St. Thomas ties league fastball series at two games defeating Glencoe 14-8
setting up winner takes championship fifth game
October 4, 2023
By Rob J. Ross
GLENCOE, Ont. - It's now a one game showdown.
The St. Thomas Storm have come back to tie the South Middlesex Men's Fastball League final with the Glencoe Astros, at two games each.
Led by Mitch Roy, who was a double short of hitting for the cycle, the Storm evened the best of five series, with a 14-8 win Monday, forcing a decisive fifth game.
"We managed to show a little bit of veteran character, score some runs and get some timely hits," said Mark Coleman, filling in for Storm manager Tom Edie. "We're happy we get the opportunity to go again on Thursday. This is a veteran group and we've played together for a long time."
After losing the first two games of the series, including a game two mercy, the Storm have the swung the momentum of the series, walking off game four and taking the high scoring fourth game.
"We were able to come out of the gate, but they made it interesting by tightening things back up," Coleman said.
St. Thomas jumped out to a 6-1 lead after their first two innings. The Astros pulled to within a run in the third, before the teams traded a pair of runs each, in the fourth inning.
Holding a slim 8-7 advantage heading into the seventh inning, the Storm erupted for six more runs, with Paul Grasby leading off with a solo shot.
Getting through the heart of the Astros' order in the sixth inning without allowing a run, was momentous for the Storm.
"We said that was the inning we needed to put a zero up and the boys dug deep and Benny threw well and we got some outs and managed to put a zero up," Coleman said. "When they came up in the bottom of the sixth with the Lyons (brothers) leading off, those guys have been hitting the ball effectively and producing a lot of offence for them."
Hodgins faced just four batters, with only Jeff Lyons reaching base on a single.
"That was big for us and obviously the seventh," Coleman added. "When you score six runs in a tight game, you break their back, but you need to against this team. They don't have any quit in them. They hit the ball really well."
Roy, who led off the first inning with a home run, finished four-for-four, with three RBI and was intentionally walked.
Grasby also had a RBI double while Mike Unwin batted three-for-four, including a pair of RBI singles, and Troy Cook, two-for-three, with a base on balls and one RBI.
The Storm held Astros' star Jeff Lyons to a RBI double and single. The "all world player," as Roy described Lyons, had two home runs and seven RBIs in game two.
Greg Roose hit three-for-four, for Glencoe, while Steve Lyons had a first inning solo home run and a RBI single. Cole Pavey and Adam Fletcher, each had two singles.
Glencoe was without pitching ace Taylor Degraw, out with an injured hand, suffered when a line drive hit him in game three. The Astros workhorse is questionable for game five.
"I know it hurts them with their number one, Taylor, being down. That's a huge loss for them. It's unfortunate that it's his pitching hand," Coleman said. "We've had our fair share of injuries along the way. I feel for them, but I'm on the other side of the field and we want to win."
Both Hodgins for the Storm and Glencoe's Greg Moore, faced hot bats and were hurt by errors behind them.
"Moorsey really battled and put us in a chance to win spot," Glencoe manager Calvin Ritchie said. "Our errors didn't help us at all. We beat ourselves and credit to the Storm for capitalizing on our errors. They're a veteran squad and you can't give them too many opportunities. They made a couple of good defensive plays too."
Even after the quick 14-0 five inning mercy in game two, the Storm wasn't done for the season.
"Down 2-0, it's never where you want to be, but anyone can win three games," Roy said. "We have so many guys here with experience. Guys who have played at a high level. The panic was never really there. It was just a matter of getting our minds back into it and having that belief. Approaches have cleaned up at the plate. Guys are going up there with a plan and making sure the focus is there."
Game five, is 8 p.m. Thursday in Fingal.
"It's ride the way we're feeling right now," Roy said. "Things can happen fast in this game. Guys hit the ball hard. Scores can turn fast and even when you're down, you can put a couple up real quick."
Both managers agree on what will be vital to capture the championship.
"At the end of the day, I always say it's about defence," said Coleman. "We got to limit the errors and score when we get the opportunities to score."
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