Axemen chop down Roadrunners in finale
Camrose Axemen left fielder Cal Zimmer slides safely home on Camrose Roadrunners catcher Colton Craig in their Powerline Baseball League season finale on July 5, 2018 at Harry Andreassen Field. Axemen won 24-6. Josh Aldrich/Camrose Canadian
Axemen 24, Roadrunners 6
For one Camrose team, the Pipeline Baseball League season ended with a bang, for the other it ended with mercy.
And it was all in the same game.
The Camrose Axemen beat the Camrose Roadrunners 24-6 on July 5 to close out the campaign for both teams, both on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
For the Axemen, a win over their inner-city rivals game them a good note to end their first season back in the PBL.
"We knew we were out of the playoffs and so we just wanted to get all of the boys into the game and try to have some fun and get some hits," said manager and second baseman Zach Wilms.
Three weeks previous and the Axemen were right in the thick of the playoff hunt but a min-slide took them out of contention. Thanks to beating the first-place Armena Royals 8-7 on July 4 and their win over the Axemen, they finished in sixth place, one game behind the Edmonton Expos for the one-game play-in.
"There was a couple of games where there were a lot of errors strung together and the bats died down a bit," said WIlms. "In such a short season all it takes is a coupe fo losses and there goes your playoff chances."
The Axemen are a team loaded with young players, many of whom graduated from the powerhouse midget AA program over the last couple of seasons. This year was all about gaining experience and learning the game at the senior A level.
"The boys that came in settled in pretty quickly, and a couple more every year I figure we can build a strong, young core here and chase a championship," said Wilms.
It was a year beset with injuries and quiet bats for the Roadrunners, and their once reliable defence submarined starting pitcher Lance Zimmer in the season finale.
This was not the note manager Bret Keohane was wanting to end the year on.
"Those games happen," he said. "We had a strong bullpen tonight, we had six pitchers available to us, it's just unfortunate we had to use five in five innings."
There were bright spots for the Roadrunners on the season. One of the league's oldest teams, once they started to get healthy and brought in a few more players, their bats came alive and they went 3-3 over their final six games and finished just two wins behind the Axemen in seventh place in the PBL.
"You have to build off that, and even our bats were coming around," said Keohane. "I think near the end of the year we were getting there and moving forward. ... We have a good core of guys that like to have fun, so we can only go up from here."
The Expos played the Holden Blue Jays in the one-game play-in round on Tuesday (results not available at press time) with the winner to play the Royals in the semifinal. The other seminfials is between the Rosalind A's and the Leduc Milleteers with the first game of the best-of-three going tonight in Rosalind at 7 p.m. Game 2 goes Tuesday in Leduc at 7 p.m.