Sox Take 1-0 Series Lead in Kitchener
By virtue of their 6th place finish the Brantford Red Sox drew a matchup with the 3rd place Kitchener Panthers in the opening round of the Postseason. On paper this pairing does not appear to favour the Red Sox, who went 0-5 against the Panthers this season. The Brantford team that finished out the regular season, however, were a much better team than early on - winning 6 of their last 10 games. Kitchener, on the other hand, needed just one win in their last 2 games to secure 2nd place in the standings and could not convert resulting in their 3rd place finish. The stage is set for an upset if the scrappy Red Sox can put together 2 wins in the best of 3 series.
Brantford knows that one of their keys to winning is to manufacture runs, and they did exactly that early. The Sox converted a walk, hit by pitch, passed ball, and a throwing error into 2 runs in the 1st inning. After giving back a run via the long ball in the 2nd, Brantford got it back via a Jon Dziomba solo shot in the 3rd to take a 3-1 lead. Kitchener responded back in the home half of the inning however, loading the bases with 2 outs and scoring a pair to even things up 3-3 after 3 innings.
Photo courtesy Dan Congdon
Brantford regained the lead 4-3 in the 5th inning. After advancing to 3rd base, Liam Sutherland took advantage of his speed and a lackadaisical ball return by the Panthers catcher to steal home. This was notably the second time this season home was stolen by a Brantford runner, with Jon Dziomba stealing home back on August 27.
Again the Panthers struck right back though. After an odd play where it appeared Brantford was awarded an out via a delayed infield fly call and the base runners were not permitted to advance, Kitchener still managed to load the bases and cash in a sacrifice fly. The game was once again tied, 4-4 after 5 innings.
It was then Brantford's turn to respond in the 6th. A Zach Lampreia RBI single chased Kitchener's starter, and a Sutherland double drove in 2 more. Brantford regained a 7-4 lead in the 6th inning. Kitchener would load the bases in the bottom of the 6th with one out. After scoring one on a wild pitch, Brantford went to the bullpen. Will Langford would make his Red Sox debut, surrendering 2 runs. Once again the game was tied, 7-7.
The see-saw battle continued in the 7th and the Red Sox run manufacturing factory went back to work. After infield singles by Nick Burdett, Robbie Gauthier and Mike Deluca, Jacob Reid brought home Burdett on a fielder's choice. Brantford then loaded the bases and Lampreia walked in a run, followed by Deluca scoring on a wild pitch. Sox retook the lead 10-7 in the 7th. Kitchener would chip away, scoring 1 in the 8th to cut Brantford's lead to 10-8. That's as close as it would get however, with the Brantford Red Sox taking game 1 of the series 10-8.
Photo courtesy Dan Congdon
Starter Mike Mueller went 5.2 innings for Brantford, striking out 7 while allowing 5 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits. Will Langford gets credited wth the win, going 2.0 innings in relief, allowing 1 run on 4 hits with 1 strikeout. Mack Major closed with 1.1 innings of shutout ball for the save.
Robbie Gauthier continues to thrive at the plate, leading the Sox with 3 hits and 2 runs scored all while calling and catching a great game. Liam Sutherland also had a pair of hits with 2 runs scored, 2 RBIs, not to mention a steal of home.
Brantford now has a chance to close out the best of 3 series at home on Saturday night. The remainder of the quarterfinals schedule vs. Kitchener is as follows:
- Game 2 - Saturday September 11 at Arnold Anderson Stadium in Brantford, 7:30 pm
- Game 3 (if necessary) - Sunday September 12 at Jack Couch Park in Kitchener, 2 pm
Tickets for Game 2 in Brantford are now available online, or at the gate on game day (subject to availability).
The Brantford Red Sox were founded in 1911 and have won 15 Intercounty Baseball League titles. All home games take place at Arnold Anderson Stadium, tickets are available at brantfordredsox.com/tickets. For all the latest updates follow the Brantford Red Sox on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Subscribe to the Brantford Red Sox YouTube channel for live streaming of home games this season.