Red Sox at Welland - Game 1 (Part 1)

by B. Young

WELLAND - The Brantford Red Sox opened up their series against the pennant-winning Jackfish on the road in Welland. With expectations low, the Sox were hoping to come out swinging and maybe surprise the home side.

Brantford led off the 1st inning with a pair of hits. Matt Fabian, back from school for the series, led off with a single to right field. Fabian is a strong favourite for Rookie of the Year, having led the league with a .406 batting average this season. He was then joined by Kieran Bowles, who singled to left. After Fabian stole third, Christian Kuzemka grounded into a fielder's choice to bring him home. Brantford starter Danny Howat then tossed a 3 up 3 down bottom half, and the Sox led 1-0 after 1 inning.

Brantford's bats got right back to work in the 2nd. Nick Burdett led off with a single to right, followed by a sharp Cris Ruiz grounder that ate up Welland's third baseman. Unfortunately, the Red Sox failed to capitalize with 2 on and no outs, and their next 3 batters went down. But Brantford's defence stepped up huge in the bottom of the inning - Christian Kuzemka gunned down Welland's leadoff batter at 2nd, and Jesse Fishbaum robbed the next Jackfish hitter with a diving catch in centre field. Welland's next batter singled, but then was picked off with too aggressive.a lead for out number 3. The Red Sox held onto their slim 1-0 lead.

Sox threatened again in the 3rd - Gus Wilson singled, then stole 2nd. He then advanced to third on a Kuzemka sacrifice fly. Unfortunately he was left stranded 90 feet from home plate. But Danny Howat's strong start continued, getting an inning ending strikeout to leave old friend Gio Morello stranded on base and keep Brantford ahead 1-0 after 3. 

After the Red Sox went 3 up 3 down for the first time this game, the Jackfish finally struck in the 4th. Starter Danny Howat was chased from the game with 4 runs on 5 hits, and Welland scored another pair off reliever Noah Law to take a 6-1 lead. Brantford responded with a pair in the 5th, but Welland answered back with a pair of their own. The Sox now trailed 8-3 after 5 innings. 

Brantford refused to go quietly however, loading the bases in the 6th but cashing in just one run. New pitcher Aidan Armitage shut down Welland in the bottom of the inning, but then the skies opened up. The game was suspended with an 8-4 score after 6 innings. 

UPDATE -The IBL has announced that this suspended game will be resumed on Saturday August 26 in Welland. Game one will resume at 6:05 pm at the top of the 7th. Game three will then begin at approximately 7:15 pm.

Game 2 takes place in Brantford Friday night, first pitch is 8 pm at Arnold Anderson Stadium. Tickets available at the gate, or in advance at Enter the lucky program draw - all programs come with a Red Sox rally towel, and special playoffs prizes include a pair of Brantford Red Sox season tickets for the 2024 season!

The Brantford Red Sox were founded in 1911 and have won 15 Intercounty Baseball League titles. Read about the Red Sox in the Brant Beacon, the official media partner of the Brantford Red Sox. 

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