Despite a superb pitching effort from Nibaldo Acosta and a bottom of the ninth, three-run rally on Sunday (July 29), Hamilton Thunderbirds find themselves on the verge of elimination from the senior Intercounty Baseball League playoffs.
Kitchener’s 6-5 win at Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium coupled with a 5-1 decision on Saturday leaves the Dodgers with a 3-1 edge in the best-of-seven quarter final.
The fifth game is scheduled for Wednesday night in Kitchener.
Acosta recorded 12 strikeouts through eight innings for the Thunderbirds but his performance was matched by his counterpart, Joel Scott. Acosta was tagged for five hits and four runs (only two were earned) while Scott held the Thunderbirds to four hits. He struck out six, walked three and surrendered four runs (only one was earned) until he left the game in the ninth inning. From the third inning he didn’t allow a hit.
Brad Hay finished the game for the Dodgers. Derek Gordon worked the final inning in relief for Hamilton, allowing a run.
At the plate for Kitchener, Byron Bell continued to use a heavy bat as he connected for a double and this second Bernie Arbour home run of the series. Kirt Zimniewicz added two singles.
Marcel Champagnie led Hamilton with two singles and one RBI. Matt Calcagni and Jon McGinn each had a double for the T-Birds.
On Saturday in Kitchener, the Panthers used the long ball to defeat the Thunderbirds.
Zimniewicz led the way for the Panthers with two hits including a solo home run. Bell had a two-run home run in the third inning with Andy Pietraszko and Ben Kangas also adding solo home runs to round out the Kitchener scoring.
Winning pitcher was Jake Hines who went eight innings, allowing one run off six hits and three walks. He struck out six. John Stewart pitched the ninth, giving up one walk.
For Hamilton, starter Mark Tourangeau went two innings giving up three hits and allowing two runs, both home runs, and one walk with two strikeouts. Reliever Chris Hayes finished the game, going six innings and allowing three runs on three hits including two home runs. He struck out four.
Neither team committed an error.
In other IBL playoff action, the Brantford Red Sox eliminated the London Majors in four straight games, clinching their series with a 6-5 win in 15 innings on Sunday. The Toronto Maple Leafs lead the Oshawa Dodgers 2-1 and Guelph Royals and Barrie Baycats are tied 2-2.