SCARBOROUGH, Ont. — Liam Oates delivered a walk-off single to propel the Centennial Colts to a narrow 3-2 win over the Durham Lords in the opening game of a double-header on Saturday afternoon at Neilson Park.
Colts’ starter Takehito Mori tossed seven innings and gave up two runs on the afternoon. Infielder Liam Oates finished with two singles and a hit-by-pitch, including the walk-off swing. Outfielder Kevin Akiyama finished with a triple and a strikeout.
Lords’ starter Johnny Halls pitched six innings and gave up one run. Outfielder Cole Cote hit his team leading third home run in the game to give Durham a late lead.
Both teams were held scoreless through three innings despite a handful of hits and baserunners for the two teams.
The Colts (7-8) found themselves in a familiar situation in the fourth inning with runners on the base paths after catcher Luke Ciavoliello advanced to second on a passed ball by the Lords’ catcher, before infielder Aethan Ballen laid down a text-book bunt to put runners on the corners for Colts’ Cameron James.
The centre-fielder got the crowd on their feet for the second time on the afternoon after having made an impressive catch in the outfield in the top of the third inning. He delivered a clutch RBI on a fielder’s choice double-play ball to score Ciavoliello from third and give the Colts a 1-0 lead.
Durham storm back
The lead wouldn’t last long after the Lords (11-3) quickly loaded the bases in the top of the fifth after a couple singles, a throwing error, and an intentional walk of Cote.
Mori got a big strikeout of Durham’s Griffin McMillan before trading a run for an out when third baseman Jacob Mahoney tied the game on a fielder’s choice double-play. That would bring Nick King to the plate who hit a loud flyout to deep left field, limiting the Lords to just one run in the half-inning to tie the game at one.
The Colts’ starter returned to the mound for the seventh inning and got a quick flyout of Ryan Mattes before being greeted at the plate by Cote. After being intentionally walked in the fourth inning, Cote crushed his third of the season – a solo shot to deep left field – to give the Lords a late 2-1 lead.
Colts seal deal
Durham made a pitching change in the bottom of the seventh, bringing in King for Halls who tossed six-innings of one-run baseball.
Colts’ Riley Briggs hit a single to put some pressure on the Lords, but it was the big bat of Akiyama who brought fans to their feet. He crushed a long triple to score Briggs from first, bringing Oates to the plate with the winning run just 90-feet away.
Oates would come through with a clutch single to right-centre field to score Akiyama and give the Colts a 3-2 walk-off win.