In losing their tenth consecutive Intercounty Baseball League game, the Hamilton Thunderbirds may have sampled what lies ahead.
Falling 11-1 to the Baycats on Thursday (July 21), Hamilton will play Barrie in the first round of the IBL playoffs. Barrie clinched first place with the victory, while Hamilton ends up in eighth spot by virtue of its loss and the Burlington Twins win over Brantford. The Twins finish in seventh place.
Hamilton got into a bit of trouble in the top of the second but managed to dodge that bullet. With two outs, Barrie would load the bases on singles from Jeff Cowan and Jordan Lundberg along with a walk to Argenis Paz. However, Brett Van Pelt would get the Thunderbirds out of it by getting Ryan Spataro to fly out to centre field.
But Frankie Hare would get the Baycats on the board first in the third with a first pitch solo homerun. Barrie would hit four homeruns, including Hare’s second, in the fourth. Barrie would send 11 batters to the plate and score six runs. Five of those runs would come from homeruns by Hare and Sean Reilly.
Hamilton would break the shutout in the fifth. Jonathan Solazzo singled to open the inning then Darnell Duckett and Graeme Carey would each single with one out to load the bases. Zach Elbirt then stepped to the plate and reached base on a fielder’s choice that scored Solazzo.
Barrie would cap off the game with three more runs in the eighth off Jeff Cowan’s three-run homerun.
Van Pelt started the game for the Thunderbirds, going three and two-thirds innings allowing seven runs on eight hits while walking four batters while striking out two. Mike Gottschalk relieved van Pelt and went two and a third innings allowing one run on two hits, a walk and striking out one batter. Mike Fortuna took to the mound in the seventh allowing a single hit while Matt Betts pitched the eighth inning allowing three runs on two hits, with a walk and one strikeout.
For Barrie, Adam Garner started and went six innings allowing one run on four hits, walking two while striking out two batters. Scott Price and Jake Hines would pitch the final three innings with Hines giving up two walks and striking out four.
The Thunderbirds will travel to London to take on the Majors Friday starting at 7:30 p.m.