Kitchener closes the curtain on Thunderbirds’ Intercounty season


Hamilton Thunderbirds gave every indication they were going to make a lot of noise on Wednesday night, but in the end were silenced by the Kitchener Panthers.

Despite scoring five runs in their first at-bat, and taking the lead again in the 10th and extra inning, the visiting Thunderbirds were beaten 9-8 by the Panthers, eliminating Hamilton from the senior Intercounty Baseball League’s post season activities. Kitchener takes the best-of-seven quarterfinal playoff affair 4-1.

Hamilton had control of the game, leading until the bottom of the eighth inning. The T-Birds, after scoring their opening-inning five runs added singles runs in the fourth and seventh innings while the Panthers scored once in the first, twice in the third, once in the sixth, twice in the seventh, and once in the eighth.

When neither team could plate a runner in the regulation nine innings, Hamilton’s Matt Calcagni hit his second home run of the game in the 10th inning to restore Hamilton’s lead. But it was not enough.

Kirt Zimniewicz’s run-batted-in single drove in Andy Pietraszko with the winning score for the Panthers, advancing them to the next round of playoffs,

Erik Perez started for Hamilton and went six and one-third innings. He allowed six runs (four earned) on seven hits and five walks. He did not strike out a batter. Robby Foscarin was charged with the loss, pitching the final one and one-third innings, giving two runs up three hits and several intentional walks.

For Kitchener, Brad Hay got the win in relief of starter Lee Witmer. Witmer lasted six innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) on nine hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. Hay went four innings and gave up one run on two hits, and had three strikeouts.

Calcagni led Hamilton with two home runs and four RBI. Adam Strongman added three hits.

For Kitchener, Jeff Pietraszko had three hits (two doubles and a home run) and two RBI. Mike Andrulis also had three hits with Mike Roeder adding a home run.

In other IBL playoffs on Wednesday night, Toronto eliminated the Oshawa Dodgers, 4-1.

Brantford earlier ousted the London Majors and the Guelph Royals lead the Barrie Baycats, 3-2.