BY DAN MCNEE
LISTOWEL – The Listowel Legionnaires’ senior baseball regular season is officially underway.
After having its first two road games postponed, Listowel (1-1) welcomed the St. Thomas Cardinals (1-1) to John Bell Diamond last Friday night in Thames Valley Senior Baseball League (TVSBL) action. With temperatures hovering just above the zero mark, the Cardinals had a little more pop in their bats, beating the Legionnaires 8-3. Listowel then traveled to Mitchell on Sunday, beating the Astros 4-3 for its first win of the 2013 campaign.
“They were tentative on Friday,” said manager Larry Brooks of his Legionnaires on Monday. “They played more like a team yesterday. We’re going to be fine.
“We’ll be right there at the top of the league.”
Nate Arand (0-1) received the starting pitcher assignment versus St. Thomas, giving up three earned runs over five innings. He struck out five and walked seven, with two of the Cardinal runs scoring in the first inning on passed balls.
St. Thomas held the Legionnaires off the scoreboard until the seventh when Listowel showed signs of life. Former London Baron Steve Palmer picked up a bases loaded infield single to get the home team on the board. Jason Schwartzentruber followed suit with an RBI single of his own. Second baseman Cody Newbigging then walked in Listowel’s final run.
Palmer also showed his skill on the mound in his Listowel debut, relieving Arand in the sixth inning to close out the game. The London native struck out three and allowed three hits for one earned run over four innings.
“I left good once I got going,” said Palmer, adding that the cold was a problem for him and his teammates throughout the game. “I got the arm loose and got it warm and then I was okay.
“I think the cold was more of an issue with the bats; we couldn’t really get anything going.”
Jordan Satchell picked up the win for St. Thomas, giving up only seven hits and striking out 11 over eight innings.
Sunday’s game pitted the 2012 OBA senior ‘B’ champion Legionnaires against the defending TVSBL champion Astros (0-2) in Mitchell.
Danny McGlynn got the start for Listowel, striking out two and walking four. McGlynn only allowed four hits over his 6 1/3 innings of work.
See LEGIONNAIRES, page 20
A few players made their first start of the year for Listowel and immediately made an impact. Outfielder Julio Guzman returned to the lineup to lead the offensive charge, going three for four with two doubles and also stole two bases. Catcher Dave Brooks added two singles, and third baseman Dave Smith batted in two runs with a double and a single.
Pat Kelly (1-0) ultimately picked up the win for Listowel after they pulled ahead of Mitchell for good in the seventh inning, going 2.2 innings with a strikeout and four walks.
Brooks said that he has every confidence in his team going forward, and that they will still try to plug a couple lineup holes as the season progresses, including finding a full-time catcher if possible.
“We’re always looking,” he said.
The Legionnaires return home to face the currently undefeated Oakridge Reds (4-0) at John Bell on June 7 at 8 p.m. The London Giants (0-2) will come to town two days later on June 9 for a matinee matchup, with first pitch at 2 p.m.