Sports

Welland improves record to 18-4

By Corey LeBlanc, special to Postmedia News

St. Catharines Cobras starter Matthew Jackson, shown in senior men's baseball action in this file photo, earned the victory when the Cobras scored a season-high 19 runs in a victory over the Thorold Fantoms. JULIE JOCSAK/Postmedia News

St. Catharines Cobras starter Matthew Jackson, shown in senior men's baseball action in this file photo, earned the victory when the Cobras scored a season-high 19 runs in a victory over the Thorold Fantoms. JULIE JOCSAK/Postmedia News

The Welland Chiefs enjoyed another winning week in the Niagara District Baseball Association senior men’s division.

 

The Chiefs, first in the eight-team league with an 18-4 record, defeated the visiting Merritton Alliance 12-7 Wednesday night for their eighth win in a row.

The loss dropped Merritton’s record to 7-12.

Welland, which has two games remaining in its regular season schedule, moved two games ahead of the defending playoff champion Niagara Falls Expos, 14-5-1.

The Expos, along with their Oakes Park co-tenants, the Niagara Falls Falcons Juniors, 7-12; and the Rose City Thorns, 11-8-1; stayed off the field this week.

The three teams are scheduled to play a combined 10 games over the next seven days.

That action starts tonight at George Taylor Field in St. Catharines, where the Thorns visit the Alliance, and at Welland Stadium, where the Chiefs host the Expos.

Third in the standings, three games back, are the 14-6 Fort Erie Cannons, who stayed the course with a 12-2 defeat of the Thorold Fantoms, 2-16; Wednesday night at home.

The victory extended the Cannons’ winning streak to four games. Fort Erie has outscored opponents 33-16 over that stretch.

Tuesday night, the St. Catharines Cobras scored their most runs of the season in a 19-7 victory on the road over the Fantoms to improve to 6-15.

St. Catharines has pulled to within one-and-a-half games of Merritton for sixth place and the right to place the fourth-seeded team in the Ontario Baseball Association championships.

Cobras leave Fantoms snake-bitten

The St. Catharines Cobras put up a season-high in runs and downed the Thorold Fantoms 19-7 in a marathon game on Tuesday night.

Cobras tagged Fantoms starting pitcher Luke Edwards with 12 runs – seven of them earned – over 4 2/3 innings and benefitted from a Thorold defence that committed seven errors.

“We have a pretty good team, we can throw out nine guys, we have pretty good pitchers, we have to execute, though,” Cobras manager Frank Iker said. “There are games where we make an error or we’re not doing the right things and we’re just missing.”

“But we’re close. I think if the baseball gods want to be on our side, then we could win some games and cause some problems.”

There were seldom any errors on the Cobras side of the field behind St. Catharines starting pitcher Matthew (Jeb) Jackson. The right-hander kept Thorold batters at bay giving up no runs, two hits, two walks and five strikeouts in four innings to earn the win.

Colin Donnelly pitched the final three innings in relief and was charged with five runs, four hits, four walks and three strikeouts.

Eight players combined to collect 12 hits for the Cobras in a seven-inning game that lasted nearly two and a half hours and saw five pitchers take the mound for the Fantoms.

Pacing St. Catharines at the plate were Joe Meisner, 3-for-6, four RBIs; Matt Bagnulo, 2-for-3; Brendan Shannon, 2-for-4; Mike Butt, 1-for-1; James Spence, 1-for-2; Tyler Neeb, 1-for-4; Steve Dery, 1-for-5; and Matthew Jackson, 1-for-5.

“I think both speaking for myself and the team, we’ve come up a little short this year as to where I feel we should be,” Miesner said. “Going into the playoffs, it would be nice to get on a bit of an August run and hopefully tonight is a good stepping stone.”

Edwards was relieved by a committee that included Dylan Doig, 1 1/3 innings, one run, three hits, three walks; Duane Hewett, three runs, no hits, two walks; Dan Boekestyn, two runs, two hits, four walks; Chris Ciolfi, no runs, no hits, no walks.

“This is just a prelude to OBAs,” Fantoms manager Carmine Ciolfi said. “We got a lot of new guys on the team this year.”

“We’re coming together as a team and we’re building toward the end of the season to the OBAs.”

Fantoms got a charge offensively against St. Catharines from newcomer Russ McKeown, who went 3-for-3 with a walk and batted in four runners.

“Team-wise, I think we want to finish the season strong and try to play spoiler for teams in the playoffs,” McKeown said. “For myself, it’s all about keeping it up with games like this. When you get games like this, when some innings go 40 minutes, you just got to keep your focus.”

Jared McInnis, 1-for-1; Dan Boekestyn, 1-for-3; and Dylan Guillon, 1-for-4; also collected hits for Thorold in the loss.