Sun Devils fall short in semi-final; Merchants defeat Studs to claim 2018 KIBT title

By Adam Donnelly
July 9, 2018 - 5:08pm Updated: July 9, 2018 - 6:00pm

KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops Sun Devils had a shot at playing for the $10,000 dollar top prize at the Kamloops International Baseball tournament Sunday but had to go through perennial contenders, the Everett Merchants to get there.

With one on in the bottom of the 3rd, the Merchants took the lead courtesy of the long ball. Matt Whitt smacked the Josh Snider offering out of the yard to right to give the Merchants a 2-0 lead.

With a 13-1 drubbing at the hands of the Merchants on Saturday still fresh in the minds of the local boys, the Sun Devils wanted to avoid having their opponents hang up a crooked number on them, and got a break when Everett SS Andy Atwood tried to stretch a looper down the line into a double. He was gunned down by Kamloops RF Erik Herbranson to end the Everett threat.

Snider was a machine on the mound for the Sun Devils Sunday pitching all 10 innings. He surrendered the odd hit but kept the Merchants off balance while his defence made some big plays like an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the 7th.

With the score still 2-0 Everett, the Sun Devils finally got on the board. With runners on first and second, Catcher Evan Douglas laced a single down the RF line, scoring Josh Hillas from second and leaving runners on the corners

Then Mccoy Pearce drove a long fly ball to the gap for a sacrifice fly RBI to tie the game at two. Everett failed to score in the bottom of the 9th, so it was off to extra innings.

With the international tiebreaker rule in effect, the Sun Devils scored one on a Josh Hillas liner up the middle, giving them a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the 10th.

With runners on the corners, Everett 2B Anthony Gomez hammered a ball off the wall in left field; the Merchants walked off the Sun Devils to win a spot in the Championship game against 7-time defending KIBT Champs, the Seattle Studs

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In the final, the Merchants won the coin-toss and managed to lead the game 5-3 into the top of the 9th.

Cue the Studs comeback - it started with a base on ball, then a base hit to right from Kyle Boe, that Everett RF Nolan Smith tries to sell as a catch.

The next batter, Brennan Hancock laced a line-shot off the wall in right-center and both runs would come around for the Studs, so it was off to extras again where, in the bottom of the 12th, with two out and Max Whitt on first base, Jake Tilley clutches up and hits the 0-2 offering down the LF line - Whitt saddles up and scores all the way from first base, and Everett Merchants win the 45th edition of KIBT with the second walk-off victory of the day.

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