By Jesse Ferguson, 4BRANT
Brantford was trying to build off its win and on Wednesday, July 18 when they took on the first-place, Barrie Baycats.
Barrie is 21-8 while Brantford is 10-15, with few wins at home.
There was plenty of good news today at the ballpark though. First, as scorekeeper Sue announced, it seemed almost a miracle that
“[Brantford’s] playing Barrie and it’s not raining,” she said.
And the next reason was beyond good and made it a special night at Arnold Anderson Stadium. Past champion and All-star for the Red Sox, Jamie Corke was awarded a golden bat as an inducted member of the Inter-county Baseball League Top 100.
Corke (below, pictured with his family; picture via Brantford Red Sox page) played for the Sox from 1975-1984 and had an eye-popping lifetime average of .347. He was named Rookie of the Year in ’75, played 221 games throughout his career and recorded 306 hits. Also, the list of accomplishments is not nearly over, he was the league batting champ in ’76 and ’79 (hitting.421) and he was named playoff MVP in ’81 as the Red Sox won the Inter-county Baseball Championship.
For the ceremonial first pitch, Corke, stepped in and whipped it in for a surefire strike. Not even the plate umpire could debate that, but there would be much debate about his strikezone. More on that later!
Getting to the matchup of the day, Brantford elected to wear their white uniforms for today’s battle.
First pitch was just before 8:30 p.m. by Brantford’s Euclides Leyer.
Leyer seems to start most home games, but tonight he had a masterful first inning striking out two apart of a three-up, three-down set.
Leyer managed the same feat striking out two in the next inning in what was turning out to be a early pitchers’ duel.
Barrie was countering with pitcher Frank Garces.
Still scoreless in the fifth, Brantford loaded the bases with a few hits to the outfield and a hit batter. However, a groundout into a double play killed the dream.
In the sixth, Barrie had a similar stretch of offensive noise where they got runners on second and third with none out, but Leyer managed to impressively pitch around this.
The scoreless scoreboard held true until the eighth inning when Barrie got the leadoff man aboard, bunted him over to second, then got a timely single up the middle to manufacture a run.
“This umpire is having a day,” was heard sarcastically from the press box and fans were openly displaying their displeasure with his wildly inconsistently wide strikezone. To be fair, the umpire’s zone was poor both ways but the hometeam took the brunt of of brutal calls. So the umpire deserved such ridicule.
The umpire didn’t help things much, but in the end, Brantford could not muster up a win. They’re close-call in the fifth was as close as they would come and was really the only noise they made all game.
Leyer pitched well enough to get the win– seven innings pitched, just four hits given up and nine strikeouts– but he does not. He was out duelled by Garces who went for a complete game giving up only a pair of hits while K’ing fifteen Red Sox at-bats.
Next for the Sox will be tonight in Barrie as part of their home-and-home series, tomorrow night (Friday) in Hamilton and Sunday in Toronto. The Sox will be at home on Wednesday against Burlington at Arnold Anderson Stadium.