London Majors: 15-2 win puts them within one win of the Intercounty Baseball League semifinals

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BURLINGTON — The on-again, off-again London Majors offence had the switch stuck to ‘on’ Sunday, driving them to within one win of moving on to the Intercounty League Baseball semifinals.

The Majors defeated the Burlington Herd 15-2 to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series. Game 5 is Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Labatt Park.

The Majors couldn’t get much going in a 14-4 loss to the Herd in London on Friday night. The loss cut their series lead to 2-1.

They may have felt they needed to give Sunday’s starting pitcher Chris Boatto a comfortable margin, since Boatto is not one of their regular starters. It turns out Boatto didn’t need very much help.

Boatto has only pitched 24 innings this year and started three games. He was 1-1 with an ERA of more than eight. His last outing was July 29, when he gave up 13 runs to the Kitchener Panthers in four innings.

Boatto was in charge Sunday, though. The Majors gave him an 8-1 lead after three innings and Boatto went six innings, giving up only one hit and two runs during that stretch.

The combination of Braeden Ferrington and Mike DeLong didn’t give up a hit over the last three innings in relief of Boatto.

“He’s giving us some good outings,” said Majors manager Roop Chanderdat. “The game against Kitchener, he just kind of lost his confidence but he was really good (Sunday.) He kept their hitters off-balance. He’s from the Toronto area and he really wanted to show that he could pitch and he did that.”

Offensively the Majors beat up three Herd pitchers for 15 hits and five home runs. Herd starter Ryan Beckett only lasted 1 2/3 innings giving up seven hits, seven runs with five of them earned.

Byron Reichstein had a pair of two run homers while Mike Ambrose also had a pair of home runs. Kyle Gormandy also had two-run shot. Ambrose and Gormandy had three RBIs each.

Chanderdat says that even during their loss to Burlington on Friday, the game could have changed significantly if the Majors had come up with timely hits.

“We had the bases loaded a couple of times and didn’t get the hits,” he said. “(Sunday) in the first inning we were up 1-0 and got a guy to third with nobody out. But Beckett got Reichstein and then got Cleveland (Brownlee) to pop up. They are pumped up because they think they are going to get out of the inning without any more damage and then Le’Jon Baker hits a single and scores him. Sometimes all you need is that one timely hit. We could see then it was going to be one of those nights.”

Gormandy scored Ambrose with a double after Ambrose had walked. Instead of the score being 1-0, it was 3-0 right out of the chute.

The top of the Majors’ order was on base all day. Chris McQueen, Carlos Arteaga and Reichstein combined for to 8-for-14 with a walk and six RBI and scored seven runs. McQueen also had a pair of stolen bases.

“The top’s been really good,” Chanderdat said. “Carlos has been having a great series and (McQueen) has been our table-setter. Bryon hit a couple and Mike Ambrose he’s been having a good series. He’s been catching and he’s back to himself behind the dish and his bat is coming alive.”

Ambrose missed some time with a head injury but he’s in many ways the team leader.

Luis Sanchez is expected to start Game 5 for the Majors on Tuesday.

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