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Astros take game one SMMFL final

Big inning carries Astros to victory


 Glencoe scores 10 runs in the third inning, to defeat St. Thomas, 13-7,

 in game one of the South Middlesex Men's Fastball League final


 September 20, 2023






By Rob J. Ross 

FINGAL, Ont. - All the Glencoe Astros needed was one big inning.

What an inning the third was for the Astros, scoring 10 runs, in a 13-7 game one victory against the St. Thomas Storm, to open the best of five game South Middlesex Men's Fastball league final.

Scoreless after two innings, the Astros capitalized on three St. Thomas errors, with five hits, to surge to a double digit lead.

"We don't play defence like that very often and the worst time of the year to do it, is in the final," Storm manager Tom Edie said. "I said beforehand to the guys, we got to keep hitting and we got play defence. We're halfway there."

In a forgettable third inning for the home side, the Storm got the first batter out, but the Astros would send 12 men to the plate, before the second out was made.

"They're a good hitting club. When you make mistakes, they capitalize," said Edie. "They hit three or four little dribblers, then an error, then another dribbler, than another error. When it rains, it pours."

Down 10-0, the Storm didn't wither into the night, instead mounted a comeback scoring two runs in each of the third, fourth and sixth innings and one in the fifth, to pull within three runs at 10-7.

Dan Beecroft relieved starting pitcher Ben Hodgins, who suffered from poor defence behind him.

"I hand it to Dan," Edie said. "He's hurting a bit. The plan wasn't to go to him right away, but that inning we needed help and he went out there and threw three zeros in a row."

Glencoe silenced any Storm comeback win, with three runs in the top of the seventh.

"We're coming in hot from our last series versus Highgate. We're swinging the bats well and our pitching and defence has been up to par," Glencoe manager Calvin Ritchie said. "It's kind of a game of defence and whoever can make the less amount of errors might win the game."

Astros' Taylor DeGraw pitched a complete game, limiting the Storm to no more than two runs in an inning.

"It was a good team win. Everybody is contributing and it's good to come up with a win," DeGraw said. "I think I had everything working, but the defence behind me played great. It was a solid team effort."

Mitch Roy led the Storm, going three-for-four, including a two run homer in the bottom of the third, when he sent the ball rocketing in to the trees, over 350 feet away from home plate. Roy also made a couple catches in center field that saved runs and almost gunned down a runner at home plate.

"I haven't see one hit harder than that, I don't think ever. I think it might have broke that tree," said Edie, on the home run. "He (Roy) covers a lot of territory in the outfield. He made a couple of catches in the other series (semifinal vs Fingal), that nobody else would have caught. He tracks it well. He throw well."

Paul Grasby was three-for-three, with two RBI, for the Storm, while Jason Dawdy, batted two-for-three, with one RBI, and Rob Burns, two singles and scored three times.

Steve Lyons, Bryan Johnson and Marshall Kulich, each delivered two-run singles for Glencoe, while Adam Fletcher and Jeff Lyons, both had two singles. Ritchie had a ground rule double, drove in a run and scored two.

St. Thomas made five errors total in the game.

"Physical errors. It's uncharacteristic of several of those guys," said Edie. "I know one thing, we didn't roll over. We have a lot of veteran players and we're not going to roll over. We're going to give it our best and see what happens."

Game two is at Glencoe, Tuesday, September 26, followed by game three, Thursday, Sept. 28 at Fingal. Both 8 p.m. first pitch.

In the semifinals, St. Thomas swept Fingal in two games, while Glencoe took out Highgate, in three games, including a decisive 7-0 win, 24 hours earlier on Monday.


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