Majors slide to rainy win
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
A win is a win and the London Majors aren’t complaining after a rain out called in the fifth inning helped the team squeeze out a 1-0 victory over the Intercounty Baseball League’s (IBL) top-ranked Brantford Red Sox at Labatt Memorial Park Friday (July 15).
Cleveland Brownlee slapped a single to lead off the second inning and then advanced to third when the Red Sox didn’t cover the base after the next batter, Tyler Graham, hit a bunt that popped the ball up, but managed to drop between Brantford’s sprawling pitcher, catcher and third baseman.
The next batter, Paul LaMantia hit a ball deep to right field to bring in Brownlee and within minutes the rain started coming down, but not hard enough to keep the roughly 1,000 in attendance from leaving the Pack the Park festivities or scrap the game.
IBL rules state a game’s losing team has to play at least four innings before the matchup’s results can be official. The game would have been rescheduled if called anytime before Brantford’s half of the fourth inning.
“We’re obviously going to take that,” Graham said. “We need the win more than they do.”
The Majors currently sit in second place with a 1.5 game lead over the Barrie Baycats.
A win over Brantford, who only have five losses on the season, is much needed to regain some Majors’ confidence back into London.
“It’s huge. We need to get going in the right direction,” said Majors’ co-owner/field manager Roop Chanderdat, snapping a three-game losing skid with the win over Brantford. “They’re the league champions, they’re in first place and won the pennant, so it’s always a good measuring stick playing them.”
With only four-games left on London’s schedule, the Majors will be looking to ramp up the playoff momentum, while hoping to see some players back in the regular lineup.
Chris Chambers, who hasn’t played since a June 26 win over the Hamilton Cardinals, is expected to return to his left field spot this week after returning from work in the U.S.
The news on fifth-hole hitter Adwin Springer is less optimistic. The right fielder hasn’t played since breaking his left hand during an at bat in doubleheader action against the Baycats June 24.
Springer is supposed to be getting the injury examined Wednesday (July 18), but Chanderdat said it’s unclear right now if the power hitter will be sidelined for another week or shutdown for the rest of the season.
Despite Springer playing nine less games than he did last season for the Majors, he’s already surpassed his 2011 stats in hits and RBI’s.
“We’re going to grind it. This year we’re going to steal bases, we’re going to play positions we’re not supposed to and do a good job of it. That’s probably the number one aspect of our team,” Graham said.
The 26-year-old is just one of a handful of players on the Majors’ roster that shows off the versatility of the team.
Most people probably didn’t even know Graham could play a position outside of catcher, but in the last month he’s worked his regular duties, as well as third base and left field.
He’s not the only one who can fill holes. Brownlee can cover the outfield or first base, as well Chambers being able to do the same, while helping out the relief pitching staff too.
Bench players like Jason Schneider or Roland Dos Santos can play just about any position.
“You take your number five hitter out of the order on most teams and they’re suffering,” Chanderdat said. “The plan going into this year was to have that depth and versatility.”
The Majors travel to Toronto on Wednesday to take on the fourth-place Maple Leafs, before coming back to London to take on the Kitchener Panthers on Friday (July 20).
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