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SMMFL quarter game 1

Storm blow away Highlanders


 St. Thomas mercies Delaware, 12-1, in game of fastball quarterfinal


 August 30, 2023



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St. Thomas Storm meet following their opening win to the South Middlesex Men's Fastball League August 29 in Fingal. (photo / Rob Ross)



By Rob J. Ross 

FINGAL, Ont. - It didn't long for the St. Thomas Storm to get rolling in the South Middlesex Men's Fastball League playoffs.

The top team from the regular season, rolled over the Delaware Highlanders, 12-1, in game one of the best of three quarterfinal Tuesday.

"It was good to get going early and we just kept hitting," Storm manager Tom Edie said.

St. Thomas scored three runs in the first inning, six in the second and three more runs in the fourth inning, for the five inning mercy.

Paul Grasby drove in four runs, going two-for-three. Brady Stafford was two-for-two, including a two-run triple and also drew a base on balls. Randy Gray had a singles, two walks to first base and scored three runs.

Storm pitchers Dan Beecroft and Ben Hodgins, combined to no hit the Highlanders, striking out seven batters along the way. Hodgins struck out the side in the fifth and final inning.

Delaware only reached base on four walks and an error.

"We're hoping to get to the next round, but we have another win to get," Edie said.

Game two is Friday in Delaware. Game three, if necessary, would be Tuesday, September 5 in Fingal.

St. Thomas finished first with a 17-3 record for 34 points, two points ahead of Glencoe and team camaraderie is a major factor for their regular season success.

"The reason is we get good attendance. The guys like playing. They like being together," Edie said. "We've got 21 guys on the roster, so playing time can be at a minimum at times, but they keep coming out because they like being around each other."

Alvinston had a 14-3 record, before folding for the season, due to lack of pitchers and will not be in the playoffs. Same for Moraviantown, who went winless this year.

Glencoe is taking on Charing Cross, while the fourth place Highgate Rock is playing Dutton and took game one, 7-3, on Aug. 28.

Fifth place Fingal is battling fourth place Chippewa.

A quarterfinal win would see St. Thomas play the winner of Chippewa-Fingal.

"We're hoping to get through this round and hopefully the next round and be in the final. That's the goal anyway," said Edie.

"You have to play the game the right way. For us, that's doing the little things, putting balls in play, hitting behind runners, throwing to the right base and getting good swings in key counts. Limiting defensive mistakes. We are older and they (mistakes) happen, so limiting them and getting good pitching. If Dan and Ben can keep the other hitters off balance and we score one more run than the other team, we'll be successful."

Mark Coleman and Chris Wismer were not in the line-up, because the two Storm players are with the Shakespeare Falcons, Canadian master men's fast pitch championship, August 30-September 3, in Surrey, B.C.


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