Rocky start for Thunderbirds in Intercounty playoff opener

Baseball’s Hamilton Thunderbirds almost borrowed a page from their football cousins, the Tiger-Cats on Sunday. In the first game of their best-of-seven opening round playoff series with Toronto Maple Leafs, the Thunderbirds were grounded 14-1 in the Senior Intercounty Baseball League.

The Canadian Football League Tiger-Cats were blanked 29-0 about 40 hours earlier.

Hamilton starter Kevin Whyte was stung for eight runs from the four hits he gave up in the brief two-inning outing at Toronto’s Christie Pits.

One of those hits was Matt Logan’s three-run homer in the second inning that pointed the Maple Leafs towards victory. The Maple Leafs had a total of 14 hits, including a Nildo Puertas solo homerun and Damon Topolie’s three hits. Topolie also scored three times.

Toronto starter Dave Steffler allowed one run and six hits in six innings for the win. Darryl Craig and Lenny Sergnese combined for three scoreless innings to finish the game.

Hamilton’s lone tally came in the fifth inning from Tony Daubert’s run scoring single.

Both teams played errorless ball.

The second game is scheduled for Monday (July 31) at 7:30 p.m. at Hamilton’s Bernie Arbour Stadium.

In other playoffs games, pennant winning Barrie Baycats beat Oshawa Dodgers, 5-3, in their series opener; London Majors took a 2-0 series lead with a 12-4 win over the Kitchener Panthers; and Guelph Royals downed Brantford Red Sox 10-6 to grab a 2-1 series lead.

In Oshawa, Jared McCord had three hits and drove in three runs for the Barrie Baycats, the defending league champions. Dave Latour and Cory Turchan each chipped in with two hits and Glenn Jackson stole a base and scored two runs for Barrie.

Jordan Neufeld allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings for the win and Cam Newitt pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the save.

Oshawa starter Matt Tosoni allowed five runs and seven hits while Neil McBride had three hits and Brett Prosper had two.

In Kitchener, Brad McElroy homered and drove in four runs for Majors. Pete Babcock and Ryan Gauthier also homered for the Majors. Hiarali Garcia allowed four runs and six hits while striking out eight batters and walking one in a complete-game effort.

Mickey Campaneau took the loss after giving up three runs without retiring a batter. Starter Adam Hummel allowed three runs – none earned – and four hits in six innings.

Jeff Pietraszko, Luke Baker and Kirt Zimniewicz all homered for Kitchener.

In Brantford, Mike Alati had three hits including a home run and drove in three runs to help the Guelph Royals.

Kyle Leon homered and scored two runs and Kevin Hinton homered and drove in three runs for Guelph. Sean Reilly doubled and scored the winning run in the sixth inning. Paul Bruder allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings for the win before Aaron Little gave up two runs and three hits in two innings of relief.

Stefan Strecker gave up seven runs and nine hits in a six-inning start for Brantford. Aaron Brickman allowed four runs in one inning of relief and Aaron Bogue gave up one hit in two innings of relief.

Wayne Foreman homered and drove in two runs and Dave Parsons added two hits, including a double, and drove in a run.

Playoff schedule
Barrie/Oshawa – Game 2, Tuesday Aug. 1, Barrie, 7:30 p.m.
Brantford/ Guelph – Game 4, Tuesday Aug. 1, Guelph, 7:45 p.m.
Kitchener /London: Game 3, Tuesday, Aug. 1, London, 7:30 p.m.