Tomcats advance to Sunday

 Tomcats one of four still standing   


   Ambrogio pitches a complete game for a 3-2 win over Halton Hills

   keeping St. Thomas in the OBA 22U AAA provincial tournament


Saturday, July 31, 2021        

By Rob J. Ross 

ST. THOMAS - It is on to Sunday for the St. Thomas Tomcats.

The host team is one of the four still standing at the Baseball Ontario's 22U AAA tournament in St. Thomas.

St. Thomas faces Oshawa at 10 a.m. Sunday in an elimination game for both 1-1 teams.

action St. Thomas Tomcats' pitcher Connor Ambrogio delivers against Halton Hills, at the Baseball Ontario 22U AAA tournament, at Emslie Field. The Tomcats won 3-2. (photo / Rob J. Ross)

Connor Ambrogio tossed a complete game for the Tomcats, late Saturday afternoon, scattering seven hits and a pair of walks over seven innings, in a 3-2 win against Halton Hills.

"I just wanted to come in and throw strikes and get outs for my team. We got the win to move on to Sunday," said Ambrogio. "The team played well all around. We made a couple of errors but we picked it up after that and got the win. I just kept focused and not let them (Halton Hills) bother me and kept throwing strikes. My arm felt good all of the time."

St. Thomas faced elimination after dropping an 8-4 contest to Mississauga North earlier in the day.

"Connor really saved us. It's been a long day. There wasn't a lot of energy in the dugout," Tomcats' coach Paul Pettipiece said. "We didn't have good at bats and booted around the ball a little bit. So, Connor really came up big when we needed it. He got better as the game went on too."

The Tomcats took a 3-0 lead in the third inning, capitalizing on a pair of walks, an error and a hit batsman, with run producing hits by Brendan Johnston and Jackson Van Bakel.

Halton Hills moved to within a run scoring twice in the fourth inning.

Brad Verhoeven walked three times to first base in the game, but the Tomcats had seven strikeouts against Halton Hills.

"We didn't have good at bats," said Pettipiece. "We have guys playing out of position. They're working their butts off, but the baseball Gods weren't on our side today. We (coaches) said to them (players), we made it to Sunday and tomorrow is a new day. Be ready to go. It's just baseball. Bounces just don't go your way all of the time and it's how it went for us today."

The Tomcats are without infielder Alex Fishback, who had been one fire at the plate in recent games, but is out with an leg injury.

Earlier in the day, the Tomcats led 3-2 after three innings, before Mississauga North exploded for six runs in the fourth inning.

The host team looked to have a big inning of their own in the fifth, having scored a run and men on base, but two exceptional catches by Mississauga North, one in right field and one by the shortstop, prevented a possible come back.

"That was probably the turning point there," Pettipeice acknowledged. "We would have made it 8-5 and first and third with one out, tying run at the plate."

The Mississauga shortstop dove to snag an Alex Pettipiece hot shot just behind second base, then doubled off the Tomcat base runner at first base to end inning.

Dylan Howard gave the Tomcats an early lead with a two-run homer. Will Pollard had a single and pair of walks.

The Tomcats face Oshawa at Emslie Field.

"We know our pitching will be there," coach Pettipiece said. "Our guys have to make the routine plays and we're going to have to scratch out a couple of runs."

Mississauga North defeated Oshawa, 8-4, Saturday evening, to remain the lone undefeated team, at 3-0. Mississauga North faces Newmarket at 10 a.m. Sunday.





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