The Thunderbirds made their first-ever trip ever to Ottawa Stadium to face the Fat Cats and won both games of the senior Intercounty Baseball League doubleheader in extra innings.
Hamilton took the first game of Sunday’s (July 11) doubleheader, 3-2, and won the second one, 8-6.
In the opener, both teams were scoreless after seven innings. Hamilton would score all their runs in the eighth. Colin Zwiebel led off the extra inning with a single and stole second. Darnell Duckett reached base after being hit by a pitch. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and Matt McGraw singled to bring in Zwiebel.
Tim Hebner stepped to the plate next and hit a fielder’s choice to advance Duckett to third while McGraw was forced at second base. Hebner was replaced with pinch runner Mike Gottschalk who scored when Graeme Carey singled for Hamilton’s 3-0 lead.
Ottawa threatened in their half of the inning when Mark Charrette opened the inning getting on base by a fielding error by Thunderbirds’ first baseman Jordan Windisch. Charrette advanced to second when Jonathan Dale was hit by a pitch. Both runners scampered home on Joe Stones’ two out single. But Marshall MacDonald hit a fly ball to end the game.
Nino Fasulo earned the win in relief of starter Ryan Van Spronsen. Fasulo went one and two-thirds innings on the mound, allowing two unearned runs on one hit and striking out one. Van Spronsen went six and a third and did not allow a run on three hits while walking two and striking out six. Both Hamilton pitchers hit a batter and had a wild pitch.
Adam Cholewka had a 3-for-4 day at the plate for Hamilton while Matt McGraw was 2-for-4.
For Ottawa, Danny Desclouds was tagged with the loss, going seven and two-thirds innings, allowing three earned runs on eight hits, walking one and striking out six. David Barnes pitched the final third of the inning facing two batters and only allowing one hit.
In the second game, Ottawa struck first in the first. Dale walked to open the inning and advanced on Kyle Barclay’s fielder’s choice which saw Dale called safe when the umpire ruled Cholewka dropped the ball. Cody Mombuqette singled to plate Dale, giving the Fat Cats a 1-0 lead.
The Fat Cats doubled their lead in the second when Tony Farago scored on Dale’s RBI single. The hosts added another in the fifth off of MacDonald’s RBI single. In the bottom of the sixth Ottawa would add an additional three runs for a 6-0 lead.
But the visitors broke Tyler Durward’s shutout in the top of the seventh, sending 11 batters to the plate. After Hebner’s lead-off fly out, the T-Birds strung together five straight singles from Carey, Duckett, Chris Leenderste, Matt Fortuna, and Zwiebel, resulting in three runs. Saporsantos would then walk to load the bases setting up Jordan Windisch’s two-run single to cut the Ottawa lead to one.
Hamilton again would load the bases as McGraw was hit by the first pitch he saw. The Thunderbirds tied the game up as Hebner, in his second at-bat of the inning, hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Saporsantos.
Fasulo came in to pitch for Hamilton in the bottom of the seventh and promptly shut the door on Ottawa to send the game to extra innings.
Hamilton scored a pair of runs in the eighth that would stand for the win. Saporsantos singled to bring in Leenderste while Gottschalk would score as the throw to home plate sailed to the backstop.
Fasulo got Barclay to fly out to start the inning but after giving up a walk and a single, he was replacecd by Jordell Farquharson who got MacDonald and Dan Baribeau to fly out to end the game.
Fasulo earned the win going one and third innings, allowing no runs on one hit, walking one and striking out two.
Matt Martinow started for the Thunderbirds going four and a third innings allowing three runs, two were earned, on eight hits, walked three batters and struck out one. He was also charged with a wild pitch and a balk. Ryan Noack would pitch an inning of relief allowing three runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits. Mike Fortuna also saw action on the mound, pitching two-thirds of an inning, allowing two walks and a hit while striking out one.
Jordell Farquharson would get the save.
For Ottawa, Mike Lynch took the loss in one and two-thirds innings pitched. Lynch would allow two unearned runs on two hits and hit one batter. Tyler Durward started for the Fat Cats going six and third innings allowing five earned runs on six hits, hitting one batter, walking two and one wild pitch. Joel Richard faced two Thunderbirds batters allowing one earned run on one hit the other batter he faced.
Leenderste had a 2-for-3 plate performance for the T-Birds while Saporsantos went 2-for-4
Hamilton’s next game is on Tuesday (July 13) in Mississauga against the Twins, a make-up game from a May 8 rainout.