St. Thomas mercies Fingal, 11-3, in South Middlesex semifinal opener
September 13, 2023
By Rob J. Ross
FINGAL, Ont. - The first home run was inside the park, the ball hit on a rope that went through the centre fielder's glove and rolled to the fence. The second one was a moon shot over the fence that ended the game.
Mitch Roy hit a pair of home runs to lead the St. Thomas Storm to a 11-3 five inning mercy of the Fingal Phantoms in game one of the South Middlesex men's fastball best of three semifinal Tuesday.
"I've felt good all year. I try to see the ball up. Had some trouble in the past with the ball down, so I'm trying to see the ball up, using my eyes and get the right part of the bat on the ball," Roy said. "The first one I got behind it and the second one I got under it and it was just enough to get it over the fence."
The Storm jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first inning and added one run in the second. Fingal scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning, but the Storm responded with two in the home half of the fourth and four more runs in the fifth to end the game.
"After 10 days off, I'm happy with how the guys hit," Storm manager Tom Edie said. "I told them after the game, that's a recipe. Just keep hitting. You out hit them, you out score them most of the time.
"We got some good hitters, discipline hitters. Their pitcher got behind on a few hitters and we got some good pitches to hit. You get good swings on it and good things happen."
Roy finished three-for-four, with three RBIs and three runs scored. Troy Rick was two-for-two, including a RBI triple and walked to first base once. Paul Grasby had two doubles and Mike Unwin, a pair of singles. Troy Cook had a single and two walks.
St. Thomas pitcher Ben Hodgins struck out 11 batters over the five innings, while allowing three runs on six hits and a pair of base on balls.
"We kept on it and Benny's pitched so well for us all year," Roy said. "Had a little bit of a hiccup there (fourth inning), so we wanted to make sure we came back and got a few for him. It's about team at bats. We had some good two-out base hits and the guys are seeing the ball well, taking their walks."
Brent Roloson had a two run homer for Fingal. Scott Lovell followed with a double and scored on double by Brent Crocker. Steve Barton was two-for-two and took a walk to first base.
Game two is Friday, 8 p.m. at Talbotville.
Roy is hoping for a return to the league final. St. Thomas last won the South Middlesex title in 2019, before the COVID pandemic cancelled the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
A year ago, Glencoe eliminated the Storm in the semifinals, before losing to Alvinston in the final.
"One of the my first years here, we beat Appin in the final. It was a great experience and a lot of good memories," said Roy. "Anytime you put your cleats on you want to win. It's a good group of guys here, win, lose or rainout."
In the other semifinal, Glencoe leads Highgate, one game to none, after winning the opener, 5-3, Monday at Glencoe.
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