Brantford Red Sox Week 14 Wrap Up
The Brantford Red Sox entered the final week of the regular season already knowing they would finish 8th in the standings, and with that a playoff matchup with the pennant-winning Welland Jackfish. But with 5 games left, Brantford was playing for pride and the opportunity to gain some momentum heading into the postseason.
Brantford made the long trek up to Barrie one last time this season, to resume their rain-postponed game from August 3. A game briefly starting, then resuming 2 weeks later, makes for a confusing box score. But to sum it up the Baycats gained valuable ground in their battle for 2nd place with Kitchener. Brantford didn't accomplish much on the evening, committing 3 errors while getting just 5 hits en route to a 9-2 loss.
Brantford paid a visit to Welland on Thursday in a preview of their upcoming playoff series. With the game meaning nothing to either team, both team employed a bullpen night to get their pitching staff some work (and needed appearances to qualify for playoff rosters).
Brantford kept things competitive, actually leading 2-1 after 4 innings, but Welland scored 9 in the 5th & 6th innings to pull ahead. The Red Sox rallied back in the late innings, but were denied the comeback by Mother Nature. Game was called after 8 innings with a final score of 12-7. Brantford gets shutout in the season series vs. Welland, the only team in the league the Sox weren't able to defeat at least once.
Christian Kuzemka led the way for Brantford going 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and a RBI. A welcome face returning for Brantford was Jeremie Veilleux, going 2 for 3 with 3 RBI. Veilleux had been out of the lineup since August 5th's game in London where he took a blow to the head on an errant backswing.
The Red Sox played their 3rd game in as many nights visiting the Hamilton Cardinals. This game meant a lot to Hamilton, who sat in a 3 team logjam in the middle of the standings with Guelph and Toronto.
Brantford looked as though they would cruise to a fairly easy victory, getting out of trouble a few times and taking advantage of Hamilton errors with a 4-1 lead through 7 innings. But then errors would strike the Sox in the 8th. All told Hamilton held a 6-4 lead with just 3 outs to get in the 9th. And that they did - Brantford rallied back with a run, but left 2 stranded and handed Hamilton the 6-5 win. Huge missed opportunity for the Red Sox tonight, who will now have run the remainder of the season to secure a double digits win total.
Red Sox starter Isaiah Ramos went 5 innings, giving up just 1 run on 3 hits while striking out 4. Christian Kuzemka and Jeremie Veilleux each had a pair of hits.
The London Majors visited Brantford for the last time this season on Sunday. The two-time defending champions have had quite the fall from grace this year, finishing in 7th place, well below .500, and with a difficult if not impossible road to a three-peat.
Despite the game meaning nothing in the standings for either team, it was a back and forth game until the 6th inning when Brantford exploded for 6 runs to take a 9-6 lead. After 2 more scoreless innings it appeared the Red Sox had the game in hand. But then in the 9th inning what appeared to a strike 3 to end the ballgame to everyone in attendance was not viewed that way by home plate umpire Chris Long, and you can guess what happened next. London scored three to tie the game, and another pair in extras to steal the 11-9 win.
Roger Keen, Christian Kuzemka, Jeremie Veilleux, and Jesse Fishbaum each had a pair of hits for Brantford.
Brantford wrapped up the regular season hosting Toronto in a makeup game from a previous rainout. The Maple Leafs had already clinched 4th place on the weekend, so both teams took the opportunity to get in some last minute player appearances for post season roster purposes and have some fun. Kieran Bowles played every position for Brantford, Isaiah Ramos pinch hit, and Gus Wilson made a relief appearance too. Jeremie Veilleux hit his 4th home run of the season to tie Gus Wilson for the team lead. Final score was 9-3 Leafs.
A look at the week ahead
Next up - the playoffs. To say the 8th place Brantford Red Sox are underdogs in their matchup with the 1st place Welland Jackfish is an understatement. But in a short series upsets are possible, as the 7th place Brantford squad showed the 2nd place Kitchener Panthers in 2021 (best of 3 series). Brantford's opening round schedule is:
- Game 1: Thursday August 24 at Welland 7:25 pm
- Game 2: Friday August 25 at Brantford 8 pm
- Game 3: Saturday August 26 at Welland 7:15 pm
- Game 4: Sunday August 27 at Brantford 2 pm*
- Game 5: Tuesday August 29 at Welland 7:25 pm*
Tickets for Brantford's game(s) will be available at the Arnold Anderson Stadium gate on game day, or in advance at brantfordredsox.com/tickets. (Please note that regular season tickets, passes, and seasons passes are not valid for playoff games)