St. Kitts Flirts with History in Blowout Win over Red Sox

by Ryan Eakin

BARRIE - Since their championship streak began in 2014, the Barrie Baycats have had many great starting pitchers take the hill for them.

Southpaws Frank Garces and Adam Rowe, and right-handers Emilis Guerrero and Santos Arias just to name a few.

But on any given night, if you wanted the chance to witness absolute greatness on the mound, Baycats game two starter Matthew St. Kitts has always been the guy to watch.

Every time he takes the mound the Pickering, Ontario native has the ability to throw a memorable pitching performance.

Coming into tonight, his most memorable performance came near the end of the 2016 regular-season, where he threw seven and two-thirds of an inning while striking out sixteen batters against the Brantford Red Sox.

He had a no-hitter coming into the seventh inning that night.

But tonight's performance tops the list for St. Kitts.

A no-hitter with four outs to go, St. Kitts thought he had struck out Red Sox Austin Wilke looking to end the eighth inning.

But the home plate umpire called it a ball, and Wilke hit the next pitch for a single up the middle.

"A little bit," said St. Kitts when asked postgame if that base hit was a kick in the stomach. "It was a borderline pitch that I would have liked to have had go my way but it is what it is."

With the game being out of reach early for the second game in a row -- the Baycats led 8-0 after three innings -- the only focus was on whether or not St. Kitts was going to be able to complete the no-hitter.

He said he didn't think about it until later in the game.

"Honestly man, I didn't really start to think about it until after the seventh inning. 

"That's when I actually said to myself 'alright, let's actually try and push for this.' 

St. Kitts said pitching for a no-hitter didn't really change his approach at all.

He said it was his effort level that changed rather than his approach.

"At that point, being so deep into it, I was just trying to put max effort into every pitch," said St. Kitts. "Sometimes you might take a pitch or two off, but every pitch I was just zoned in and focused."

Having not pitched much at all this season due to the birth of his daughter, one might think on the surface that it might negatively affect St. Kitts' performance. 

He said it has actually benefited him.

"I have been doing my work on the side, at home, to just make the best of what I can.

"I had a little bit of arm pain in my last start but it seems like that has gone away and now I'm back feeling good.

"But I'm not really not surprised with how I've pitched, because like I said, I have been putting in the work. 

"I actually think throwing less innings made me a better pitcher, because I had to throw more off-speed (pitches) and locate it better instead of relying on the heater as my arm wasn’t as in shape as normal."

As for his offence that has put up twenty-two runs in the first two games of this quarterfinal series, St. Kitts said he couldn't be more impressed with the offence.

"The offence just makes it that much easier," said St. Kitts. 

"I owe it to them because they make my job so much easier by allowing me to just focus on doing what I need to do."

Game three of the Baycats' quarterfinal series against the Red Sox will take place tomorrow evening in Brantford.

Adrian Sacledo will take the mound for the Baycats.

Please note that game five (if needed) will now take place Wednesday evening in Midhurst instead of Thursday evening.

The rest of our home schedule for the first round remains intact.

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Brian Backland/Brian Backland Photography