Thunderbirds start fast, but fizzle to lose IBL game

The Hamilton Thunderbirds’ eight runs in the first three innings would prove insufficient as the Toronto Maple Leafs came from behind for a 9-8 senior Intercounty Baseball League game.

Hamilton got on the board in the top of the first inning. Chris Piano led off the game walking, stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by Toronto catcher Damon Topolie. Matt McGraw also walked to put runners on first and third. With two out, Darnell Duckett got on base on an error by second baseman Rob Gillis which brought in Piano and McGraw.

Toronto would take the lead in a bat around second inning. Danny Gibbons led off the inning with a single which was followed by a two-run homerun by Jordan Castaldo.

Hamilton Thunderbirds’ starting pitcher Mike Gottschalk, would then get into trouble walking Topolie and Kyle Morton on eight straight pitches. This led to Toronto’s second homerun of the inning, this time a three-run homerun by Gillis.

The Thunderbirds replied with six runs, sending 10 batters to the plate in the top of the third. McGraw would draw a one-out walk, followed by Dan Jagdeo’s single.

Duckett singled to bring in McGraw. Graeme Carey then grounded out to second base but scored Jagdeo. Matt Fortuna and Jordan Windisch each singled, with Windisch’s scoring Duckett. Chris Leenderste doubled to bring in Fortuna and Windisch. Leenderste scored as Piano got on base by error to give the Thunderbirds an 8-5 lead.

The Maple Leafs would add a run in their half of the third off of Topolie’s single to bring in Castaldo and another in the bottom of the fifth on Borjas’ bases-loaded sacrifice fly to centre field.

Toronto took the lead for good in the eighth inning when they scored two runs on singles from Kern Watts, Brian Ivan, Kyle DeGrace, and Castaldo.

Brian Corcoran got the win for Toronto, going five and a third innings in relief of Jake Gallo. Corcoran didn’t allow a run on five hits and struck out four. Gallo went two and two-thirds allowing eight runs, five of which were earned, on five hits while walking four and striking out five. Cody Powell closed the game for the Maple Leafs allowing two hits.

For Hamilton, Mike Fortuna took the loss allowing two earned runs, including the winner, on five hits over two innings of work. Gottschalk started the game allowing seven earned runs over four innings of work on six hits, five walks and two hit batters while striking out two. David Hucsko and Matt Martinow would pitch the fifth and sixth innings combining for three walks and two strike outs.

Hamilton’s next game will be tonight (Friday) against the Red Sox in Brantford starting at 8 p.m.

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