Panthers Late Rally Spoils Royals Opener

by Jake Eagle

GUELPH – The Kitchener Panthers rallied back from down 4-2 with three outs to play in the top of the ninth to hand the Guelph Royals their third consecutive home opener loss 5-4 in front of a packed house Saturday afternoon at David E Hastings Stadium.

An estimated crowd of over 600 helped kick off the Royals 2019 campaign and the Intercounty Baseball League's 101st season. The Panthers benefited from back to back walks to start the top of the ninth inning off reliever Edwin Javier before he was replaced by Brett Lawson.

Mike Andrullis loaded the bases with an infield bunt single off Lawson before singles by Collin Gordner (2 RBIs) and Tanner Nivins drove home the tying and go-ahead runs. Lawson (0-1) took the loss, giving up a run on three hits. He notched a strikeout.

Andrullis finished game 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI. Mike Gordner singled and doubled, and Stephen Whalen scored twice. Mike Schnurr (1-0) allowed one hit over two scoreless innings of relief for the win not before Jeff MacLeod came within a few feet of tying the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as he blasted a well-hit ball into the wind in right field which hit the top of the fence and stayed in the park as he settled for a double.

Jasvir Rakkar started and went four innings, giving up two hits and an unearned run while striking out five without issuing a walk. Sean Reilly drove in two of the Royals' runs. Ethan Mohan had an RBI and scored once, while Darius Barlas added a double and scored. Fernando Fernandez-Beltran started for the Royals pitching a solid five innings in his IBL debut, allowing five hits and two runs with a walk and six strikeouts.

The Royals will look to spoil the Panthers home opener Sunday afternoon at Jack Couch Park in Kitchener. Game Time is set for 2 pm The Royals return home next Saturday, May 18th when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at 1:00 pm on Superhero Party Day at Hastings Stadium.

- Neil Srivastava