Farmers advance to MSBL semifinals after defeating Dodgers in one-game playoff


By: Lanny Stewart

The Neepawa Farmers are advancing to the semifinals in the Manitoba Senior Baseball League.

The Farmers scored twice in the top of the sixth inning to break a 4-4 tie en route to a 6-4 victory in Oak River against the Dodgers on Monday night.

“I just told them that our record isn’t a true indication of what our team is all about as far as I’m concerned.” said Farmers manager Mike Levandosky. “We lost some close games in late innings that we could’ve won. We could’ve easily had three or four more wins. I said let’s just treat this like a second chance and lets just play really relaxed baseball and have some fun with it."

Garett Rempel started the game on the mound for Neepawa and struggled, allowing four runs in an inning and a third before pitcher Josh Loewen took over and shut things down.

The veteran hurler scattered six hits over 7 1/3 innings, while striking out nine Dodgers batters.

“Josh was supposed to start the game, but Garett [Rempel] wound up starting and he’s a young guy and and he struggled off the start. We put in Josh and the old veteran pitched a heck of a game as far as I’m concerned,” said Levandosky.

The Farmers offence got a big boost from the bottom of the order as the seven-eight-nine hitters of Ian Kerkowich, Jason Vinnell and Kent Miller provided the club with five hits and four runs scored. Vinnell had a two-run home run in the contest as well. The Farmers offence pounded out 12 hits in total in the contest.

With the win, the Farmers will now set their sights on the Brandon Cloverleafs, the MSBL regular season pennant winners. The two teams lock horns in a best-of-five semifinal, beginning on Friday night in Brandon at Andrews Field.

“We’re going to need some breaks,” continued Levandosky. “They have a really good hitting club. You never know, they could hit the ball hard, but if they hit the ball hard at everybody on the field, we can get some outs and can surprise somebody.”

The Brandon Marlins will battle the Reston Rockets in the other semifinal series. That series gets underway on Wednesday in Brandon.