Fort Erie no hits Thorold in season opener
eight senior men’s teams in the region will spend the summer battling to finish the regular season and the playoffs at the top of the order.
This is the first in a series of regular reports. In addition to shining the spotlight on a team, roundups and upcoming games will be listed.
Four teams scored more than 10 runs in their season openers, but the game of the week was anything but a slugfest as Cam Hall and Ryan Soltesz of the Fort Erie Cannons combined to pitch against the Thorold Fantoms.
“We’re a little rusty,” Fort Erie manager Justin Hall said. “Early on in the season pitchers have the advantage in these games.”
Steve Oleniuk scored two runs and went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles to pace the Cannons at the plate in the home opener at Oakes Park in Fort Erie.
“It’s basically the same group coming back,” the manager said. “We have four new young guys, so if they learn to adapt and mesh and gel with the team we should be all right.”
“We should be a top-three team again this year.”
Last season the Cannons finished league play in first place but it was the Niagara Falls Expos who prevailed in the playoffs.
Cam Hall was pitcher perfect on the mound for Fort Erie. He struck out 10 and didn’t allow any walks in five innings of work.
“He finds the zone early on and if he gets in his groove early on he just goes up there, has fun and dominates,” Justin Hall said.
Thorold’s offence should come around. The Fantoms are a young, emerging team that was missing some key players.
They were knocking at the door in the late stages of their game against the Cannons. However, try as they might against an air-tight Fort Erie defence, the Fantoms couldn’t advance runners into scoring position.
Thorold’s next opportunity to generate some offence is Tuesday at home against the Niagara Falls Junior Falcons. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m. at McMillan Park.
Fort Erie was the only team to take advantage of home-field advantage during the opening week of the 24-game season. The Welland Chiefs defeated the Expos 10-2 at Oakes Park in Niagara Falls, the St. Catharines Cobras topped the Junior Falcons 10-3, also in Niagara Falls; the Junior Falcons doubled the Merritton Alliance at George Taylor Field, formerly Community Park in St. Catharines, with the Rose City Thorns designated as the visiting team in an 11-3 victory over the Chiefs, their co-tenants at Welland Stadium.
ON DECK THIS WEEK
Upcoming games in the Niagara District Baseball Association’s senior men’s division. Admission is to all games is free.
Tuesday: Niagara Falls Junior Falcons at Thorold, 7:30 p.m., McMillan Park
Wednesday: Niagara Falls Expos at Welland, 7:30 p.m., Welland Stadium; Rose City at Fort Erie, 8 p.m., Oakes Park
Friday: St. Catharines at Merritton, George Taylor Field