The A's score six runs in the opening inning, in a 11-3 win over the St. Thomas Storm,
for a 2-0 lead in the South Middlesex Men's Fastball League first round series
Thursday August 23, 2018
FINGAL, ON. - The St. Thomas Storm will need more clutch hits and fewer men left on base, if they want their season to extend beyond next game.
A six run outburst in their opening at bat carried the Appin A's over St. Thomas, 11-3, in six innings, for a two games to none lead, in their best of five series, for the South Middlesex Men's Fastball League.
Game three is at Appin, 8 p.m. Monday. Game four, if required, back here, on Tuesday. The A's won game one, 9-6, in Appin, on August 20th.
"They're (A's) a good hitting team when they got all of their guys," St. Thomas manager Tom Edie said. "They score six in the top of the first and we came back with the bases loaded and don't get any runs. That's a big TSN turning point right there."
For the game, the Storm left 10 runners on base, six in scoring position.
St. Thomas finished the regular reason in fourth place, at with a 15-5 record, one of just four clubs in the 13-team league to finish above .500.
Two Alvinston teams tied for top spot with the Highgate Rock, each with 18 wins.
Appin was fifth at 11-11.
"This is probably the best we've hit all year," A's starting pitcher Jeff Lyons said. "We're stringing two out hits and those two out hits are killers and keeps our momentum going. We've been getting key outs with the defence playing tight. Everybody is coming together."
Lyons also contributed offensively, with a two out two run double in the fourth inning and drew a pair walks.
Appin exploded out of the gate with six runs, highlighted by RBI doubles from Paul Johnson and Steve Lyons.
"That was huge. It made it easy for me and got us on the right foot forward," said Lyons, who struck out six batters and walked four. "Early on I wasn't hitting my spots, but I kind of came around and the defence helped me out."
St. Thomas found the score sheet, in the second inning, with a Chris Wismer RBI single. Mark Coleman delivered a two run double in the fourth inning, making it an 8-3 game.
"We've gotten old in a hurry. We had six guys in the line-up over 40 years old tonight," said Edie. "We have to get our chances because we're not stealing bases or taking extra bases on outfielders anymore. We have to get our hits and we didn't get them tonight."
Appin added three runs in the sixth, thanks to Johnson's two run triple and a RBI single from Aaron Fichter.
Adam Fletcher finished three for four for the A's, with a pair of runs scored. Johnson (double, triple), Fichter and Steve Lyons, each had two hits.
Rob Burns led the Storm, going two for three and drew a base on balls. Troy Cook had pair of walks to first base.
Dan Beecroft took the loss for St. Thomas, striking out eight batters and walking two.
Game three is an obvious must win for the Storm.
"We have to come out and hit right away," said Edie. "We'll be leading off in the top of the first and if we can get an answer like they did tonight, it'll be a different ball game."
Jeff Lyons leaves the A's in good position, as the Appin native will miss the remainder of the series. Lyons was picked up to be a catcher for the Elmira Expos, the Ontario champions, for the Senior men's Canadian fastpitch championship, in Saint Croix, Nova Scotia, August 29 to September 2.
Lyons was a teenager when St. Thomas hosted the senior Canadians, in 2005 and 2009.
"I remember watching Ryan Wolfe (at Senior Canadians) and some of these guys from St. Thomas (Coleman, Wismer, Beecroft) and now I'm playing against them, so that's kind of cool," said Lyons. "It's with friends here (on the A's), all guys who I grew up with, so it's fun to play with them."
The 26-year old who is a teacher at Ekoe Central elementary school, in Glencoe, plays league ball with his hometown A's, when not playing in tournaments with a Toronto based club. Lyons is also a member of Canada's men's National team athlete pool.
Two other Elgin County teams complete in the SMMFL. The Port Stanley Pirates placed sixth, with a 11-13 record, while Dutton finished ninth, at 8-12.