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Baycats too much for Kitchener

Barrie crushed six home runs to snap the Panthers' five-game win streak
Panthers Gade
Kitchener Panthers pitcher Stephen Gade hurls a pitch during an Intercounty Baseball League game. (Mark Pare/KitchenerToday)

Jack Couch Park continues to live up to their reputation as a hitter-friendly ballpark.

Last Sunday, the Kitchener Panthers hit six home runs in a win over London.  But Thursday night, it was the rival Barrie Baycats hitting half a dozen balls out of the park in a 10-2 rout in Kitchener.

"Barrie was hitting the ball," says Panthers Manager Luke Baker, "They seemed to be getting their hits.  They're a good hitting team, so they're going to get them."

Many of the home runs went deep to centre field, as Barrie broke out to a 5-0 lead by the end of the fourth inning.

And they never looked back, as Barrie put an end to Kitchener's five-game winning streak and the Baycats took over first place in the IBL in the process.

But it didn't come without some excitement, as the Panthers were able to get eight hits on the evening.

"We just couldn't put it together," Baker said, "One of those days that just things didn't fall into place."

Brady Schnarr suffered his first loss of the season.  The Kitchener starter scattered 10 hits in 5.1 innings of work, giving up seven earned runs while walking two and striking out three.

Pitchers Stephen Gade and Austin Hassani both came on later for the Panthers.

Colin Gordner hit an RBI single in the seventh, while the other run came in via a wild pitch in the fifth.

Speaking of wild, Kitchener got in their Cuban import players in pitchers Miguel Lehara, Yoennis Yera and Yoen Socarras, along with shortstop Yorbis Borroto.  But with all the work visa issues, and having two days worth of back-and-forth flights between Havana and Mexico City before finally arriving into Canada, all four got the night off.

"By the time they got from the airport to here, I think it was about three-ish o'clock (Thursday afternoon)," Baker says, "So they dropped their stuff off, came right to the park.  It was just too busy."

"I wanted these guys to have a day to just rest a little bit, not have the pressure to come in and play and perform, just more take things in."

We'll have to wait and see when each of them make their 2019 debuts.

It could be as early as Friday night, when Kitchener goes on the road to Brantford.

Panthers fans could get their first glimpses at the imports Sunday afternoon, when the Welland Jackfish pay their first visit to Jack Couch Park.


Mark Pare

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