Panthers put scare into T-Birds with late charge

Talk about breathing a collective sigh of relief.

Hamilton Thunderbirds appeared to be in the driver’s seat heading into the top of the ninth inning of their game against the visiting Kitchener Panthers on Friday (July 18) Enjoying a 12-3 lead, the T-Birds were three outs away from their 10th senior Intercounty Baseball League win of the season.

Kitchener, however, had other ideas and scored seven runs, coming up short, 12-10, to allow the Thunderbirds to move within one game of the seventh place Panthers.

The Thunderbirds had flexed their own batting muscles in the seventh inning when they sent seven runs across home plate, giving them an 11-3 margin.

Winning pitcher Coogie Freedman (1-1) went seven innings, giving up only five hits, three earned runs and no walks while registering seven strikeouts. Scott Wells and Mike Bonnano pitched in relief with Bonnano allowing the seven runs, all earned, in the ninth on three hits and four walks.

Billy Lawrence had three hits and a run-batted-in for Hamilton while Wells had two hits and an RBI. Richard Rausch scored two runs, including a solo home run.

Kitchener starter and loser Lee Witmer (2-6) lasted six innings, giving up seven earned runs on four hits, two hit batters and one strikeout.

Mike Andrulis had three hits and three RBI’s for Kitchener with Jeff Pietraszko adding a solo home run in the third to give Kitchener a short-lived 3-2 lead.

The result for Hamilton was in marked contrast to their outing two nights earlier when they were in Oshawa. The Dodgers pounded out 18 hits off two Hamilton pitchers to trounce Hamilton 15-2.

Tyler Johnstone and Ryan Fleming each added three hits and two RBI”s while Sean Cunningham had three hits including two doubles.

Richard Rausch led Hamilton with two hits including a two run single in the fourth inning. Wells also added two hits.

Winning pitcher Cam Gray (7-0) went seven innings, giving up only four hits, two runs and two walks while registering five strikeouts. Aaron Gordon finished up, allowing only two hits with two strikeouts.

Steve Wickens led the Dodgers with three hits and four RBI”s while Steve Lewis added two hits, scored three runs including a sixth inning two-run, inside the park home run.

Losing pitcher Anthony Carlo (0-3) went 4 1/3 innings, giving up nine runs, five earned, on nine hits and four walks. Doug Chrysler finished up giving up six runs, all earned, on nine hits and two strikeouts.