By Ned Bekavac
Thanks to a punishing performance by the Guelph Royals’ booming bats, the Ottawa Fat Cats have just two lives left.
The Royals scored early and often on Monday night and are now two games away from reaching the Intercounty Baseball League semifinals.
They lead Ottawa two games to none in the best-of-seven playoff series.
“It was an offensive explosion,” Royals field manager Dave teBoekhorst said, adding that it was something he’s not seen from the Royals “in a really long time.”
Guelph scored nine runs in the first inning of the home game and went on to breeze to an 18-4 win.
TeBoekhorst said he noticed a little extra skip in the Royals’ step during pre-game batting practice.
“The guys seemed really amped up,” he said.
Guelph will be looking to carry their momentum into Game 3 on Friday night in Ottawa. They’ll be boarding a bus at 9 a.m. to head to the nation’s capital for the 7:30 p.m. start.
While Ottawa is quite a hike compared to the distances to other Intercounty baseball towns, teBoekhorst loves that the Royals are playing there.
The Fat Cats regularly draw thousands of fans to their home games.
“The atmosphere is electric, to say the least,” teBoekhorst said.
He also says it’s important to not let the fans get into the players’ heads.
“They know how to chirp,” says teBoekhorst, with a laugh.
David Hatt, who pitched a complete game in Guelph’s 3-1 Game 1 victory on Saturday, will get the start on Friday.
Game 4 is in Ottawa the next night and Game 5, if necessary, takes place Sunday afternoon, also in Ottawa.
In Monday’s victory, Frankie Hare had six RBIs while Mark Allen had four and Kevin Treichel and Sean Reilly each had three.
Tyler Wheeler and Hare each had four hits.
Four Guelph players hit homers in the game: Hare, Reilly, Allen and Treichel.
Adam Reynolds got the win. He pitched six innings, allowing six hits and two runs (one of them earned).
Games six and seven of the series, both if necessary, would take place next week at Hastings Stadium in Guelph.
Game 6 would be Tuesday Aug. 7 at 7:30 p.m. and Game 7 would be on Wednesday Aug. 8, also at 7:30 p.m.