ETOBICOKE, ON: Like two heavyweight fighters, the Humber Hawks (7-3, tie 1st) and St. Clair Saints (7-3, tie 1st), went toe-to-toe on Saturday afternoon at Connorvale Park. After the dust settled, there seemed an even less margin between the two squads.
The St. Clair Saints came from behind to take the first game by a 3-2 score, and this was followed by a extra-inning affair that saw the hometown Hawks score a 6-5 walk-off win by way of a wild pitch.
The regular season series between the two teams is complete, with both teams winning twice, and both teams scoring a win in extra innings on home turf. It is so tight, that if the two teams end up tied for first place, it would be the Hawks who would hold the ace as they have scored 3 more runs than the Saints in the four games.
The Saints sprinted out to a quick one run lead early, only to see Humber respond to take a 2-1 lead. St. Clair, combining small ball with a couple Humber miscues, scored twice in the fourth. Humber threatened throughout, but were unable to knot up the game when they had multiple runners in scoring position. In fact, the first clean inning the Saints had was in the 1-2-3 seventh.
Brendan Lyons was tagged with the complete game loss, giving up only two earned runs. Miguel Cienfuegos of the Saints was the winner, and Michael Beale grabbed his second save of the year.
Humber's Brandon Costa led both teams with three hits.
To skip ahead quickly, Humber held a 4-0 lead and it was St. Clair that scored five to take a late lead. Humber was able to scratch across a run in the bottom of the seventh to tie and force the game into extra innings. The international tie breaking rule was imposed, placing a runner at second base with none out. The Saints could not score in the eighth, and then playing five infielders, turned an incredible inning-ending double play.
The ninth saw the Saints a pitch away from walking in the go-ahead run, but reliever David Sigmund induced a groundout. The Hawks ninth began with a sac fly to put a runner on third, followed by an intentional walk. Veteran Andrew Thomson stepped to the plate, facing a new Saints reliever. The first pitch hit the dirt and slid through the legs of the Saints catcher to score the Hawks winning run.
Humber will host Fanshawe on Sunday afternoon at Connorvale Park. Game times are set for 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm.