Thunderbirds strike pay dirt for first win of season

Hamilton turned two early double plays and Dan Jagdeo and Chris Piano hit homeruns as the Thunderbirds picked up their first win of the season, an 8-3 decision over the Burlington Twins.

The Thunderbirds opened the scoring in the top of the first inning of the Intercounty Baseball League contest at Nelson Park. Piano, who opened the game with a lead-off single, managed to score after Darrell Ducket hit a safety and stole followed by a Burlington error. Jagdeo hit a two-run homerun to give Hamilton a 3-0 lead after their first at-bats.

Burlington cut the lead to two runs in their half of the inning. Steve Coates and Matt Spillman each singled to start the inning with Coates later scoring from third base on Branson Joseph’s RBI double.

Hamilton was quick to respond. Mike Gottschalk reached base in the third inning with a one-out double and advanced to third when Duckett grounded out. Gottschalk scored on Jagdeo’s RBI single to give Hamilton a 4-1 lead. The Thunderbirds extended their lead in the top of the fourth off of Piano’s three-run homerun.

Burlington looked to get back into the game in the bottom of the eighth but they were only able to score one run on a Carlos Garcia bases loaded walk. Hamilton got that run back in the top of the ninth when Graeme Carey led off with a double and scored on Piano’s RBI single. Jeff Kosta would score in the bottom of the ninth for the Twins on Ian Choy’s two out single.

David Hucsko started for Hamilton, going three innings while allowing one run on three hits, walking one and striking out one. Ryan van Spronsen relieved Hucsko and went three innings, giving up one hit, three walks and striking out three for the win. Matt Betts, Justin Volpato, Chris Plummer, and Kurt Saunders combined for an inning and a third with Plummer allowing a run on one hit and one walk. Mike Fortuna closed out the game allowing one run on three hits and striking out four in an inning and two-thirds.

For the Twins, Kurtis Robinson started the game going four innings allowing seven earned runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out two in the loss. Kyle Bolton relieved Robinson allowing just two hits and striking out four over four innings of work. Benson Merritt pitched the ninth inning for Burlington, allowing one run on two hits and striking out one.

Offensively, Piano was three-for-five for the T-Birds. Carey was two-for-four, and Jagdeo was two-for-five.

Hamilton’s record is 1-7.

The Hamilton Thunderbirds next game is Sunday (May 29) when they will host the Barrie Baycats at Bernie Arbour Stadium. Game time is 2 p.m.