T-Birds take rain-shortened Intercounty game

For once the rain was on Hamilton’s side.

The senior Intercounty Baseball League Thunderbirds have had games cancelled this season because of rain. But on Saturday at their home Bernie Arbour Stadium, a rain-shortened game gave the T-Birds their third win of the season, 7-5 over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The game was called after seven innings.

The Thunderbirds came out of the gates a little shaky committing two errors in the top of the first inning. Kyle DeGrace got on base on a fielding error by Colin Zwiebel and advanced to second base on Gamin Teague’s single. DeGrace scored on a throwing error by Thunderbirds’ catcher Adam Durfee who tried to nab Teague stealing second base. Teague was later singled in by Dan Gibbons to take a 2-0 after half an inning.

Hamilton cut the Toronto lead in half in the bottom of the first inning after Chris Piano led off with a single and stole second base then advanced to third when Toronto’s catcher Damon Topolie’s throw to second base went into centre field. Piano would score on Graeme Carey’s RBI single.

The Maple Leafs would get their two-run lead back in the top of the third when Jordan Castaldo scored on Raul Borjas’ sacrifice fly to right field after Costaldo singled to open then inning and advanced on DeGrace’s single.

In the bottom of the third, Hamilton sent 10 batters to the plate. Tyler Windisch led off with a single and advanced to third on Piano’s second single of the game. Darnell Duckett sent a shot to shortstop DeGrace who tried to get Piano who barely got past the tag to advance to third while Tyler Windisch scored. While the focus was on Piano, Duckett moved to second. Piano scored on Matt McGraw’s ground out to DeGrace. Carey, Zwiebel and Adam Cholewka would then each have RBI singles while Jordan Windisch doubled in a run. Hamilton capped off the inning with a sixth run coming in off Durfee’s ground out to DeGrace for a 7-3 lead.

Toronto added a run in the fourth on a solo homerun by Brian Ivan and another in the fifth.

At the conclusion of the seventh inning the teams were pulled from the field for a 10 minute rain delay. After one batter in the top of the eighth inning the skies opened up again for a 71 minute delay before the umpires declared the field unplayable to end the game.

For Hamilton, Piano would end the day with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate and two stolen bases. Carey also had a 3-for-4 outing.

David Hucsko earned the win going four innings of work before leaving the game after being hit by a line drive to his left leg. Hucsko allowed four runs, two of which were earned, on four hits while striking out one batter. Justin Volpato came in to for the next three innings for Hamilton, allowing one earned run on three hits and striking out one and walking two batters. Maple Leafs’ starter Lee Witmer took the loss going two and a third innings, allowing six earned runs, on eight hits while striking out two batters. Ryan Mashinter pitched the final four and two-thirds of the game only allowing three hits, a walk and striking out five Thunderbird batters.

The Hamilton Thunderbirds will finish the weekend at home against the Guelph Royals this (Sunday) afternoon with a 2 p.m. first pitch.