By Jesse Ferguson, 4BRANT
Okay so it may not have been that major, but work with me on a little word play. In the Intercounty Baseball League, it was the 8-4 London Majors visiting the 1-6 Brantford Red Sox on Sunday, June 12th. Brantford hosted London trying to post their first home win of the 2018 campaign. It was a nice but blustery day at Arnold Anderson Stadium on Brantford Jr. Red Sox day, which happened to be the last Sunday home-game for the Sox of the season.
Brantford was throwing Stefan Strecker at London, while the Majors were countering with an ace, whose statline boasts a very impressive WHIP and ERA, according to voice of the London Majors, John P. Palmer.
Typically Strecker is Brantford closer but he’s making first start since 2006, as reported by Brantford Red Sox owner Rick Pomerleau. Strecker employs a three-quarter sidearm throw on his pitches (pictured below; photo from Crystal Young), a change from the norm… and perhaps a change Brantford is looking for.
After some difficulty with the sprinkler system, the anthem was sang, beautifully (below, photo also by Crystal Young), then Brantford took the field.
First batter of the game was a great success for Strecker– three pitches, three strikes and the batter was out. Byron Reichstein of London is coming off a game with two homeruns against Toronto as reported by Palmer. And Reichstein prevented Strecker from a perfect three-up, three-down first. But only with a single… no damage done whatsoever as he was stranded.
In the Brantford half of the first, Sox second-baseman Wilson Soriano smashed a pitch to deep right-centerfield splitting the fielders into the gap. This scored lead-off hitter, Ricky Murray, all the way from first! Brantford led 1-0.
Nic Burdett put the next ball in play and scored Soriano from third for the run batted in. Brantford, 2, London, 0.
Soriano was also making a splash in the field, looking like Yankees’ shortstop Didi Gregorious diving and making the throws to first base in time for the out on multiple occasions (Soriano pictured below, photo courtesy of Crystal Young).
Later on, Brantford’s David Mendham, the other part of the left infield, made a dazzling diving stab at third. Then he cut across Soriano to quickly throw to first to narrowly nail the runner (all that being said, second baseman Anthony Risquez must’ve felt left out of the infield action and he turned into a vacuum at second base later on in the contest).
As you may expect, a closer would have less stamina as a starting pitcher, so Strecker didn’t throw a complete game. He made it through three and two-third innings before he ran into trouble any trouble whatsoever– a great outing.
Tanner Guindon though came on in relief and put out the fire as it was looking dangerous in London’s half of the inning. RELIEF! It was looking like Brantford could squander the lead, but Guindon held them in their tracks.
However, just thereafter, the left-handed Murray came up for the Sox in the fourth inning and he smashed a hit deep and over the Clear Monster © in left field for a two-run homerun!
Then a Burdett hit scored Mendham to put Brantford up 5-0 on the 8-3 London Majors.
But Brantford did not let off the gas pedal. In the seventh, Dan Jagdeo hit a shot deep to left field that found the windstream and as result– or atleast lending it a dose of help– the ball kept going back, back, back and! And it left the yard! This put the Sox up two field goals entering the eighth frame.
And that’s the way she would end! Brantford blanks London, 6-0 to collect their first win at home!
Brantford catcher, Ricky “Don’t Call Me Martin” Muray had the prettiest offensive statline with two hits, two RBI, two runs, putting his average at heights you don’t want to speak of aloud to impose any kind of jinx on the man.
Four pitchers for the Sox– Strecker, Guindon, Matt Betts, and Gilles– combined to go nine strong, yielding just five hits, and zero runs. Strecker got the win in the game and this group mentioned above had 11 strikeouts of London batters. The last of these strikeouts was hurled by new closer, Tyler Gilles, who had four Ks in just two innings!
I caught up with Gilles briefly after the game and he told me “It was great to have the the team really come together for the first time to get the win,” before retreating to the dugout where a little celebration was going down.
In a fray behind the dugout just after the game, Walter Gretzky posed with the team for pictures and spoke with the players (photo from Crystal Young).
The boys are back in action three consecutive days starting on Wednesday, the 13th when they host Hamilton at Arnold Anderson Stadium. As Norm Tolhurst, in-game announcer for the Red Sox home games, would say– and he probably did actually– “Don’t ya dare miss it.”