Grand slam silences Thunderbirds in Intercounty hit-fest

Hamilton Thunderbirds and Kitchener Panthers put on a hit parade that ended in grand fashion. Unfortunately for Hamilton, it was Kitchener that celebrated.

The Panthers’ Luke Baker hit a grand slam homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Kitchener a 16-14 come-from-behind win over the Thunderbirds in a senior Intercounty Baseball League game Tuesday night. The two teams combined for a total of 30 hits, 17 from the Panthers’ bats. Hamilton led 9-5 after three innings and 13-7 after six innings.

In addition to his key round tripper, Baker scored three times while Mike Roeder had three hits, including a home run, and scored four runs. Kirt Zimniewicz added another three hits and Bryon Bell homered and drove in four runs.

Chris Dickie (1-1) picked up the win with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. Starter Joel Scott gave up nine runs – six earned – and eight hits in five innings.

The Thunderbirds offence came from Henry Duke, who had three hits, while Jeff McGinn and Tom Robertson each had three RBI.

Absorbing the loss was Andrew Schwalm (1-3). He allowed five runs in 1/3 of an inning of work. Justin Bartkiewicz gave up seven runs – five earned – in 3 1/3 innings.

With league playoffs set to begin on Friday (July 28), the Barrie Baycats have locked up their first IBL pennant. The London Majors finished fourth and will face the fifth place Kitchener Panthers in the first round of the playoffs. The other five playoff positions are still to be determined. Playoff schedules will be announced as they become available.

The first round of playoffs will run from July 28 to August 6 with semi-finals scheduled for August 7-17. The championship series will go August 18-28.