Baycats Not Taking Red Sox for Granted Ahead of Quarterfinal Series

by Ryan Eakin

BARRIE - By winning the pennant on Tuesday evening, the Barrie Baycats secured home-field advantage throughout the entire 2019 Intercounty Baseball League playoffs.

They also managed to avoid the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team playing their best baseball of the season heading into the postseason.

But their quarterfinal series opponent -- the Brantford Red Sox -- still present challenges.

A far cry from what they used to be, the Red Sox have had a trying season.

They won their first game of the season -- largely with a roster made up of junior callups -- only to endure a twenty-plus game losing streak following their opening day win in Toronto.

They would end up firing manager Kevin Hussey before finally turning the corner -- somewhat -- post roster deadline in late June.

But they have played the Baycats tough all season long, and have an excellent starting rotation led by Edison Frias, who -- if he was on any other team -- would be getting talked about a lot more than he has this season.

Their offence has had issues all season long, but Nic Burdet is a true power bat in this league, and their shortstop -- Gianfranco Morrello -- ended the regular-season on an absolute tear.

Baycats general and field manager Angus Roy said his team has to take the Red Sox seriously.

"They have a couple of really good starting arms," said Roy. "And they have nothing to lose. Not one person that knows anything about this league will pick them to win this series.

"They got absolutely nothing to lose, so they will be playing loose. They have absolutely no pressure on them. 

"But as I have always said -- and what we have always talked about -- it'd about what we do. It's about us, our at-bats, our pitchers attacking the strike zone and making the plays defensively that we need to make.

"If we do that we're going to be very tough to beat in a seven-game series."

For Roy, he believes getting to the Red Sox depleted bullpen will be the key to this series.

"You gotta get into their bullpen," said Roy. "Their starting pitching is good with Frias and (Abel) De Los Santos, plus that lefty (Michael Bannon) has pitched really well against us too. 

"But yeah, you gotta get into their bullpen. If you look at it, they've been using predominantly three guys kind of like we have, so if you get into their bullpen, their bullpen hasn't been as efficient as they would have liked it to be, so it's going to be a starting pitching series like most playoff series usually are."

For Roy though, he isn't taking this series for granted and noted that for as bad as the Red Sox have played this season, they've brought their best in almost every game against the Baycats this season.

"For whatever reason, they play really well against us," said Roy. "They beat us once up here and they had the lead for most of the game last Thursday. Even last Tuesday they were in it for most of the game.

"So for whatever reason, they play really good baseball against us, but I really believe that until someone beats us four times in seven games that our best is going to be better than anyone else's best."

Game one of the Baycats' quarterfinal series against the Brantford Red Sox will start this evening in Midhurst, with game two being in Midhurst as well on Saturday night.

Emilis Guerrero will take the mound in game one, and will be followed by Matthew St. Kitts in game two.

Salcedo will return to the mound for game three when the series shifts to Brantford.