Hamilton and Burlington split an Intercounty Baseball League double header with the Cardinals losing the opener, 6-5, but regrouping for a 10-1 decision in the finale on Sunday (July 14). Hamilton (12-18) sits in sixth place, a half game behind the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In game one at Bernie Arbour Stadium, the Bandits came from behind to grab the win.
The Cardinals jumped to an early lead in the bottom of the first. Dre Celestijn singled with one out and then advanced to third on Dan Jagdeo’s ground rule double. Zack Ranta stepped to the plate and hit a sacrifice fly to centre field to score Celestijn. Jagdeo scored on a single by Kyle Gappa, who reached home when Jon Saporsantos hit an RBI double for a 3-0 lead.
Burlington got on the board in the fourth when Peter Bako singled and scored on Darryl Pui’s two-out double. In the top of the sixth the Bandits took the lead as Jeff Kosta singled and moved to second on Bako’s walk. After Pui drew a walk to load the bases, Jeff MacLeod stroked a bases clearing double to give Burlington a 4-3 lead on the Cardinals.
Burlington added two more runs in the top of the seventh as Phil Steer, who opened the inning with a single, came home on Bako’s sacrifice fly. Ryan Clarke also scored in the inning on Kyle Morton’s single.
However, the Cardinals looked to make it interesting in the bottom of the seventh. Mike Gottschalk got on base with a single and move to second when Andris Rizquez walked. Celestijn singled to bring in Gottschalk and Jagdeo followed that up with an RBI single of his own. But that was as close as they could get.
For Hamilton, Ryan Van Spronsen started the game and went five and two-thirds innings allowing three runs on five hits while giving up a walk and striking out four. Nino Fasulo took the loss in relief of Van Spronsen giving up one run on one hit and walking two of the three batters he faced. Tomas Rincon pitched the final inning and a third giving up two runs on two hits and walking one batter.
For the Bandits, Jack Dennis got the win going six innings and allowing five runs on six hits while walking four and striking out three. Jeff MacLeod, who started the game as the designated hitter, came in and earned the save going one inning and allowing two hits.
In game two, the Cardinals again took an early lead but this time they held it. Celestijn doubled in the bottom of the first before Ranta singled him in for a 1-0 lead.
Brett van Pelt, Hamilton’s starting pitcher, would get himself into a bit of trouble in the top of the second as he walked Morton to lead off the inning and then saw Pui single before striking out MacLeod and getting Nick Struder to fly out. Connor Panas singled to load the bases but van Pelt was able to get Steer to strikeout to end the inning.
The Cardinals sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five times in their half of the inning. Zack Sardellitti, Anthony Rizquez and Mike Gottschalk all reached base with one out singles but Andris Rizquez’s grand slam emptied the bases.
Hamilton kept it going as Celestijn was hit by a pitch and moved up a base on Jagdeo’s single. Ranta doubled to cash in Celestijn and increase the Cards’ lead to 6-0 after two innings.
Burlington’s lone run came in the fourth with MacLeod doubling and advancing on Panas’ single. Van Pelt was robbed of the shutout when Clarke singled with two outs to bring home MacLeod.
The Cardinals got that run back in the fifth when Jon Saporsantos, who had doubled, came across the plate on Sardellitti’s RBI single. Hamilton added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth.
For Hamilton, van Pelt went six innings and allowed just one run on seven hits, giving up two walks, hitting one batter and striking out eight. Benson Merritt finished off the game for the Cardinals going an inning, giving up a walk over the four batters he faced.
For the Bandits, Jason Rubenstein went three innings and took the loss as he gave up six runs on eight hits, walking on batter, hitting another and striking out two. Evan DiMichele would relieve Rubenstein to start the fourth and went two innings on the mound. DiMichele gave up one run on three hits and striking out three. CJ Machete pitched the seventh inning for Burlington and gave up three runs, two of which were earned, on one hit and walking two batters.
The Cardinals will hit the road for two games this week. Wednesday (July 17) finds them in Toronto to face the Maple Leafs in the battle for fifth place starting at 7:30 p.m. The next night, the Cards will travel to Kitchener to play the Panthers.
Hamilton’s next home game is Friday at 7:30 p.m. when they host the Brantford Red Sox at Bernie Arbour Stadium.
The Bandits will visit Guelph on Tuesday with the Royals returning the favour on Thursday for a 7.30 p.m. game at Nelson Stadium.