Seven is usually considered a lucky number. Not in this case, however. For the seventh straight game, the Hamilton Cardinals dropped a senior Intercounty Baseball League game, this time 7-2 to the visiting London Majors on Friday (June 22).
Not surprisingly, the loss left the Cards in last place in the nine-team league with a record of four wins and 15 losses and 11 1/2 games back of first place Brantford Red Sox, who are 15-3. London is second with an 11-6 record.
Interestingly, Hamilton was outhit by a slight 11-7 margin, however, one of those hits was Cleveland Brownlee’s three-run home run to centre field. Brownlee and Paul LaMantia each had two hits for the Majors.
Chike Springer led the Cardinals with two singles.
The Majors opened up a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a botched play. Joel Gattoni attempted to advance to third base on a wild pitch but Tyler Graham, who was already on third base, did not try to score. Hamilton got Gattoni into a run down and then turned their attention to Graham who broke for home. The throw to the plate was off and both runners scored on the error.
London added to its lead in the third when Graham hit a solo home run, which was the eventual game winning score. The Cardinals scored in their half of the third when Justin Malabanan, who walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch, came home on Zack Ranta’s RBI, two-out double.
Hamilton gave up four runs in the top of the fourth when London sent nine batters to the plate. Gattoni singled to open the inning and later scored on Byron Reichstein’s fielder’s choice. Brownlee cemented the Majors’ lead with his three-run shot to make it 7-1.
The Cardinals got a single run back in the bottom of the fourth as Springer singled and later scored when Nathan Smith reached base on an error to Graham who misplayed a routine grounder.
Benson Merritt, who signed with the Cardinals after being released by the Burlington Twins on June 18, took the loss in his first start with Hamilton. Merritt went three innings allowing three runs – only one was earned – on two hits, walked seven, and struck out four. Myles Swartz relieved Merritt to start the fourth and went two innings after allowing four earned runs on six hits and a walk. Nino Fasulo, Zach Pearson, and Neal Lambert
pitched the final four innings, combining for no runs, three hits, three walks and five strikeouts.
For London, Cory Hammond earned his second win of the season going five innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits, walking four and striking out three. Taylor Carr took to the mound in the sixth and seventh innings allowing two hits and striking out two. Jason Schneider finished the game for the Majors going two innings allowing one hit, a walk, hitting one batter and striking out three.
The Cardinals will host the Kitchener Panthers on Sunday (June 24) and look to end a league- worse seven-game losing streak. Game time is 2 p.m. at Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium.