Ottawa drops 3, takes one from Majors on weekend expedition

Fans showed up in numbers to the Ottawa/London game on Canada Day (photo courtesy Lori and Wayne Brown)

Things don’t always go the way that you plan them to. Unfortunately, that’s what happened during this past Fat Cats road trip.

Not sure if you guys have noticed, but I’ve made an attempt to be more positive about things so far this year unless there’s something blaring. That being said, sometimes I can’t find an excuse when the Cats drop a couple games.

I’d like to just blame it on the schedule, but I’m not sure that I can due to the performance of the team last time they were presented with a card like this. What I can say is that a team will never be at their best when you’re playing your second game of the day in a different city.

In Guelph on Saturday, that’s exactly what happened.

Now, that doesn’t mean that the Fat Cats played a bad ball game. In fact, I think they would’ve won it had it not been for a solo shot in the 8th inning from Sean Reilly. Just goes to show you how dangerous that Guelph team can be if you give them the opportunity. Lots and lots of star power, including the best offensive player in the IBL, Frankie Hare.

We out hit the Royals – Dietrich, Hayes and Coker with 2 hits each, plus 4 other hits from guys who played in a supporting role in the Guelph effort, compared to the Royals’ 7 hits in total off Matt Hummel.

Unfortunately, it’s harder to praise the Fat Cats’ efforts during their visit to Nelson Park in Burlington a few hours prior. I’m not going to hover on this game too much because I really just see it as a hiccup, but I have to get my nose in on a couple things.

More than 20 men on base in one game. Let’s be real for a second, you’re not going to win a ball game with numbers like that. The Twins probably had a bit of a jump in their step after getting swept and screwed over by the toss-happy umpires at Ottawa Stadium, but it’s rare that you see more than 20 men on base in one game.

There were also 4 errors by the Fat Cats fielders in the game.

I get the feeling that the Twins have a bit more of a home field advantage at Nelson Park. Those small parks (Nelson Park, Christie Pits) are tough on the opposition. I’ve heard that playing in Toronto is like playing on cement. Still though, you can’t win ball games stats like the Cats posted in Burlington.

However, it wasn’t all negative for the Fat Cats in Burlington. Eitan Maoz had a 4 RBI performance, including a home run. In fact, Kevin Dietrich sent a round tripper over the Brantford fence on Friday night—I sense a developing pattern here! Looks like the Fat Cats are getting some power in at the dish. We’re still well behind most of the teams in the HR count as that’s not our game, but it’s good to park one every now and then.

The Fat Cats had the pleasure of playing in front of 2,500 fans this weekend, but for once it wasn’t at Ottawa Stadium. I guess Labatt Park is the place to be in London on Canada Day.

It’s a shame that people don’t go out to ball games in London. Both the Majors and the London Rippers average below 1,000 people per game, which is not good for a city of London’s size. The potential for big crowds is obviously there as we saw on Canada Day, so you have to wonder why those people aren’t going out to games on a regular basis. It’s the summer; people aren’t up to their necks in things to do. Anyways, I’m off-topic—back to the Fat Cats trip.

London was one of the better efforts that I’ve seen from the Fat Cats pitching staff this year. Soffer and Huffman were absolutely outstanding.

Both men pitched just over 4 innings, combining for 13 strikeouts and 1 earned run on just 6 hits against.

I remember earlier in the season when Soffer had a bit of a slow start, but not many people doubted that he’d make a bang in the coming weeks and months. He’s done just that, bringing his ERA down from around 9 at the start of the season all the way to 3.71. Good on him and it’s another positive sign going into the playoffs. This team falls apart without good pitching, so I’m happy to see that most of the arms are there. Hopefully Gov can make his way back onto the mound soon, as he was slated to return around now.

This weekend, the Fat Cats return home for the 2nd last homestand of the regular season against London. It’ll be interesting to see how the Majors respond to being back in Ottawa after having their season end in the same stadium last year. Their loss total against the Fat Cats this year also could play a part in how they deal with the Fat Cats.

I’m also eager to see the reception for Cleveland Brownlee. The Fat Cats’ facebook page certainly hasn’t forgotten about last year’s events:

Fans be sure to join us this Saturday at 7:05pm when we welcome back CLEVELAND BROWNLEE and the London Majors to town. Also, Journey to Boston will be performing live starting at 5:30pm!

I’m sure he’ll get an earful from us Fat Cats fans.

Another thing that I’m fairly concerned about is the conditions of the field. I know that it wasn’t perfect for the Burlington series and now that Escapade has torn through it, I’m wondering what state it’ll be in. The NCBL had to cancel their games on Monday due to “very poor field conditions”.

Now, I’m guessing that the Fat Cats will be working on the field all week, but even then it’s been very dry out since the festival ended and is forecasted to stay that way for the rest of the week. It’ll be hard to get the grounds back into tip-top shape for the London series, but we can all hope! I’ll post a picture of the field on Twitter before the Saturday game.

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