Thunderbirds grab final IBL playoff spot

The Hamilton Thunderbirds are playoff bound with a little help from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

On Sunday (July 18), the T-Birds split their senior Intercounty Baseball League double header with the Brantford Red Sox, taking the opener 52 but losing the second game 7-2. That left Hamilton with a 12-23 record.

But with the Maple Leafs beating first-year entry the Ottawa Fat Cats, Hamilton takes the final playoff berth. Hamilton plays in Guelph on Monday night for the final game of the regular schedule.

Sunday at Bernie Arbour Stadium in game one, the Thunderbirds would open the scoring in the bottom of the second inning. Adam Durfee led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on Chris Leenderste’s single. Both runners would move up 90 feet on designated hitter Tim Hebner’s sacrifice bunt. Graeme Carey would then single to bring in Durfee.

Brantford would take the lead in the top of the fourth when it looked like Joe Colameco hit a three-run homerun to left centre field. However, Hyung Cho passed the lead runner and was called, giving the Red Sox two runs.

Hamilton answered back as Matt McGraw and Durfee would each reach base by way of errors. Hebner would then single in McGraw while Durfee and Hebner would score on an errant throw by the catcher that went deep into right field. The Thunderbirds would add one more run in the bottom of the fifth when Chris Piano scored on Darnell Duckett’s RBI single.

Mike Gottschalk got the win for Hamilton going six and a third innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits, walking three, hit one batter and struck out one. Ryan Van Spronsen got the save going two-thirds of an inning allowing one hit and getting the final two outs by way of a double play.

For Brantford, Steve Murray took the loss going six innings allowing five runs, two earned runs, on seven hits, while walking two batters and striking out two.

In game two, which saw Brantford as the home team, Hamilton would once again get on the board first in the top of the second as Duckett singled in Durfee, who hit a one out double. The Thunderbirds would then double their lead in the top of the third when Adam Cholewka scored on Dan Jagdeo’s double.

The Red Sox would get the run back in the bottom half of the inning on Tyler Patzelak’s RBI single.

In the fourth, Cho led off the Red Sox half of the inning with a single and was followed by a Colameco walk. Cho would score on Jason Gotwalt’s RBI single while Colameco would come in when the throw from the outfield got by all the Thunderbird infielders. Bryon Bell would then stroke a double up the middle to bring in Gotwalt. Bell would then score on Mike Bonnano’s double to the wall.

Brantford would go on to add single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to cement the 7-2 victory.

Red Sox starter John Ogiltree got the win going six and two-thirds, allowing two earned runs on five hits, while walking three and hitting three batters. Ogiltree would go on to strike out two Thunderbird batters. Mark James got the final out of the game to earn the save by striking out the only batter he faced.

For Hamilton, Dough Chrysler went the distance on the mound allowing seven earned rounds on 11 hits, while walking one and striking out three.

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