Tomcats win 4-3 on free pass to first

 Tomcats open tourney with walk-off   


   Liem takes four pitches for balls to walk-off a 4-3 St. Thomas extra inning win

   over Newmarket in the 22U AAA provincial tournament opening game 


Friday, July 30, 2021        

By Rob J. Ross 

ST. THOMAS - It was somewhat an anticlimactic finish for the St. Thomas Tomcats for an extra inning game.

Tied at three in the bottom of eighth inning, with the bases loaded, Alex Liem looked at four pitches for balls and took a walk to first base, for a Tomcats' 4-3 win over Newmarket, in both teams' opening game to Baseball Ontario's 22U AAA tournament, at Emslie Field.

logo St. Thomas Tomcat Brendan Johnston sets to lay down a bunt single against Newmarket, in their opening game of Baseball Ontario 22U AAA tournament, at Emslie Field. Johnston came around to score on a Jackson VanBakel double. The Tomcats won 4-3 in extra innings. (photo / Rob J. Ross)

"I wanted to come up and have a big hit, but I saw the first pitch a little low. I knew he was really nervous so thought I'm taking until I got a strike," Liem said. "Got the walk, took the walk-off walk. I'll take it any day of the week. Maybe would have got a little crazier with a hit, but I'll take it."

Following tie-breaker rules in extra innings, the Tomcats had runners starting the inning on first and second base.

A balk by the Newmarket pitcher advanced both runners one base. Newmarket intentionally walked Will Marini to fill the bases. Dylan Howard popped up for the second out, giving Liem the opportunity to win the game.

"We played really well defensively," Tomcats' coach Paul Pettipiece said. "We had three pitchers go and they all pitched well. We had a couple big hits."

St. Thomas trailed 3-0, going into the bottom of the third inning, after Newmarket scored one run in each of the first, second and third innings. Newmarket struck right away with lead-off batter Chartier belting a solo home run to welcome Tomcats' starter Jaryd Lund to the game.

Josh Hare put the 'Cats on the board with a RBI single in the home half of the third.

Down 3-1 in the fifth inning, Jackson Van Bakel delivered a two-out two-run double, tying the game at three. The Tomcats' first baseman finished the game two-for-three, with a walk.

The Tomcats had opportunities to take the lead in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but couldn't produce the go ahead run. For tournaments, it is seven inning games.

"I more nervous in the late innings," said Pettipiece said. "We didn't execute very well on the bunts. It's something we haven't done enough of this year. Multiple times we had a runner on third with only one out and we couldn't get him in. A win is a win. We'll take it."

Brendon Johnston had a single and one base on balls and scored two runs. Liem and Howard both drew two 90-feet passes to first base. Will Pollard took a walk and was hit by a pitch, also scored one run.

Tomcats' pitchers Lund, Ben Hubert and Brett Reid, combined to give up three runs on seven hits, two being home runs, over eight innings, while striking out nine batters, walking three and hitting two with a pitch.

The Tomcats return to the Emslie for their second game against Mississauga North, Saturday at 1 p.m.

Zach Banks will be on the hill for the host club.

Mississauga North defeated Tecumseh, 6-4, in their opening game.

In the other Friday games, Halton Hills edged North London, 6-5 and Oshawa belted Brampton, 12-1.






     © 2021