Late season walk-off grand slam

Photo Credit: Ryann Kahler Photo Credit: Ryann Kahler

Julian Labanda-Armstrong


Rain delayed the game the Humber Hawks and Fanshawe Falcons baseball teams each desperately needed to win.

It’s October and that’s the “witching hour” for baseball, where playoff positions start to take shape.

The 30-minute pause provided by nature, however, only ramped up the tension as both the Hawks, hovering in four place in the OCAA at 4-and-5, and the Falcons, third with a 5-and-4 record, unsheathed their talons in hopes of a win.

The Falcons, who were riding a six-game winning streak, started strong in the Oct. 1 game and drew first blood with a run in the second inning. The London team looked as if it were going to make quick work of the Hawks.

Humber responded in the bottom of the second with pitcher Tyler Greenwood striking out the side, three up and three down, before eventually prevailing in an 11-9 victory

The bottom of the third marked the point when the Hawks countered by scoring four runs.

Outfielder Kenneth Hahnfield started the rally and slammed a double into centre field allowing Aaron Arbic-Cohen, who walked earlier, to score.

Mitchell Wilbur was next into the batter’s box, hitting a screamer down the middle bringing Hahnfield home.

Keegan Murphy stepped up and hit one strongly into right field to bring Wilbur home.

The final run of the inning came at the hands of Brandon Costa, who escorted Murphy home with another timely hit.

The inning ended with Humber leading 4-1.

The Falcons, however, showed why they’ve been on a six-game winning streak by batting in six runs in the fifth putting them back in the lead and regaining momentum.

The sixth inning had Humber down a run down with Falcons head coach Brian Harvey keeping his foot on the pedal. He could be heard from the stands chanting: “One more run and this game is ours.”

That message registered as the Falcons scored two more runs.

The tension of October loomed over Hawks outfielder Andrew Thompson as he dug into the batter’s box with the bags juiced. He had the chance to end the game with one swing of the bat.

Thompson didn’t disappoint, hitting a fastball over the fence for a grand slam bringing Daniel Cirillo, Brendon Lyons, Arbic-Cohen and himself a ticket home and a final score of 11-9.

Thompson was named player of the game.

“It felt good, I’ve been struggling along with the team so it felt great to get my teammates involved in that play with us all scoring,” Thompson said. “The bases were loaded for us, we were down by two and needed a play so I just stayed patient until the right time.”

“We were really bad,” Humber Hawks Head Coach Denny Berni said. “But we stayed positive, we never hit the panic button because we know we’re a good team we just needed to put it all together.”

Harvey said October brings a lot of surprises.

“Both teams made a lot of errors, the weather conditions are very cold, but it’s October baseball,” he said. “We gave up too many runs and it came down to a good play on their part.”

He plans to bolster his pitching rotation by dropping in another southpaw.

“It’ll be good to see how we respond a game down. Humber’s a great team,” Harvey said.