After a frustrating 4-0 loss to the St. Boniface Legionaires in the opening game of a season opening doubleheader Sunday afternoon in Steinbach, the Carillon Sultans bats roared to life in the second of that twin bill as the Sultans pummeled the Legionaires 14-2.
At any rate, the Manitoba Junior Baseball League season, abbreviated this year due to COVID-19, is underway, six weeks later than normal.
As one of the Sultans players quipped after that 4-0 season opening loss, "well, that was our one pre-season game."
If that’s what it was, the Sultans quickly got the setback out of their system as they destroyed the Legionaires in game two, scoring 14 runs on 18 hits as the three-four hitters in the Carillon line-up, Zach Giesbrecht and Burke Heide, went to town on the Legionaires.
Giesbrecht, one of the dominant players in the MJBL, also the starting pitcher in the game, and Heide, his catcher, each collected four hits in the contest. Giesbrecht scored three runs, belted three doubles and had three RBI. Heide drove in four runs in a performance that included a double and a single.
Stephane Lagasse and Austin Friesen had two hits each for the Sultans. Giesbrecht also picked up the win on the mound allowing two runs on seven hits.
The Sultans could have used a few of those hits in the opener. "We just weren’t able to get a timely hit," said coach Curt Brandt, as the Sultans were limited to four hits in the game.
Carillon was without the bat of catcher Burke Heide in that opener as Brandt kept him out of the line-up due to the heat and playing in that catcher position.
"Obviously, those guys (Giesbrecht and Heide), going back-to-back in our line-up are very good hitters, tough to stop," said Brandt.
Brandt says he was also pleased with the work of all of his pitchers, using six in the two games in some very hot conditions.
All eight teams in the MJBL opened their seasons on Sunday with a doubleheader. In other action: Altona swept St. James 9-2 and 2-1; Pembina Valley and Elmwood split, with Elmwood winning 12-2 and Pembina then blanked Elmwood 6-0; and Winnipeg South and Interlake also split with Winnipeg South winning the opener 15-9 and Interlake taking the second game 10-9.
The Sultans are back in action on Canada Day in a doubleheader at Morden against the Pembina Valley Orioles, with games at 3:00 and 6:00 p.m., and then will hit the road again on Sunday for doubleheader action at Stonewall against the Interlake Blue Jays. Game times are 1:00 and 4:00 p.m.
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