Pitcher Strecker sets career appearances record

by Brantford Expositor

Originally appeared in Brantford Expositor May 22, 2013 by Brian Smiley

Wednesday was a night to remember for the Brantford Red Sox at Arnold Anderson Stadium in Cockshutt Park.

The Sox lost 7-5 to the London Majors in 11 innings of Intercounty Baseball League action. It was Brantford’s first defeat at home since a 9-4 loss to the Barrie Baycats on May 30, 2012.

The loss dropped Brantford's season record to 5-2 and improved London's mark to 3-2.

On the positive side, Red Sox reliever Stefan Strecker set the career appearances record for a pitcher, making his 199th trip to an IBL mound since appearing in his first game more than a decade ago.

The record was bittersweet, said Strecker.

“It's an individual accomplishment but to me the team winning is more important than any record.”

There was some confusion with the record, though. The IBL credited Strecker with tying Doug Landreth's record of 198 appearances on the weekend. However, Strecker apparently had 196 appearances coming into this season, and Wednesday’s game was his fourth appearance of 2013.

Strecker, who has worked as a starter, reliever and closer during his time in Brantford, has other history behind him.

Years ago, the Grade 8 teacher in Waterdown was named the best pitcher to take the mound at Brock University and the fifth best player overall.

For Strecker, the IBL record holds special appeal because of his close connection with the Sox.

“It's awesome being part of this team and trying to win a championship,” said Strecker, whose wife, Jacqueline, gave birth to the couple's second child, son Maddux, on May 5. “That's what it's all about."

London got a single run in the first inning on two hits and a Brantford error. Although the Majors could have struck for more, Red Sox starter Jamie Richmond kept them off the board.

Richmond didn't have his best stuff early on – it didn't help that London was the league's top hitting team, batting a robust .349 as a group prior to Wednesday – but he persevered.

Exiting after six innings, Richmond was charged with one unearned run on seven hits with six strikeouts. He has yet to allow a walk or earned run this season in four appearances covering 18 innings.

The Sox got that run back for Richmond in the bottom of the third inning when Wayne Forman walked, moved to second on an errant pickoff attempt and then scored on a Tyler Burnell single.

In the fourth, Brantford added one more score but originally it looked like that number should have been doubled.

Todd Betts reached first base on a two-out single and that brought Jason Gotwalt to the plate. Gotwalt promptly took an Andrew Marck pitch to the gap in left-centre field, with the umpire ruling the hit a home run.

However, the ball didn't appear to leave the field of play, which resulted in the London outfielders running in and challenging the umpire's call

Majors manager Roop Chanderdat then bolted out of the dugout to pick up the discussion and then he and the umpire, who had returned to the infield, trekked back out to the scene in question.

After a brief discussion, Brantford manager Adam Clarke decided to go out and check on things.

After about 10 minutes, Clarke wound up unhappy as the umpires reversed their call, giving Gotwalt a double, which sent Betts back to third.

Brantford's next batter, Joe Colameco, walked to load the bases and then Forman also followed with a walk to bring in the home team's second run of the game.

The inning then ended on a Burnell strikeout.

The second run Brantford thought it deserved in the fourth inning came one frame later as Scott Thorman drove in Terrell Alliman with a single.

Once again the Red Sox got great work from their pitchers, who led the league in ERA with a 1.15 mark coming into Wednesday's game.

Adam Kudryk pitched a scoreless seventh, leading to Nathan Forer's appearance.

Forer allowed the Majors to take the lead when he surrendered four runs on three hits and a walk.

In the eighth, Brantford got one back with two outs when Burnell reached first on an error to the London second baseman, allowing Gotwalt to score from third.

The Red Sox rally was then ended with runners on second and third as Majors third baseman Paul Young made a great putout on Josh McCurdy for the third out.

But in the ninth, the game was back to even as Thorman and Lee Delfino hit back-to-back doubles to tie the game at 5-5.

Unfortunately the Sox couldn't complete the comeback as London scored two runs in the 11th with Strecker loading the bases and Brad Hogeterp giving up the winning hit.

The Red Sox are back in action on Saturday when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 2 p.m. game at Cockshutt Park.

On Sunday, Brantford is in Hamilton to take on the Cardinals at 2 p.m.