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Stafford walks off Storm victory

Stafford walk-off extends Storm season


 The St. Thomas catcher delivers a two run single in the bottom of the seventh

 for a 7-6 comeback win over Glencoe in the South Middlesex Men's Fastball final


 September 30, 2023






By Rob J. Ross 

FINGAL, Ont. - There will be fastball in October.

Brady Stafford extended the St. Thomas Storm season, delivering a two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning, for a 7-6 comeback win in game three of the South Middlesex Men's Fastball league final Friday.

The Storm trailed 6-3 heading into the seventh, before Mitch Roy led off with an inside the park home run. Walks to Randy Gray and Jason Dawdy and a RBI single from James Ingram, brought Stafford to the plate.

"I had a good feeling going into the inning. We had the right part of the order up and just hoping it got to me," said Stafford, who faced Glencoe reliever Cole Pavey. "He had been missing a little bit around the zone, so I was taking a pitch and as soon as our guys got to second and third (base), I was looking for anything kind of over the middle. Just hoping he was gong to lay one over and I took a good swing. It felt good to come off the bat. It's nice to get this big win."

The Astros still lead the best of five series, two games to one, with the game four at Glencoe, Monday, October 2, 8 p.m.

"We have to keep doing what we do right," Storm manager Tom Edie said. "I think this is a little bit of a confidence booster for us. The boys know they can. It's a matter of whether we will."

Glencoe opened the scoring in the first inning and led 5-0 after two. The deficit didn't faze the Storm.

"We stayed up in here (dugout) the whole time," said Stafford. "Our bats were good but we weren't finding any breaks. It was the top of the third and Troy Cook led off with a great walk and that got everything going."

Mike Unwin drove in Cook on a RBI triple and then scored on a Rob Burns' double, to put the Storm on the board.

Stafford also doubled in the sixth inning and scored on a RBI single by Cook.

Astros starter Taylor DeGraw was hit on his pitching hand by a line drive, forcing him out of the game after six innings. DeGraw had struck out eight batters, while allowing three runs on seven hits and a pair of walks.

"It was unfortunate Taylor got hurt. That was a key turning point in the game," Edie said. "He's had our number and I hope he's ok."

Losing DeGraw hurt the Astros and put the pressure on Pavey to hold the three run lead.

"You can never count the Storm out. They've been around for as long as I can remember. They're hard to beat," Glencoe manager Calvin Ritchie said. "Taylor was rolling.

He's been our horse all season and playoffs. Him going down and Cole coming in a rough spot, they took advantage."

Storm centerfielder Mitch Roy prevented the Astros from adding to their lead, running down the ball for the third out.

"Brian Johnson hit I think a change up and I don't think any other center fielder in the league makes that catch," Ritchie said. "It would have put the game out of reach. Hats off to Mitch on that nice catch."

Left fielder Paul Grasby made a tough catch for the Storm earlier in the inning.

Pitcher Ben Hodgins worked a complete game for the Storm, allowing six runs, on seven hits and three walks and struck out seven.

Unwin finished two-for-two and a base on balls.

Marshall Kulich went three-for-four for Glencoe and Weber had two singles.

The Storm held Jeff Lyons to two singles and a walk and no RBIs, after Lyons blew away the Storm with seven RBIs in game two.



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Related articles:   

    Lyons gives Astros command of series

    Big inning carries Astros in championship opener

    Roy lifts Storm to semifinal win

    Storm capture South Middlesex 2019 title



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