Intercounty baseball: Chances of London Majors catching Barrie Baycats get slimmer

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The Barrie Baycats have set an Intercounty Baseball League record for most straight wins.

In the process, they’ve proven they are tougher than a $5 steak. You can try to cut it, chew it, pound it all you want, but it just won’t give in.

As for the London Majors, they’ll go home from Labatt Park Sunday wondering how they possibly could have lost both ends of a seven-inning doubleheader. Game 1 will be especially haunting for the Majors. They had a two-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning and coughed it up.

The Baycats defeated the Majors 6-5 in an extra inning in Game 1 and came back with a 4-1 win in the nightcap. The wins were No. 22 and 23 for the Baycats, who have yet to lose. The 1961 Brantford Red Sox won 22 games in succession during the regular season, a record the Baycats broke Sunday.

“They are a very good ball club,” said Majors manager Roop Chanderdat. “Both games were close, but a good ball club finds ways to win.

“We just made too many mistakes. You can’t give that kind of team too many chances and we just have to make fewer mistakes.”

The record-breaking teams are similar in other ways. The Red Sox were a legitimate dynasty. They won five IBL titles from 1959-63. They won six in succession from 2008-13.

The Baycats are working on their fourth straight IBL title.

Baycats manager Angus Roy says working on that fourth IBL title is what’s important, not the winning streak. “Personally, I don’t care about it at all,” Roy said. “Everyone is talking about it, so you know it’s happening. We aren’t talking about it in the room . . .We’re just talking about playing good baseball.”

Putting together that kind of streak at any level in any sport is remarkable. It takes talent, an ability to respond to pressure and a little luck. The Baycats have won several games in late innings and extra innings. Last week, they trailed the Toronto Maple Leafs by three runs in the bottom of the ninth and scored four runs to win it. “We just worry about the next opponent,” Roy said. “Part of the reason for the streak and the comebacks is we have an internal belief that until that final out happens, then we’re in every baseball game.”

There was no more proof of that than in Game 1. The Baycats trailed 4-1 in the top of the sixth and 4-2 going into the top of the seventh.

The Majors wasted several opportunities to put the game out of reach, leaving the bases loaded twice. In the top of the seventh, with starter Murilo Gouvea (3-1), still pitching, the Baycats got runners to second and third with one out thanks to a passed ball. Gouvea struck out Jordan Castaldo. With two out, Kevin Atkinson singled just out of reach of third baseman Carlos Arteaga.

“That’s baseball,” Chanderdat said. “I’ve said from the beginning we just have to get better. We battled, but it’s just the little things.”

Game 2 was a pitchers’ duel between Luis Sanchez and Matthew St. Kitts. Sanchez took his first loss to run his record to 7-1 while St. Kitts threw a four-hitter to go 3-0. The Baycats scored two runs in the first inning, then added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh for the win.

As terrific a record as the Baycats had, the Majors went into the game in second at 19-2. A pair of wins would have tied the teams for first place in the IBL.

Now the Baycats are four games up and the Majors know their chances of catching them may be gone for good. 

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