Friday, May 14, 2010

Ottawa Fat Cats set for Saturday's Home Opener...

After the loss of the Triple-A Ottawa Lynx and the Can-Am League's Ottawa Rapidz, the stage is set for the return of baseball to the nation's capital, as the Intercounty Baseball League's Ottawa Fat Cats take on the Mississauga Twins in their home opener on Saturday, May 15 at 7pm. It is the first of three games this weekend at Ottawa Stadium, as the teams will play a double-header on Sunday, beginning at 1pm.

The Fat Cats made their Intercounty League debut last Sunday in Hamilton after the Saturday game in Guelph was postponed due to rain. The Fat Cats started the season on a winning note, picking up a 4-3 win over the Thunderbirds; Joel Richard picked up the win in relief of starter Mike Lynch and Tyler Durward recorded the save. Lynch went 4 innings, allowing 3 hits and 2 earned runs, while striking out 3 Thunderbird batters. Richard allowed only one hit in his 2 innings of work, Durward pitched the eighth and ninth for the save, allowing one run on 3 hits.

With the score at 2-1 for Hamilton after one inning, the scoreboard did not change until the top of the seventh when the Ottawa bats came alive, scoring 3 runs to take the lead. Marshall MacDonald and Jonathan Dale powered the offence with both batters working the Hamilton pitching staff for 2 walks and a double in the game; both would score on the day as well. Showing an astute eye at the plate, infielder Chris Latimer walked 3 times, coming home to score once, while fellow infielder, Cody Mombourquette, drove in what proved to be the winning run for his first RBI of the season.

The 2010 season is still in its early stages and the Mississauga Twins will be looking to get their schedule underway after their home opener versus Hamilton was rained out last Saturday. The Twins will be looking to improve on their 9-27 win/loss record in 2009, which left them 17 games out of first place at season’s end. The Ottawa pitchers will have to look out for Twins outfielder Branson Joseph; he led the team last year with 9 doubles while playing in only 29 games. Mississauga’s pitching staff was third in the league with 252 strikeouts but they could be wild at times as well, walking a league high 181 batters; their team ERA was also on the high side at 7.20, ahead of only the Kitchener Panthers.

While the Twins will be looking to start the season off on a winning note, the Fat Cats are playing in front of the home crowd for the first time and will be looking to impress Ottawa’s baseball fans as they look to solidify their place on the local sports scene. Patience at the plate will be the key for the Fat Cats; perhaps the Twins will be on the wild side again this year. Ottawa’s pitchers will have to be wary of Joseph’s knack for hitting doubles in with the stadium’s large outfield (404 ft. to centre, 325 ft. in right and left field, and 380 ft. in the alleys).

The time has come, the planning is complete, and Ottawa’s newest franchise takes to the field this weekend. Show your support for the Fat Cats and show your pride as citizens of Ottawa by coming out in large numbers for the opening weekend (and all the home games of course!). Tickets are $12 for single games, $18 for double-headers and there are various discounts available to the public - check the Fat Cats website for details.

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