Jared Sucro, one of three local players on the Kamloops NorthPaws, played the hero during the West Coast League expansion squad’s first-ever game.
Sucro — a utility player for the baseball team who attends Cairn University in Pennsylvania — hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning at Norbrock Stadium on Wednesday night (June 1), driving in teammate Mike Fitzsimmons for the winning run in the NorthPaws’ come-from-behind 8-7 win over the Riverhawks, their expansion cousins from Edmonton.
The Riverhawks had built a 6-3 lead at the end of the fourth inning before the NorthPaws’ began their methodical comeback.
Kamloopsian Tyrelle Chadwick — who attends Illinois State University — started the game on the mound for the NorthPaws, striking out three while yielding one hit and four runs through two innings.
He was succeeded by Sean Heppner (two innings, striking out one and giving up three hits and two runs) and Carter Harbut (two innings, yielding one hit and one run).
That set the stage for Kamloops product Nolan Austin — a student at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M — to showcase his skills. Already proficient at the plate (going three-for-four and scoring a run), Austin took to the mound in the eighth and ninth innings, recording the win and not allowing any Riverhawk runs.
The NorthPaws’ inaugural home game was years in the making, with the 2020 and 2021 seasons wiped out by the pandemic and Tuesday’s (May 31) scheduled home owner washed away by rain.
But it was another form of precipitation — showers of the water bottle kind — that washed over Sucro as his teammates stormed the field in celebration after he knocked in the winning run.
EXTRA INNINGS — The entertaining game lasted three hours and 35 minutes and was played before a crowd estimated at about 900 … Along with being the first starter in team history, Chadwick also recorded the first hit in club history, a double. Chadwick was two-for-three at the plate, with two RBI, as he dressed as pitcher and designated hitter … Due to Tuesday’s rainout, Kamloops and Edmonton will conclude the three-game series with a doubleheader on Thursday at Norbrock Stadium. Games (both of which will be seven-inning affairs) will start at 4:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Tickets are available at the stadium on McArthur Island and online at northpawsbaseball.ca.