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September 20, 2021
Photo by Crystal Young Photography

By Darryl G. Smart

As Matt McGovern and his Brantford Red Sox watched on as the London Majors celebrated Saturday night at Arnold Anderson Stadium, they did it with their heads held very high because of what they’ve been able to build.

Stability and a family atmosphere that includes winning.

On Saturday in Game 2 the Majors got a spectacular pitching performance from Owen Boon, who struck out 16 batters in a complete-game 6-0 shutout.

Chris McQueen went 2-for-5 with two runs and two stolen bases, Byron Reichstein singled twice and drove in a run, and Humberto Ruiz and Keith Kandel each had an RBI.

Jon Dziomba had a pair of hits and Gianfranco Morello doubled. 

Red Sox hurler Adam Jafine threw another gem, going the distance, allowing two earned runs on nine hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts.

Despite the loss, McGovern sees the positives out of a sixth-place season that saw the Red Sox surge in the second half and a sweep of the Kitchener Panthers in the quarter-final.

“The quarter-final series win was something these guys needed,” McGovern said. “I believed they could win since the first time we hit the field for the regular season, But I don’t think they believed in themselves.”

And now they do.

“These guys know how good they are going forward,” McGovern said. “I Love every one of the boys on this team and I honestly think we’re going to do something special here.

“We’re a family,” he said. “Nobody wants to let the guy down beside them and that creates success.”

In the opener of the semifinal on Friday in London, Byron Reichstein homered and drove in three to lead the Majors to a 9-5 win.

Reichstein also singled twice and scored a pair of runs. Hayden Jaco went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, Humberto Ruiz singled twice and drove in a run, Keith Kandel drove in three and scored twice, Cleveland Brownlee had two hits, and Chris McQueen and Robert Doyle both had an RBI.

Starter Pedro De Los Santos (1-0) went eight innings for the Majors, allowing five runs on eight hits with three walks and six strikeouts. 

Mike Mueller took the loss, giving up seven runs on 11 hits over six innings. He walked four and fanned five. 

Offensively for the Red Sox, Jon Dziomba and Gianfranco Morello each went 3-for-5 with a run. Liam Sutherland drove in two, and Roger Keen added an RBI.

The Majors will now take on the Toronto Maple Leafs for the ILB title. The Maple Leafs swept the defending champion Barrie BayCats in two games. Saturday they won the best-of-three series with a 13-11 win. In the opener, the Leafs hammered out a 10-5 victory.