by Sam Aucoin

KITCHENER – Series clincher

The Barrie Baycats have swept the Kitchener Panthers and will play in the IBL finals for the first time since 2019, a year they extended their championship streak to six. In game three, an 8-4 Barrie victory, the Baycats hit a pair of home runs behind some great pitching that kept Kitchener’s offense quiet.

Canice Ejoh, who was just one for nine in the series coming into tonight’s game, smoked a grand slam in the second inning to get his team going. Ejoh finished the game going two for four with two runs scored and four RBI. Barrie’s second home run came off the bat of, who else, but Ryan Rijo. Rijo ended his semi-final tries with three big flies and six RBI.

With that offense, Kitchener starter Christian Hauch suffered his second postseason loss of 2023. Hauch tossed six innings, allowing six earned runs. On the other side, Jeifry Nunez, who started for the Baycats, earned his second win of the playoffs, throwing six innings and surrendering four earned runs. Evan Soules closed out the game by pitching the final three innings, picking up his first save in the IBL.

Hayden Jaco came up with a big two-run double in the seventh inning, taking some pressure off Soules, who was about to come into the game. The ever-dangerous Liam Wilson tacked on another home run against the Baycats, and Keegan Marsden did the same, a moonshot to right field. Marcel Lacasse and Yunior Ibarra also drove in runs for the Panthers.

NEXT UP: The Baycats will wait for the winner of Welland and Toronto to find out who they will be playing in the finals. The Jackfish currently have a 2-1 series lead with game four happening Wednesday night in Toronto. No schedule has been announced just yet. Stay tuned to the Baycats' social media accounts and for updates.