Majors Outlast Red Sox for First Win of 2019
London Majors BaseballGreg Bowman
The London Majors were searching for their first win of the 2019 summer season back home against the Brantford Red Sox.
The Majors dropped their home-opener against the Hamilton Cardinals, then they dropped an exciting game against the Barrie Baycats a couple of days later.
The Red Sox were 1-0 coming into play, picking up an 11-7 win in their season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Brantford sent out Mike Bannon to pitch, who picked up the win in their only other game, giving up five runs on six hits and eight strikeouts.
The Majors put new pitcher Simon Mercedes who joined the team after bouncing around the Boston Red Sox organization before landing in the Forest City. Mercedes made his Majors debut in their last game against Barrie, picking up the loss after getting tagged for all 11 runs his team gave up in his 3.2 innings pitched.
The Dominican-born pitcher opened up his second straight start with three strikeouts, showing some impressive heat on his fastball.
Bannon did not start the game quite as seamless as his counterpart, giving up a flare single to Phil Thrappas, who stole second base soonafter. In his first appearance in the 2019 season, fan-favourite Cleveland Brownlee advanced Thrappas by reaching on an error. The Majors had an Ismael Peña got ahold of what would have been a single up the middle, but Bannon made a good defensive play to snag the comebacker to end the inning on the groundout.
The Red Sox drew first blood in the following inning. Fernando Suarez led off by reaching on an error, then Nick Zarzycki put advanced him to third with a single. Matt McGovern cashed in Suarez with an RBI single, with Zarzycki being brought home on a pass ball. Mercedes only got charged with one earned run, and he was able to get himself out of the jam leaving one aboard.
The Majors’ offence woke up in the third inning, with Phil Thrappas and Mike Ambrose getting on base with back-to-back singles. Cleveland Brownlee stepped up in the clean-up position, and drove both his teammates home with a long, two-RBI single to tie the game.
Back came the Red Sox though, who had a bat-around fourth inning. They hit four singles, loading the bases at one point. Mercedes was able to leave the bases full though, only getting tagged for two runs. Mercedes was pulled after that inning, finishing with giving up eight hits over five innings and three earned runs and seven strikeouts.
London made up the difference in the fifth inning, with Phil Thrappas reaching base again with a leadoff walk. He was able to steal second base again, which proved important when Ismael Peña cashed him with an RBI single. Evan Britt followed that up with an RBI double to right-centre field that met the wall.
The Majors took their first lead of the game in the sixth inning with Jonathan Duforest getting on with a single then being advanced to third after another single and a wild pitch. Mike Ambrose brought Duforest home with a sacrifice fly to put London ahead 5-4.
The Red Sox did their part the next inning, scoring Quinton Bent with a Fernando Suarez RBI single.
The tie did not stay for long though, with the Majors going ahead in their half of the seventh. Ismael Peña reached base on a walk, then a throwing error to first brought him home. The Majors weren’t done there, cashing in three more runs in the inning with hits from Jonathan Duforest and Phil Thrappas after a couple walks and errors got runners on base.
The Red Sox weren’t going anywhere though, responding with a strong inning of their own. The Majors’ bullpen caught a snag, unable to get any easy outs. They walked a couple of batters, who eventually scored through errors and pass balls. The Red Sox scored four runs without recording a legitimate hit.
The game needed extra innings, where the Red Sox took the lead in the top of the 10th. Nick Burdett got ahold of a pitch which he drove over the wall for a two-run home run.
When it seemed like the Majors were down and out, the Red Sox committed an error on what would have been the game-ending out, which ended up scoring two to tie the game at 11-11.
Ismael Peña ended the game with a solo shot in the bottom of the 12th inning.
The Majors would be in action around 12 hours later with a game against the new Welland Jackfish on Saturday.
Photography by: Navaneeth Mohan