Hodgins no hits the Appin A's in a 8-0 five inning mercy leading St. Thomas
to the South Middlesex Men's Fastball League championship
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
FINGAL, ON. - Ben Hodgins made short work of the Appin A's.
The St. Thomas Storm pitcher faced only 14 batters, in an 8-0 five inning silencing of the A's, to clinch the South Middlesex Men's Fastball championship in four games.
Only a pair of intentional walks to Jeff Lyons kept Hodgins from a perfect game, although shortened due to the mercy rule.
"My mindset was to limit the runs and not let their big hitters, like Jeff Lyons beat us, pick away at their lineup and do the best I can," said Hodgins, in his first start of the final, after coming in as relief in games two and three. "Also, I have to mention Brady. You can't throw a no hitter without your catcher."
The Storm were motivated this post season to win for teammates who had never won a league championship before, either in South Middlesex or the former St. Thomas and District League.
"I know there are guys from past Shedden teams that haven't won anything over their years. It's nice to get this win for them," said Hodgins.
On the sidelines for six weeks, due to a hamstring injury, Hodgins only returned to action late in the regular season, in time for playoffs.
"The relief role has been a little bit new to me. It's giving me a chance to regenerate, with the injury earlier, working my way back into full inning games," said Hodgins. "We had to keep it tight. The whole series was tight. Two of the ball games (games two and three) could have gone either way."
St. Thomas scored two runs in the first inning, two more in the second and broke out with four runs in the fourth, to put the mercy in to effect.
The Storm were dominate at home, outscoring the A's 17-1, in games one and four combined, played in Fingal.
"We didn't expect that (score), but I know the guys have been hitting all through the playoffs and it didn't matter who I put in, he performed," Storm manager Tom Edie said. "I think we had 13 different starters over the course of the playoffs. Everybody contributed."
Edie went with Hodgins on the rubber over Dan Beecroft, who started the first three games.
"Ben gave us what we wanted from him. I thought we had to throw a different look at them tonight," explained Edie. "He threw the crap out of the ball and got a no-hitter out of it. That's what we needed."
Chris Wismer, known as Wiz, had his magic, batting two for two, driving in two runs, drew a walk and scored a pair of runs.
"Wiz did the same thing last night (in game three)," said Edie. "He scored on a play to first base (first inning). He came around third, kept running and scored, making it 2-0 (on a Brady Stafford ground out)."
Mike Unwin went two for three, while both Aaron Gould and Jeff Wilcox, had two run singles. Mark Coleman was issued a pair of intentional walks, while Mitch Roy had a leadoff triple, was hit by a pitch, drove in one run and scored twice.
Wilcox likely produced the TSN hit of the game, producing a two-run single, on a two strike, two out pitch from A's starter Greg Moore, with the bases loaded and the Storm leading 4-0. Wilcox extended the inning and ended the night for Moore. Aaron Gould welcomed reliever Jeff Lyons to the game, with another two-run single. In a matter of a couple pitches, the score doubled.
"I just wanted to put the ball in play and hopefully knock one through and that's what happened," Wilcox said. "I took a big swing at one (pitch) and thought, no, just put the ball in play. I hit it hard enough to sneak one in. I think if they (A's) would have got out of that inning (no runs allowed), it would have been a big turn around."
Instead Hodgins ensured it was game over, with a three up, three down fifth inning, other than an intentional pass to first for Lyons.
"Our group is a veteran group as you can tell by the grey (hair)," laughed Edie. "I'm happy for the guys from the past Shedden teams who have joined us. I had all of them on the field at the end of the game. They had never won the city championship back in the day."
This season will be one of the most memorable for the Storm, capped by winning the league title.
"It's really satisfying," added Edie. "This year has been one of the most fun years we've had at the park. We have a lot of guys. With all the busy lives they lead, they come here and everyone takes their turn sitting out. It's just been fun. We have good fellowship afterwards.
For Appin, it's back to back appearances in the final. The A's, during the regular season, swept the season series, against both St. Thomas and first place Alvinston. Appin may have finished first if they played and won a game that was cancelled at the end of the season.
"They're a good squad. A great bunch of guys. Kudos to them. They've had a good season," said Edie, adding. "They're going to get their championship."