A Stafford grand slam carries St. Thomas to a 9-1 mercy of Appin
in game one of the South Middlesex Men's Fastball League final
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
FINGAL, ON. - The St. Thomas Storm wasted no time taking the opener of the South Middlesex Men's Fastball League final.
Starting with a first inning Mark Coleman two run bomb and capped by a Brady Stafford grand slam, the Storm needed only about one hour, for a 9-1 five inning mercy of the Appin A's.
"We played well defensively and got in and out and BB was throwing the ball really well," Stafford said. "We've struggled with these guys the last couple of years. To get this first win is big, especially coming off the high of the five game series (versus Alvinston) last week. We carried it over to tonight's game. We were sharp on our toes. We were in it from the first pitch."
St. Thomas opened a 2-0 lead, added two more runs in the second inning, one on a Josh Tetreau RBI single, before putting the game away with five runs in the fourth. The Storm used a pair of walks given up by Appin pitcher Greg Moore, a controversial call and an error to load the bases for Stafford, who launched one over the left field fence.
"It was nice to get one over," said Stafford. "I was looking for a pitch to drive. He got me earlier in the game with a slow rise ball in (for a fly out) and earlier in that at bat, he did the same thing and I fouled it off. I wasn't going to miss it a third time. I was able to get my hands out and pull it."
It's the first post season grand slam for Stafford, who had his first career one against Charring Cross during the regular season.
"We had a couple of key hits out of our three and four hitters," Storm manager Tom Edie said. "It's big because that's their best pitcher and hopefully gets confidence inside our own heads. We have to play a little tighter defence. We made a couple of mistakes."
Two Appin errors led to two of the Storm's runs and in the fourth inning, the home team benefited from a recent rule change regarding base runner interference with a defensive player.
"Since I've been umpiring the past five year I've learned that rule," said Edie. "That interference is nullified when a fielder had a chance to make a play on the ball. That extended the inning. That would have been the third out."
In this case, it was Moore attempting to snag a shot up the middle. Instead of an out and a 5-1 score, it was a Mitch Roy single and then Chris Wismer and Coleman both drew walks, loading the bases for Stafford.
Coleman finished with a home run, a pair of base on balls and three RBIs. Mitch Roy went two-for-three, with one RBI.
Stafford, along with Mitch Roy, Tetreau and Paul Grasby, are Storm players who played junior baseball with the St. Thomas Tomcats.
"We all made the change over to fastball," said Stafford.
Storm pitcher Dan Beecroft tossed a complete five inning game three hitter, striking out four batters and walking one. A first inning error allowed the lone Appin run.
"He's a solid as they come. I've been with him 20 odd years now and he just does that in the playoffs," Edie said. "He'll give you a good game and you just have to support him with some runs and that's what happened tonight."
The Storm won the playoff title in 2017, their first in the league after moving from the St. Thomas and District League that folded the previous season.
Games two and three are at Appin, Friday, October 4th and Monday, October 7th, both at 8 p.m.