The Penticton Expos used a three-run surge in the fourth inning to defeat the Penticton Jays 5-4 and clinch the Penticton Minor Baseball mosquito playoff Saturday at McLaren Park.
The Expos took the early lead in the first inning with hits from the top of the batting order led by Cai Lewendon. The Jays then countered to take a 3-2 lead into the fourth inning. Expos McGarry Allen and Khy Cutler stepped up with clutch hits against Jays pitcher Ryan Paulhus and the Expos took the lead for good.
Expos coach Iain MacIntyre said his team played the best they had all year.
“They were just very determined,” said MacIntyre. “The Jays played really well. They are a very solid team. They were the most consistent team in the league all year. We just got a couple of breaks.”
The game featured great defensive plays as Nate Collins robbed a sure hit with a fantastic catch in left field and Luke MacIntyre dove on the mound to steal another hit. Dominic Delisle Lavoie came in to pitch the last two innings and shut down the Jays.
“All the boys improved so much throughout the year and played well all season long,” said MacIntyre. “This team had so much fun playing baseball together and developed some great friendships, I really enjoyed coaching this team.”
When Delisle Lavoie earned the final out, the players swarmed him and MacIntyre.
“They gelled together from Day 1,” said MacIntyre, who had the Gatorade cooler dumped over him by his players. “They celebrated success together. It was such a team effort. I think they were just happy for each other.”
Prior to the game, the league’s major sponsor Sussex Insurance donated a bike won by Tyler Kelly and a new equipment bag was given to Devin Carley. The league featured four Penticton teams, five from West Kelowna and one each from Summerland and Keremeos. The league saw a rise in registered players, increasing from 170 to 200.