Heading into the 2017 North Saskatchewan River Baseball League playoffs, the North Battleford Beavers knew they'd be in for tough run.
Despite clinching the Albers division, their 7-6-1 record meant they were the seventh seed and had to face the 10-4 Unity Cardinals.
Through three innings of game one on Wednesday night, the Beavers were in a comfy spot, tied 0-0.
But the fourth is when things slowly started to unravel, beginning with one erred pitch and then a home run.
The result was a 4-0 lead after four innings.
At the end of the game, the final score was 10-1 for Unity.
"[Rhett] Feser is a good pitcher, probably one of the hardest pitchers in the league, so runs are really tough to come by for us," Beavers player Rory Gregoire said. "At [4-0], we just weren't getting any bats going and weren't able to put any pressure against them to get any runs.
"We weren't able to make any kind of a comeback after that."
Feser entered the playoffs with a 4-1 record and 52 strikeouts (the most in the league) in 36 innings. He carried the league's second best ERA at 1.94. Not to mention, Feser also proved valuable at the plate with a .404 batting average and 19 hits, tied for the third-most in the league.
For game two this coming Sunday, where the Beavers need a win to keep their season alive, they'll likely have to face another tough arm in Blake Robertson.
Robertson had a 3-1 record with 29 strikeouts in 27 innings this season and a 2.85 ERA.
"That's what separates Unity, is their pitching," Gregoire said. "So for us, we need to do a better job of trying to get some base runners on and try to get some runs together.
"We faced [Feser] now twice. He pitched against us in the regular season and we've only mustered up three runs against him. On Sunday... I'm sure we'll see Robertson. He's the other guy that's in the top in ERA so it doesnt get any easier for us."
On Wednesday, Feser was up against Battlefords youngster Quinton Cubbon, who's last start was a solid five inning performance for the Beavers, where he allowed just one earned run and four hits to get the win.
Cubbon started well but eventually Unity got to him and never looked back.
Gregoire believes the key to tying the series up is cashing in when runners reach base.
"Our average with runners in scoring position is very low and I think if we can't turn that around quick, she's going to be over pretty quick," he said. "So that's I think one thing we really need to bear down on, is when we do get runners on base, especially against better pitching, we need to capitalize."
Sunday's game two is set for 7:30 p.m. at Beaver Lions Stadium.
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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