Royals win pitching duel, 2-1, to beat T-Birds

The Guelph Royals squeezed past the Hamilton Thunderbirds 2-1, in a classic display by both pitching staffs to combine for 17 strikeouts in the senior Intercounty Baseball League game.

After going four scoreless innings on Saturday in Guelph, the Royals struck first in the bottom of the fifth inning when Chris Stewart singled to plate Brian Brown, who had led off with a triple. Guelph doubled its lead in the inning on the strength of Sean Reilly’s two-out single that brought in Chris Stewart.

Hamilton responded in the top of the sixth inning with a single run. Graeme Carey led off the inning with a double and was brought in by Matt Fortuna’s single. From that point on the pitching staffs of both teams shut down the offense.

On the mound, Meleti Melehes earned the win going five consecutive innings before allowing a run in the sixth. Melehes allowed five hits, walked one and struck out nine Thunderbirds batters. Chris Romano came into the game in the eighth inning to shut the door on Hamilton. Romano went two innings, striking out one batter.

Matt Martinow was tagged with the loss after seven innings of work, allowing two runs on six hits while walking four Royals batters and striking out seven. Reliever Mike Fortuna did not surrender a hit in his one inning of work.

Leading hitter for Hamilton was Chris Leenderste who had two singles in four at-bats.

Hamilton is scheduled to play the Mississauga Twins at 2 p.m. today (Sunday) at Bernie Arbour Stadium.