Kitchener opens IBL final with extra-innings win
BARRIE – A single run was good enough for the Kitchener Panthers to open the Intercounty Baseball League’s championship series with a victory over the Barrie Baycats Tuesday night at Coates Stadium.
It took until the 11th inning for the Panthers to score the only run of the game and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven final.
Brian Burton hit a one-out triple for Kitchener in the top of the 11th and Keegan Marsden followed with a single to centre field to score the run.
That run made a winning pitcher out of Mike Schnurr while Miguel Lahera came in to pitch a three-up-three-down 11th inning for Kitchener to earn the save.
Schnurr had pitched three innings, giving up Barrie’s only hit of the game and two walks and he also had two strikeouts. Noelvis Entenza had pitched seven hitless innings, striking out eight and walking four.
Frank Garces pitched nine scoreless innings for Barrie, yielding seven hits and two walks to Kitchener batters. He had eight strikeouts. Chris Nagorski was charged with the loss as he gave up the run off three hits and a walk in the two innings he worked. He had one strikeouts.
At the plate, Burton finished the game with a triple, double and single for Kitchener while Tanner Nivins hit a double and single and Marsden smacked two singles. Mike Gordner, Zach Johnson and Andy Leader each had one single.
The loss was the first loss of the playoffs for the defending champion Baycats. They had swept the Burlington Herd 3-0 in the best-of-five quarter-finals and the Hamilton Cardinals 4-0 in the best-of-seven semifinals.
Kitchener had swept the Brantford Red Sox 3-1 in the quarter-finals and the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0 in the semifinals.
The loss was also the first in 21 games for Barrie as the Baycats had finished the regular season in first place at 27-8 and entered the playoffs on a streak of 13 consecutive wins.
The Panthers were second in the standings at 24-12.
The teams met five times during the regular season with Barrie winning three of the matches – 3-1 and 11-4 at home and 4-2 at Kitchener. The Panthers won 5-0 at Barrie and 20-6 at home.
Second game of the championship series is set for Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Jack Couch Park.
- Guelph Sports Journal