Baseball: Stingers Take Game 1 of CCBA North Division Final

Stingers’ Anthony Marandola Provides Heroics in Extra Innings

Stingers outfielder Daniel Thaw makes his way to first base during the Stingers 5-3 win over the McGill Redmen on Saturday, Oct. 18. Photo Shaun Michaud

The Concordia Stingers’ baseball team managed to take an early advantage in their conference final versus the McGill Redmen with a 5-3 victory in extra innings this past Saturday afternoon.

First baseman Anthony Marandola hit a two-run blast in the top of the ninth over the right field fence, giving the Stingers the lead, and ultimately a series-opening victory.

“Fastball right down the middle,” said Marandola, describing his game-winning homerun. “It was perfect.”

“I was looking fastball all the way.”

Stingers pitcher Brandon Berkovits, who came on in relief of starting pitcher Alex Kechayan, pitched 3 ⅓ innings for the win. Closer Andre Lagarde came on in the bottom of the ninth to earn a save and preserve the win.

Kechayan pitched 4 ⅔ innings, striking out three batters before being pulled in the fifth inning with the score tied 3-3.

Stingers infielder Matthew Litwin stands on base during his team’s 5-3 win over the McGill Redmen on Saturday, Oct. 18. Photo Shaun Michaud.

The starter had given up a run in the first inning, putting the Stingers down one to start, but eventually settled down, baffling his opponents with his curveballs.

“It was an idea that my catcher had,” said Kechayan. “He saw that I was throwing the curveball for strikes, we figured they weren’t going to swing at it and it opened the rest of the door for the at-bat for us to play around with.”

While Kechayan was holding the fort, the Stingers bats came alive with three runs in the third to pull ahead, forcing McGill to pull their starting pitcher Ryan Kramer out of the game.

However, the Redmen responded with two more runs in the fourth inning, chasing Kechayan from the game and bringing Berkovits in as a relief pitcher. A pitcher’s duel emerged as Berkovits and McGill relief pitcher Landen Moore, throwing strikeouts and ensuring the game would go to extra innings.

The defense, though, was not to be outdone, as Concordia center fielder Andre Lagarde, made a stunning over-the-shoulder catch to preserve the tie in the seventh inning. The Stingers would also turn a double play to end the inning, initiated by Marandola, who would come up huge in the ninth inning later in the game.

Following Marandola’s homerun, closer Lagarde managed to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom ninth, giving the Stingers the victory and the early series lead.

The Stingers will play Game 2 against McGill at Trudeau Park in Côte Saint-Luc at 12 p.m. and Game 3, if necessary, right after Game 2.