Redbirds 12, Stingers 9: Late-game momentum not enough for Concordia comeback

Redbirds built up too large of a lead for the Stingers to battle back

Redbirds left-fielder Jonas Press faces off against Stingers pitcher Connor Melanson. Photo Conor Tomalty

The Concordia Stingers baseball team’s Gary Carter field comeback fell flat in their 12-9 loss to the McGill Redbirds on Sept. 20.

The Redbirds outhit the Stingers by a total of 16 hits to six. If it were not for Concordia’s ability to draw walks and score small ball runs, the game would not have been as close as it was. 

In the past few weeks, Redbirds’ head coach Chris Haddad has highlighted the importance of getting better at-bats, which he admits his team did against Concordia that night. “It’s mostly just limiting walks and making sure our pitchers throw less pitches. That’ll keep us in games longer,” Haddad added.  

Stingers’ starting pitcher Connor Melanson found himself in hot water during the second inning. After two men reached first base on a walk and a hit by pitch, Redbirds third baseman Alastair Mitchell drove home the game’s first run with a single. The jolt off the bat sparked McGill’s offence with three additional runs crossing home plate in the frame.

Redbirds’ starting pitcher Caden Welch sang a different tune. He threw four innings of two-run ball (a third run scored on an error) with five strikeouts. Welch’s team stayed hot, erasing the three runs scored by the Stingers with three of their own in the second and third innings, bringing the game to 7-3 heading into the fourth inning.  

“Second inning, I threw a couple balls and then settled in after that,” said Welch post-game. “I was able to strike out the side. That brought the momentum on our side after the big first inning for [scoring] runs for us too.” 

Both teams’ offences continued to mirror one another. The Redbirds plated five runs in the top of the sixth inning, emphasized by a bases-clearing double by right-fielder Sacha Remillard. The Stingers responded by drawing walks, scratching and clawing their way back with four runs in the bottom half of the frame. Heading into the final inning, McGill held a 12-7 lead.

Concordia had seemingly rattled McGill pitcher Nathaniel Factor, taking advantage of his sub-par control, getting him to balk and plating two additional runs after loading the bases. It was all for naught, however, as Factor got his own, striking out Stingers’ first baseman Nicholas O’Connor to end the game.

“We’re not losing to the other teams. We’re not playing well enough to win,” said Stingers’ head coach Howard Schwartz when asked about his team’s performance. Mental errors made by a young team were the main issue in the defeat according to Schwartz, “But the thing is, it’s more frustrating for me because we should be winning these ball games. There [have been] four games in the loss column that should have been wins,” he added. 

Schwartz and the Stingers will rematch McGill on Thursday, Sept. 21, in a make-up game from a previously postponed matchup. The first pitch at Gary Carter Field is set for 7:30 p.m.