by Sam Aucoin

BARRIE – An even record means a fresh start for the Barrie Baycats as they will battle the Welland Jackfish tonight for the first time this season. Barrie, after winning two straight against Guelph, fell to Kitchener on Sunday to even out their record at 4-4. The Jackfish have won six games in a row and sit tied with Toronto for first place.

Lineup And Starting Pitcher

The outfield trio is back together with the return of Starlin Rodriguez. After getting hit on the hand one week ago, Rodriguez is back in the lineup in right field. He will hit behind Noel McGarry-Doyle and Canice Ejoh with Ryan Rijo rounding out the top 4. Josh Tibbits also makes his way back in at first base with Adam Odd going to second. 

Victor Plaz and Carson Burns will make up the left side of the infield. Josh Cote – the team leader in doubles (three) – will make his second straight start behind the plate. The top five hitters in the Baycats lineup are combining to hit .323 with four home runs and 23 RBIs. This is with Rodriguez, McGarry-Doyle, and Ejoh missing time due to either injuries or coming to the team late. 

The 2023 debut of starter Frank Garcés will be tonight. Last season with the Baycats, Garcés pitched to a 3.48 ERA in 5 games during the regular season. Frank also punched out 11 batters in eight innings in his only postseason start against the Maple Leafs last fall. Here is a look at the full Baycats Starting Lineup.

Players To Look Out For

Starlin Rodriguez: Back in the lineup and back on the players-to-watch list. It is hard not to have Rodriguez on this list because he produces when he is featured. Walking three times more than striking out is also pretty cool to see even in a small sample size. Barrie’s home run leader will have a big impact tonight against Welland.

Josh Cote: Recording a hit in every game he has played this season so far, Josh Cote has impressed behind the plate. The 19-year-old catcher connected on his first home run of the season in Kitchener and is second on the team in RBIs with seven.

Victor Plaz: Earning a spot in the lineup for the third straight game, Victor Plaz is 5/8 in his last two starts with a triple and two runs scored. Plaz, in his first season in the IBL, has been a great fit recently for Barrie playing at the corner infield positions. 

Game and Broadcast Information 

Tonight’s first pitch from Vintage Throne Stadium is scheduled for 7:35 pm. Get your tickets here. For any fans still concerned about the air quality, make sure to tune into Baycats TV Featuring Ben Davy and Julius Hern. Enjoy the game.