There’d be no championship celebration at home on this night for the Barrie Baycats.
Tanner Nivins delivered a game-winning two-run double in the top of the 11th inning to help the Panthers stave off elimination with a 6-5 win over the Baycats, Thursday night, at Coates Stadium.
Barrie still leads the best-of-seven Dominico Cup series, 3-2, and can capture its sixth-straight IBL title with a win Saturday night in Kitchener. Game time at Jack Couch Park is 7 p.m.
Nivins, as he’s done on several times in the post-season, would play the hero. With two out and Jeff Hunt and Colin Gordner aboard, the Kitchener outfielder drove a 2-2 pitch from Baycats reliever Adam Hawes (0-1) into centre field to plate both runners and put the Panthers ahead, 6-4.
The Baycats, who had rallied from a four-run deficit earlier in the contest to help send the game into extra innings, made it a one-run game in the bottom of the inning when Kevin Atkinson greeted reliever Yoen Socarras with a sole homer on the second pitch to cut the Kitchener lead to one.
Jon Waltenbury would draw a one-out walk to put the tying run on base, but Socarras would strike out Ryan Rijo and then get Connor Morro to ground out to end the threat and earn his first save.
Miguel Lahera (2-0) gave up two hits and a walk, while striking out a pair, over two innings to earn the win for Kitchener. Starter Yoennis Yera would go five innings, giving up two runs on six hits and four walks. He struck out nine.
Hawes gave up two unearned runs on one hit and three walks over 2.1 innings in the loss for Barrie. He struck out a pair. Starter Matthew St. Kitts would go seven innings, giving up four runs on five hits and a walk. he struck out 10.
Liam Wilson doubled home Nivins and a Mike Gordner sacrifice fly scored Yorbis Borroto in the first inning to put the Panthers up early and they added to their lead in the fourth when Colin Gordner drilled a two-run blast off of St. Kitts.
The Baycats stormed right back with a pair of their own in the bottom of the inning on two-run double by Connor Morro. An RBI single by Rijo in seventh cut the lead to one and then Ryan Spataro, who finished with four hits, tied it in the eighth with a solo homer off of reliever Brady Schnarr.
Game 7, if necessary, goes Sunday night at Coates Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.