Showdown on Monday for Thunderbirds and Twins in IBL

thunderbirdsThe Hamilton Thunderbirds have a crucial game on Monday against the Mississauga Twins in senior Intercounty Baseball League play.

Hamilton, after losing 12-6 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday at Bernie Arbour Stadium, trails the Twins by a half game for the final playoff spot. The Twins lost a doubleheader to the London Majors on Friday, briefly pulling the T-Birds into a tie with Mississauga. Monday’s game, a makeup contest, will be played in Mississauga.

Sunday, the Maple Leafs exploded for six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning – with five of them coming on three consecutive home runs – to rally past Hamilton. Jeremy Walker hit a three-run homer followed by solo shots from Rob Gillis and Damon Topolie to key the explosion that stopped the Leafs two-game slide.

Hamilton (7-25) took an early 5-1 lead before the Leafs finally got untracked. Kern Watts had four hits and scored three runs as the Leafs held on to fourth place in the IBL with four games left to play in the regular season.

Kyle Degrace also homered and drove in three runs with three hits, while Raul Borjas added two hits and two RBI. Every Toronto batter had at least one hit, with Dan Gibbons, Gamin Teague and Walker also ending up with two hits each.

They needed most of them, as Leaf starter Drew Taylor struggled through four innings, allowing five runs – four earned – on seven hits, including three home runs. But Toronto’s bullpen picked him up nicely, with Lee Witmer allowing one run in two innings and Mark Sikorski pitching three shutout innings for the win, allowing just two hits.

Hamilton reliever Jordell Farquharson was the victim of the eighth inning uprising, and allowed eight runs on eight hits in three innings to take the loss. Darnell Duckett hit a pair of homers and had three hits and three RBI, while Ryan Sharpe also homered and had three hits. Brad Hucsko also homered for the T-Birds.