The Swift Current Indians’ season came to a sudden end Sunday with a 6-4 loss to the Lethbridge Bulls in the fifth and deciding game of the teams’ opening round playoff series.
The Indians had won the opening two games at Mitchell Field but were eliminated in the first round for the second straight year with three consecutive losses to the Bulls.
It was game of missed opportunities for the Tribe, who left 12 runners on base, including the fourth inning when they had runners on second and third with no outs and failed to score. They left two men on in the fifth, grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the sixth, and scored twice in the eighth but flied out with the bases loaded.
Brian Ranta made a solid start for the Indians, allowing eight hits and five runs, only three of which were earned, over 7-1/3 innings. He was in trouble early, allowing a run in the first, before giving up a two-run home run to David Dorton in the second as Lethbridge jumped out to a 3-0 lead that they never relinquished.
“It came down to what we said the series was about,” explained coach Joe Carnahan after the season ending loss. “You just can’t make mistakes and when they do make mistakes we have to capitalize. They made some mistakes and gave us some runners and we didn’t capitalize and when we did make mistakes they did capitalize.”
12 runners left on base was a glaring statistic in the loss.
“Oh absolutely,” said Carnahan. “I mean we had a couple chances early to push runs across without even having to get base hits, just get your ground balls or fly balls and get your RBI’s that way. You have to tip your hat to their pitcher, he made some big pitches in those situations and we weren’t able to get it done.”
The Bulls move on to face the Medicine Hat Mavericks in the league semifinals, while the Regina Red Sox and Moose Jaw Miller Express will face one another in the other series.