Hamilton was driving towards a shutout victory… and then the wheels came off. By the time the Cardinals could right the wagon, the Kitchener Panthers drove away from Bernie Arbour Stadium with a come-from-behind 7-6, extra inning Intercounty Baseball League win. The Panthers scored all their runs in the final two innings.
Despite the loss on Sunday (July 21), Hamilton holds a 2 1/2 games lead on Guelph and Burlington for sixth place.
The Cardinals opened the scoring in the third. Anthony Rizquez led off by being hit by a pitch. Zack Sardellitti, Mike Gottschalk and Andris Rizquez hit back-to-back-to-back singles to score two runs. Dre Celestijn then hit into a double play for the first two outs of the inning but it was enough to plate Gottschalk for the third run of the inning.
Hamilton held the lead until the ninth. Mat Taube walked and advanced to second when Brian Burton grounded out. Kaiden Bowers walked to put two runners on base. Reliever Tim Krawczyk got Kevin Nickel to swing away for the second out of the inning before Mike Andrulis reached base on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Mike Glinka then drew a walk to get the Panthers on the board. Nino Fasulo took over on the mound for the Cardinals and walked Jeff Pietraszko to make it a one run game. Mitch Delaney then doubled and scored two runs to give the Panthers a 4-3 lead.
The Cardinals didn’t give up though. John Solazzo walked and then moved to third when Anthony Rizquez reached base on an error charged to the catcher. Kitchener got two fly outs before Andris Rizquez walked to load the bases. Dre Celestijn then hit a hot shot to third base to score the tying run and sending the game to extra innings.
Taube led off the tenth with a double and was joined by Brian Burton, who was hit by a pitch, and Rick Murray, who singled to load the bases. Darnell Duckett, who came in as a pinch runner for Taube, scored on Andrulis’ sacrifice fly to centre field. Glinka was walked to load the bases again and Pietraszko singled to score two runs to take a 7-4 lead.
Kyle Gappa looked to lead the Cardinals in the bottom half of the tenth with a one out single and then scored on Solazzo’s double to centre field. Anthony Rizquez reached base on an error and Zack Sardellitti walked to load the bases. Solazzo crossed the plate as Gottschalk hit a sacrifice fly to left field. Andris Rizquez loaded the bases once again by drawing a walk, however, Kitchener was able to get Celestijn to ground out to shortstop to end the game.
For the Cardinals, Brett van Pelt went six innings without allowing a run on three hits, walking one batter and striking out two. Krawczyk would relieve van Pelt to start the seventh and went two and two-thirds allowing four runs on one hit, four walks and striking out one. Nino Fasulo came in with two outs in the ninth and went an inning, giving up three runs on three hits while walking two and striking out two for the loss. Tomas Rincon finished off the game going a third of an inning to face two batters, allowing one hit.
For Kitchener, Mike McGillivray started the game and went six innings, allowing three runs on four hits, walking two batters, hitting two others and striking out four. Mitch Clarke came in to relieve McGillivray, giving up two hits, a walk and striking out two. Shawn Slemko pitched the ninth inning giving up an unearned run on one hit and two walks for the win. Matt Robertson finished off the game going one inning giving up two runs – only one was earned – on two hits and two walks for the save.
Hamilton will look to end a three-game losing streak when they again face the Kitchener Panthers Monday (July 22) at Bernie Arbour Stadium starting at 7:30 p.m.