What started out as one of the more complete games all season for the Swift Current 57s somewhat reversed course in the later innings, with the 57s falling 9-6 to the visiting Fort McMurray Giants.
The 57s were dominant for nearly the first two-thirds of the game.
Swift struck first, as Jerad Dokey opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning with a sacrifice fly to center field that brought home Bo McClintock.
McClintock (below) would touch all four bases again in the next inning, as a towering fly ball soared over the outfield wall at Mitchell Field for a two-run homer.
Big-Fly Bo struck again in the fifth inning with another home run, his WMBL-leading fifth of the season, this time a solo shot.
With a 4-0 score through five innings, it seemed there was no sign starting pitcher Mitch Guiberson would be touched on the night. Guiberson (below) started the game living in the strike zone, allowing little to no damage.
The sixth inning was a bit of a flipped switch, as two swings of the bat gave Fort Mac two home runs, and brought the score to a 4-3 ball game.
Guiberson exited the game after the sixth, giving up the three runs - two of which were earned - on six hits, striking out four batters.
Alex Orenczuk hit a solo homer of his own in the home half of the sixth to respond to the Giants push, but the momentum had already begun to swing.
"Mitch pitched well right away. They had two big hits there - two home runs - that put them in striking distance," said head coach Joe Carnahan. "They got another one, and we just couldn't turn off the switch. That's what's going on right now - we're just not able to turn off the switch and eliminate the crooked numbers in the middle innings."
The crooked numbers carried into the later innings as well for Fort Mac, as two more Giants crossed the plate in the seventh inning, three were driven home in the eighth, adding one more in the ninth.
Dauson Tate did rip an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to bring home Jered Binsfield, but an untimely double-play broke up the makings of a potential run.
Reliever Nick Hooper was charged with the loss for the 57s.
Swift has now lost four straight home games - the post-game message to the team was one of focus and not dwelling on the past, good or bad.
"You know, don't lose sight of why we're here, in that it is a process. It's a long season in a short time - a lot of games," said Carnahan. "So the biggest message is to have a short memory. Not only from day to day, but pitch to pitch. You can't let one pitch dictate the outcome of your day, or your at-bat, or your outing on the mound. You've got to move from that pitch and execute your next one or that at-bat and get a pitch to hit."
The 57s did pile up 11 hits in the game, dead even with Fort Mac's total, but it's some early-inning efficiency and situational hitting that Carnahan and the coach staff look to improve on moving forward.
"Guys are barrelling balls up, hitting the ball well. One thing we have to do better is we have to have better team at-bats," Carnahan noted. "Early on we had a lot of opportunities to cash in runs, and cash them in without getting hits. If we all of a sudden get that spread a little bit bigger earlier in the game, then that makes them use their bullpen a little bit differently and gives us a better chance."
Looking to snap a brief two-game losing streak, the 57s (3-7) host the Okotoks Dawgs (6-2).
"They're a good club. they're going to come in, fill up the zone, play good baseball, and that's what we're going to have to do tomorrow too," said Carnahan.
Tommy Steier will get the start for Swift Current tonight at Mitchell Field.
"We expect him to come out, command the zone with four pitches, and give us a good outing."
First pitch between the 57s and Dawgs is set for 7:05 p.m.