A kick in the pants seems to be just what the top-ranked Fort Frances Braves needed.
After suffering their first loss of the Rainy River District Fastball League season last Thursday night in the opening game of the East Division final (a 10-4 setback to the second-seeded Sight & Sound Wolves), it was the Braves who cruised to victory Tuesday evening.
Mike Parisien homered twice to pace the Braves to a 18-3 rout in the second-and-deciding game at VanJura.
With the win, the Braves advanced to the two-game league final, where they'll square off against the West Division champion Dawson Tigers starting this Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
The Braves jumped all over the Wolves early in the first inning this past Tuesday, scoring four runs against starting pitcher John Desaulniers.
After back-to-back singles by Cole Tymkin and Jaden Gustafson, followed by a Travis Tom fly-out, started the frame, an RBI single plated Tymkin.
Gustafson was thrown out at the plate while also trying to score.
Logan Jackson then drew a walk and stole second before Parisien came through with his first homer of the night—a three-run blast to centre—that put the Braves up 4-0.
The Wolves got one back in the bottom half off Tom, with Duane Carlson smacking a one-out RBI single to trim it to 4-1.
After Jackson got aboard with a one-out infield single in the top of the third, Parisien crushed a double off the right-field fence to cash him in to push it to 5-1.
The Braves then plated two more runs to go up by six in the top of the fourth.
After Tymkin slapped a one-out single to left and stole second, Gustafson ripped an RBI triple down the third-base line before Tom cashed him with a single to make it 7-1.
The Wolves had a great chance to cut into the deficit in the bottom of the fourth but Carlson's lead-off single was negated by the stalwart pitching of Tom.
Parisien belted his second round-tripper of the night in the top of the fifth with a deep solo shot to right to stake the Braves to a commanding 8-1 lead.
The Wolves finally were able to pierce through Tom's armour in the bottom half, getting a two-out, two-run single from Kurtis Wepruk to cut it to 8-3.
Tom then came through with an RBI single to cash in a lead-off single by Tymkin in the top of the sixth. He later stole second before scoring on a single to make it 10-3.
Jackson then smashed a double off the centre-field fence before Parisien came through with a sacrifice fly to score him to widen the Braves' cushion to 11-3.
After the Wolves failed to muster any offence off Tom in the bottom half, things further unravelled for them in the top of the seventh.
The Braves had a bat-around inning, scoring seven more runs—highlighted by Brandon McGinnis' three-run homer—to make it a laugher at 18-3.
Tom then struck out a pair of Wolves' batters in the bottom of the seventh before getting a fly-out to preserve the win.
Tom had seven strikeouts over as many innings of work, giving up just three runs on six hits, to earn the win.
Desaulniers was saddled with the season-ending loss for the Wolves, surrendering all 18 runs while finishing with four strikeouts.