The Niagara Metros got their sluggish offense in high gear on Saturday, piling up 27 hits in total, as they went into FCCC Park in Brampton and swept a pair of games from the young Royals. The final scores were 11-4 and 10-7. The Metros blasted a HR and 9 doubles in the 2-game set to move to 4-1 on the season.
In game 1, the visitors erupted for 7 runs in the first inning (as they sent 11 men to the plate) and coasted home from there…an 11-4 final. Newcomer Wil Nicholson led the way in the opener, as he collected 3 hits and a walk, along with an RBI, in his 4 AB’s. Chris Anderi doubled and singled, and added an RBI-Sac Fly, while Jonathan Paul crushed a 3-run HR and added an RBI-groundout. Dave Davidson singled twice and added an RBI, while Anthony Vacca clubbed a 2-run double. Jono Marcheterre added a double, and Taylor Anderson added an RBI-single. Chris Pickles and Andrew Sorochan rounded out the offense with singles, while Evan Baglieri chipped in with an RBI-Sac Fly and a pair of walks. Vic Speciale doubled and singled to lead the Royals. The beneficiary of all the offense was starting pitcher Dan Veres, who went 5 innings to pick up his first win, in his first start. Veres allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 2. Lukas Burch and AJ Clark finished up with an inning each. Burch allowed 0 runs on a hit and a walk, striking out 1. Clark allowed a run on 2 hits while striking out 1. Starter Kevin Lagerquist took the loss for Brampton.
Game 2 was a different story, as the Metros had to battle their way to victory against the upstart Royals. Niagara scored 5 in the 3rd, and 3 in the 4th to take an 8-2 lead, but Brampton scored 5 times in the bottom of the 4th, to make it 8-7. It stayed that way until the 7th, when Niagara added a pair of runs to make the final 10-7. Chris Anderi had a “career game” for the Metros, as he collected 3 singles and a double to drive in a pair of runs…leading the team’s 14-hit assault. Jonathan Paul had yet another big game, as he drove in two more runs with a pair of doubles and a Sac Fly. JP collected 6 RBI’s in the doubleheader. Anthony Vacca and Jono Marcheterre doubled and singled, with Vacca driving in a pair and Marcheterre adding an RBI, as well. Evan Baglieri doubled, while Taylor Anderson added a single and 2 RBI’s. Dave Davidson (RBI) and Chris Pickles rounded out the offense with singles. Brandon Cole had 3 hits to lead Brampton. Metros’ starting pitcher Justin Ayles bent, but didn’t break, as he earned his first win of the year. Ayles allowed 7 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 2. Noah Anderson and Paul McKenna finished up for the Metros, with McKenna earning the save. Anderson allowed a single while striking out 1, and McKenna allowed a pair of walks and also struck out 1. Royals’ starter Steve Hough took the loss.
As mentioned, Niagara moved to 4-1 on the season, to open up a 1-game lead over the Oakville A’s in the Johnson Division. Brampton dropped to 1-5. Speaking of Oakville, they will provide the opposition in the Metros’ next game. The A’s come to George Taylor Field on Thursday, for a 7:30 start – before the Metros return home on Saturday, to host the Andrews Division-leading Etobicoke Rangers. First pitch in that one is set for 12:00 noon.