Longtime scorekeeper Tony Parker, recently inducted to the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame, called it the longest game in Kamloops Major Men’s Fastball League history.
Tempest weather led to rain delays and poor field conditions at Charles Anderson Stadium, adding to the atmosphere of the winner-take-all grudge match.
The Frenchy’s Prowlers of Chase, who lost to the HD Parts Bombers of Kamloops in the 2018 and 2017 finals, were sick of waiting on Thursday when the eighth inning rolled around in the deciding game of this year’s championship series, a rematch of the previous two.
Pinch-hitter Aaron Arnouse drove in a pair of runs to tie the game at 15-15 in the bottom of the eighth, with the international tiebreaker rule in effect, and Josh Simpson stepped up to the plate with the game on the end of his bat.
Simpson singled to drive in the winning run, giving the Prowlers a 16-15 victory and sweet vengeance on a rain-soaked night in downtown Kamloops.
“We knew we could do it and we didn’t give up,” said Prowlers’ winning pitcher Steve Davidson, who hurled seven-plus innings in relief of starter Ethan Lans.
“They’re a good team. We were all getting tired. It was a slugfest.”
Adam Donnelly, who pitched eight innings for the Bombers in a losing effort, said the rivalry with Frenchy’s is predominantly friendly, but the loss still stings.
“It didn’t feel great, especially when you’re pitching, trying to get guys out,” Donnelly said.
“I’ve been playing against most of these guys for 20 years. We can all chat after the game.”
Lans was 3-for-5 at the plate, with two RBI. Teammate Vegas Antoine was 2-for-2, with four RBI and four runs scored.
The Bombers, who scored twice to take a two-run lead in the top of the eighth, walked Antoine to get to Arnouse in the bottom half of the inning.
“We thought, put the force on, maybe get a ground ball,” Donnelly said. “I thought for sure they were going to lay down a bunt.
“I thought it was a good pitch, but he went with it, smashed it to the wall.”
Added Davidson: “Coming off the bench isn’t easy. It just shows the depth in our lineup.”
Kevin Kawaguchi and Doug Hanson were both 4-for-6 at the plate for the Bombers. Cory Warner was 3-for-5.
The Bombers outhit the Prowlers 19-16, but the team from Chase prevailed to end a long game and an agonizing wait for a championship.
“We just persevered,” Davidson said. “It was great.”