohler gets the start for Swift Current. He went 3-2 with a 3.44 ERA, 32 strike outs and 12 walks during the regular season.
You can hear every Indians playoff road game on The Eagle 94.1 FM. Ryan Switzer has the call from Lethbridge at 6:50pm.
If necessary, game 4 would go Friday in Lethbridge and game 5 on Saturday in Swift Current.
Click here for a photo gallery
Click here for the boxscore
Regina 13 Weyburn 6 (Regina leads 2-0)
Moose Jaw 10 Melville 4 (15 innings) (Series tied 1-1)
Medicine Hat 10 Okotoks 3 (Series tied 1-1)
Full Interview with Coach Joe Carnahan
Full Interview with Alex Tufts
Full Interview with Will Thorp
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