CORNER BROOK In a game that began to look like it might break curfew, the Transmission Experts Cardinals suddenly put the lights out on Whelan's Gate.
With the score tied 2-2 in extra innings, the Cardinals exploded for five runs in the top of the ninth to bury their younger opposition 7-2 and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Corner Brook Bud Light Men's Softball League semifinal series at Fred Basha Memorial Park A Diamond on Wednesday night.
"We cracked it open with five runs and they couldn't respond," said Cardinals' Tyler Wells.
Dave Kearsey went the full nine innings for the victors, giving up six hits and a walk, with nine strikeouts.
Jeff Gosse suffered the defeat, with 14 hits allowed and two walks in his nine innings of work. He struck out three.
Greg Birmingham was the main threat at the plate in the win, going 4-for-5 with three singles and a double. He scored on an error. Wells was 3-for-6 with three singles and two runs scored.
Zack Green led the Gators at the plate with a 2-for-4 stat line, highlighted by two singles and an RBI.
It's an interesting turn of events, after the Cardinals couldn't buy a win to end the regular season, while the Gators looked like they finally had everything all figured out.
Even Wells had no answer for why things turned around so quickly.
"Honestly, we have no idea," he said. "We came here and just flicked the switch. We started playing small ball right from the first pitch and it's been working for us."
That's now two tough losses in a row for the Gators in a series player Jordan Kennedy believed they could sweep during a playoff preview in Monday's edition of The Western Star. Now it will take a three-game sweep for them to survive.
"They have an older pitcher who is going to be throwing again (tonight)," said Gators' Coady Kelly. "So that's to our advantage."
Their backs now planted firmly against the wall, some of the more inexperienced members of the Gators might start to tighten up a little in tonight's do-or-die affair, but Kelly, who will also be on the mound for Game 3 tonight, doesn't foresee that being an issue for himself.
"I've played right across Canada," he said. "I have no nerves."