Majors' Bats Cause Fireworks On Canada Day
Athletes, both professional and amateur alike, are supposed to be robotic while playing yet expected to erase memories of a loss, particularly a devastating one. Quite the double-edged sword for certain. Nobody would blame the London Majors or their fans for putting Friday’s 12-0 loss to Welland, and a narrow defeat by Toronto 8-7 on Saturday in their rear view mirrors. Monday was a new day: Canada Day. A day for celebrating Canada’s birthday, and hopefully, a Majors’ victory. Fans in attendance at Labatt Memorial Park, did not have to wait until after the game to see fireworks. The Majors’ bats exploded for 21 hits, leading to 15 runs, in a 15-3 rout of the first place Barrie Baycats. London’s starter, Juliandry Higuera, pitched 6 strong innings to earn the much needed win for his squad.
London entered the night with an 11-12 record, as they prepared to face off against the Baycats, who boasted a stellar 15-4 record. Higuera got off to a rocky start indicated by the two hits which earned Barrie a quick 2-0 lead. The Majors’ flame-thrower settled down to end the inning with the Baycats leaving three on base.
Barrie countered at the bottom of the first, with Santos Arias. Arias began the evening with a near perfect 4-1 record, but looked shaky against the first part of the London batting order. The Majors climbed right back into the game with two hits and a run in the first, followed by two hits in the second inning, leading to a tie score of 2-2 after two.
London put the game away in the third inning. Yes, in only the third inning of the night, the Majors tallied seven runs that came via the eight hits they tuned up Arias for. None of the hits or runs were bigger than the homer by fan-favourite Cleveland Brownlee. Brownlee’s dinger was his 100th of his career. The solo moon-shot also was the catalyst in the offensive lashing witnessed by the capacity Canada Day crowd. Brownlee said post-game that he “was lucky to be able to hit the home run”. The loveable slugger also added how happy he was to achieve such a milestone in front of their “largest crowd thus far." 9-2 was the score in favour of London when the dust cleared.
The third also marked the end of Arias short night. He was replaced by reliever Brandon Catena, who did not fare much better than Arias versus the mighty bats of the Majors. Catena took the hill for barely a cup of coffee, giving up six hits and five earned runs. The Baycats trotted out Brandon Hillier, who all things considered, did much better than his two predecessors. Hillier coughed up only one run in his three innings pitched to close the game out for Barrie. London sent three pitchers out for an inning each, after the night was finally over for starter Juliandry Higuera. Higuera pitched six solid innings, and if it were not for the hiccup to start the game, probably would have gone for a complete game.
The Majors padded their already enormous lead when they added five more runs in the fourth inning, and another run to put the proverbial nail in the Baycats’ coffin in the sixth. Barrie hardly sparked a comeback bid with their only other run in the game coming in the seventh. Winning Manager, Roop Chanderdat was quite pleased post-game with his team’s effort citing the way they “put up some big numbers against a really good team”. Chanderdat hopes that the team can ride the momentum of the Canada Day win, in front of a lively capacity crowd at Labatt Memorial Park.
The next game for London is a home one on Friday July 5th at 7:35pm when they host the Kitchener Panthers. The Panthers have a game on Thursday night taking on the Baycats in Barrie. July 4th’s battle between the Panthers and the Baycats will also be for first overall. Maybe the Majors’ and especially their fans, are hoping these two heavyweights score a double knockout on Thursday.