04/22/2022 1:30 PM -
The game of baseball is all about getting hot at the right time. This was exceptionally true for the 2021 Lethbridge Bulls.
The end of the regular season was not pretty for the Bulls, as they dropped 6 games in a row including four in a row to first round opponent Sylvan Lake. But the 2021 edition of the Lethbridge Bulls knew how to hit the reset button going into the WCBL postseason.
After their skid to end the regular season, the Bulls found themselves the lower seed in the first round. Lethbridge embraced the underdog mentality and went on the road and took home field advantage away from the Sylvan Lake Gulls. Lethbridge product Bryce Fraser finished what he started as it took 104 pitches for the right hander to come away with a complete game victory. Lethbridge won the game 4-2 despite not scoring a single earned run in the contest.
It was a come from behind thriller in Game 2 at Spitz Stadium. Sylvan Lake starter Ty Boudreau and Bulls starter Brad Goodwin locked horns in an epic pitcher's duel and the Gulls held a slim one run lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. With runners on first and second, it was the perfect time for Lethbridge local Dalton Demers to come up with a big hit. A hard ground ball down the left field line cashed in the tying run to even up the score. The game remained tied in the bottom of the 9th inning and the theme of Lethbridge natives coming up big continued. With one out and a runner on second, Ty Penner hit a hard groundball up the middle for the walk off single, a 3-2 Lethbridge victory, and a spot in the 2021 WCBL finals.
After their own upset in the first round, the 4th seeded Edmonton Prospects were ready to do battle with Lethbridge for the WCBL crown. Game 1 of the 2021 WCBL finals was a pitching duel for the ages. Edmonton left hander Sasha Kamenjasevic and Bulls right hander Jake Anderson were both locked in. But it was Anderson and the Bulls who survived game 1. Both pitchers fired complete game efforts, but it was a complete game shutout for Anderson that gave the Bulls a 2-0 victory and more importantly, put Lethbridge one win away from the WCBL title.
Game 2 saw two veteran right handers get the nod for their respective clubs. Kyle Poapst for the Bulls and Scott Gillespie for the Prospects. Both teams exchanged runs and Lethbridge held a 5-3 advantage after five innings of play. But it was the 8 run 6th inning for Lethbridge that put the game out of reach. Noah Or was hit by a pitch, two run doubles by Carlin Dick and Kalem Haney, an RBI single by Nick Gravel and a bases loaded walk to Ty Penner did the damage. Bryce Fraser came out of the bullpen in relief for Poapst and slammed the door shut. A 16-5 win for the Lethbridge Bulls and the second championship for the franchise, the first since 2015.
Right hander Bryce Fraser took home the honors of WCBL Playoff MVP. Bryce fired 14.2 innings across two appearances, one start and gave up only four runs. He struck out 15 hitters walking only three.