by Sam Aucoin

BARRIE – This stretch of Barrie Baycats baseball has certainly been fun to watch. Six wins in a row dating back to June tenth. With some big games up ahead, the Baycats have their work cut out for them. But with the team riding a high right now let's dive into how they have been so successful lately. 

Recent Offensive Surge

This offense has been blazing hot recently. Averaging nine runs per game on this streak including three games where they scored ten or more times. A big part of this has been the top of the order. Noel McGarry-Doyle, Canice Ejoh, Starlin Rodriguez, and Ryan Rijo are a combined 33/95 with nine extra-base hits, 29 RBIs, 30 runs scored, 16 walks, and 13 stolen bases.

McGarry-Doyle: 8-28, 6 R, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 5 SB

Ejoh: 9-27, 11 R, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 4 SB, 2 2B

Rodriguez: 7-23, HR, 7 R, 4 RBI, 5 BB, 4 SB, 2 2B

Rijo: 9-17, 4 HR, 6 R, 16 RBI, 5 BB

Via: Pointstreak

The bats have kept the club in some of these games where the pitching has had its struggles or in close games where they need to keep scoring to take the stress off their arms. Last Saturday’s game against the Brantford Red Sox was a prime example. Barrie was down 7-0 early but rallied back to win in extra innings. 

When they are on, they are on. Especially in the last game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Baycats managed 15 runs against Toronto with a couple of big innings. This came after a huge 10-2 win in Guelph where we saw contributions from up and down the lineup and a couple of four-run innings.

“We have such a young talented team,” said Baycats designated hitter Ryan Rijo. “When we're on, we're on.” “The win streak is nice but the fact that we’re actually playing good baseball every game, it makes it exciting to come to the ballpark,” added Manager Josh Matlow. 

Starting Pitching

This Baycats pitching staff is not leading the IBL in ERA for nothing. They continue to keep their team in the game. This could be said for every one of these past six games. Even in the Brantford game, after the bullpen took over, Adam Khan pitched five innings, allowing zero earned runs and giving way for the bats to get Barrie back in the game.

How about last Sunday in London where Frank Garcés tossed seven shutout innings with a perfect game through six of them. Or Jeifry Nunez who faced two very good lineups against the Cardinals and Maple Leafs. He allowed a combined three earned runs across those starts in ten innings of work. 

“He throws it hard [and] he wants to pitch,” said Matlow referring to Nunez. The Baycats Manager also mentioned that the team would like to extend Jeifry a little bit more in his starts to save some bullpen arms. 

Another bright spot for the pitching is that they have prevented the big inning. Apart from the game against the Red Sox, in a total of 45 innings pitched, there have been a total of two innings where the opposition has scored more than two runs. In fact, there have been just four innings where more than one run crossed. 

The Ability To Close Out Games

Thanks to the recent surge from the sticks, the Baycats haven’t been put in too many pressure situations. But when they have, they have been good. That is in large part due to the bullpen turning things around. Earlier on in the season, a couple of big wins were missed out on because of blown leads. 

Take the Father's Day game against the Majors for example. It was 5-0 Baycats heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. Unfortunately, Evan Soules and Brandon Hillier, who were brought in to relieve Frank Garcés, didn’t have their A-stuff that day and gave up four runs. The good news is, Brad Grieveson did and he stopped the bleeding securing the win. The bullpen arms pick each other up when one or two have bad outings. 

Clubhouse Vibes

One of the biggest signs of a good team is having fun. When players are not having fun, it usually means the team is not doing well. Whether it's taking part in the tropical night last Thursday at the ballpark or having bat flip competitions, this team certainly knows how to make fun out of almost any situation you put them in. 

“Vibes are high [and] we’re just having fun,” said Rijo. “When we’re worried about the little things and stressing, that's what does us”. 

What Is Next?

Well, the schedule doesn’t get any easier as the next five games are against Toronto, Welland, and Kitchener. Those are three teams that are fighting for the top spot and won’t be an easy matchup by any means. It starts tonight in Welland, game time is at 6:05 pm from Welland Stadium. If you are making the trip down to the pond, tickets can be bought here.

Credit the Baycats TV crew for the interviews (Sam Aucoin, Julius Hern, Kendra Doyle, Dylan Quinn, and Patrick Melbourne).