On the day of May 27th, the sun shined bright. The day again just felt like baseball– and there was no rumour of rain the previous night or holiday weekend that could possibly derail the summertime specialty of baseball today.
Speaking of summertime, a touch summertime blues could be rationalized to start the seasons for both of the teams playing today. Both teams are winless at 0-2. The Guelph Royals– are literally royal blue as well as suffering from early summertime blues– strode into Brantford to face the Red Sox at Arnold Anderson Stadium.
Euclides Leyer took the mound to start for the Sox and let me tell you, he’s a fireballer. “He throws 95 (miles per hour).” said official Pointstreak scorekeeper Chad Pomerleau. “And he can hit 97.”
Leyer was looking to bounce back from a performance in the home opener that he forfeited the loss in, as he and his catcher could not get on the same page. But they were hoping to show that two weeks later they have ironed out the creases.
Today seemed to be the game of broken bats. Due to the heat on the pitches, there were five dead sticks induced through five innings.
In the third, Leyer dealt his way out of trouble again, leaving the bases loaded.
However, in the fourth, Brantford returned the favour to Guelph by stranding the bases full.
Offence was sparse in this contest. Through six innings, we still had no score! Leyer avoided some situations with baserunners, but managed to emerge unscathed. The LOB (left on base) total was daunting for both teams, but especially for the Royals.
Leyer showed composure as he battled through baserunners to throw five innings strong yielding zero runs (86 pitches). To do so in his final inning, he managed so in part due to a great play by Brantford’s Wilson Soriano on shortstop as he charged a ball lobbed in no man’s land behind the mound. After stabbing the ball, he parlayed it by zipping the throw to first to oust the runner.
Back to Leyer though. If anyone thought the fastball whiz should make amends for his last outing at home which he took the loss, this outing surely did just that. Leyer gave up just three hits and no runs.
We had no score till the seventh when the team from Guelph and their fans celebrated a balk (from relief pitcher Matt Betts) like it was 1999. But that runner did eventually came across to score on a sacrifice fly for the first run of the game.
How would Brantford respond?
Designated hitter Blake Kauer stepped up to the dish in the seventh and as they needed, he sent the drive of the game over the leftfielder’s head. As everyone wondered if it had enough juice to make it over the fence to tie the game it bounced off the wall.
Unfortunately, Kauer made a choice to try and sneak home on a groundball to the infield and was gunned out at the plate by the shortstop.
Despite almost yielding the game-tying homerun, Guelph trotted out pitcher Yunior Yambatis again for the eighth inning. This seemed like a curious decision. Although Yambatis had a shutout going, he had thrown more than a hundred pitches, including ten hits.
Finally, in the eighth, Brantford got to Guelph’s Yambatis. Terrell Alliman got aboard and queue the rally! Ricky Murray splashed a single and so did Nic Burdett, whose hit scored Alliman on the tying run.
Guelph finally took out their pitcher. He was doing well but pitchers do expire and this was the case. If people wondered if the reason they left him in so long was because Guelph had no bullpen, that was answered as the reliever came in and shut the rally down, stranding the go-ahead runners on base.
Mass confusion then entered Arnold Anderson Stadium as Guelph got two runners on and Brantford elected to intentionally walk the batter inducing a force play at any base. In Major League Baseball, the defending catcher gets the sign from their manager and the catcher motions toward first base and the runner takes the base. The Intercounty Baseball League doesn’t follow this premise.
Brantford got what they wanted– a groundball. Marco Bandiera, the Brantford second baseman, quickly threw to the shortstop at second to get a double play, the Royals runner slid in and dislodged the ball. The MLB has new rules against this too but IBL must not be there yet either.
The runner was ruled safe with no penalty for contact on the fielder. Nor was it ruled that it was on the transition from glove to throwing hand when was the ball lost, therefore preserving the out at second. On the potential double-play, no one was called out and the go-ahead run scored. The run was the all-important item though. A sense of chaos encompassed the stadium as everyone in the park knew something wrong had occurred.
Brantford manager Wayne Foreman rushed the field immediately to dispute the call(s) on the play and he had a valid point. However, solutions would be complicated if any changes were to be made. A transfer rule and runner interference were likely what Foreman desired, as that would call the runner at second out and could get them out of the inning.
However, that is a tall ask for umpires to do. For that to occur, the umpires would have to huddle up and decide if the Sox would have been able to turn the double-play. Or, the easier decision would be to adhere to the call on the field,
The umpires did not agree though with Foreman’s assertion– and he was likely steaming with too much anger from the mis-call to bait the umpires into stopping the game for a moment so they could huddle up to discuss– so the umpires didn’t change the call at all. Explicits were being fired by all parties involved and Guelph was still barking about Brantford pitchers balking while Foreman was making his displeasure known.
Instead of having a huddle and discussion about the play, the umpires instead made the easy call and sent Foreman off early for his efforts.
After this, Brantford succumbed to the call and went quietly in the ninth, losing 3-2.
Ricky Murray had four hits and scored a run in the loss. And Leyer’s remarkable outing was all for not as Brantford fails to make a mark in the win column, now stuck at 0-3.
Photos of today’s game by Crystal Young can be found here.
On Thursday, Brantford faces another winless team, Burlington, on the road. Today’s battle of winless teams went to the road squad, Guelph. Perhaps on Thursday, the visiting team gets the win again… and Brantford can get a win on the board. Brantford has just three games played, but Burlington has dropped six straight.
The question for next game will be: Do things happen in threes or will it be lucky seven?
Next Sunday, Brantford hosts Barrie at Arnold Anderson Stadium at 2PM.
All images here Image courtesy of Crystal Young Photography