KELOWNA, B.C. – Behind a three-run fourth inning and a complete game outing from starter Spud Heideman, the Gresham GreyWolves managed to overcome a long day of travel to top the Kelowna Falcons in their second half opener on Wednesday night.
After starting their eight-hour trip to Kelowna on Wednesday morning, Gresham (1-0, 12-16 overall) was delayed at the Canadian border for more than three hours later that afternoon. The team finally arrived at Elks Stadium with just enough time for a quick warm-up before starting its second game in as many countries in less than 24 hours.
Heideman (Concordia-Wisconsin) was dealing from the outset on Wednesday, retiring the first four batters he faced. His counterpart on the mound – Kelowna (0-1, 13-15) starter Tanner Knapp – was equally as dominant through the first three innings, with both pitchers matching zeroes until the fourth.
The GreyWolves broke through for three runs in that fourth inning despite having their first two hitters record two quick outs.
Ryan Smith got the rally started by doubling to left-center field, and UC Davis product Mark Cardinalli promptly drove him in with an RBI single. Cardinalli and Ryan Rodriguez would come around to score two batters later on an RBI single off the bat of catcher Ben Klenke (Nebraska), which gave his club a 3-0 advantage.
Heideman conceded a pair of runs in the home half of the frame but was able to hold his team’s lead for the rest of the night. After his infield rolled up a double play ball to get the junior out of a mini-jam in the eighth inning, head coach Justin Barchus decided to send his starter out for the ninth as well.
Heideman (3-1) took advantage of the opportunity, quickly retiring the Falcons to put a bow on the 3-2 win. He finished the night with 102 pitches and was credited with the victory, while Knapp (0-3) took the loss.
Gresham will now look to clinch a series victory in game two of the three-game set on Thursday evening. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. in Kelowna.
Photo Credit: Erik Schultz
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