For the second straight IBL championship final game the Barrie Baycats found themselves in a 4-0 hole early on.
And once again, the Baycats clawed their way back and rallied for the win.
This time Barrie exploded for five runs in the top of the seventh inning en route to a 6-4 come-from-behind victory over the host Kitchener Panthers, Thursday night, at Jack Couch Park.
The Baycats now lead the best-of-seven final 2-0 and can take command of the series when the two clubs return to Barrie for Game 3 on Saturday night. Game time is 7 p.m. at Coates Stadium.
After being held to a mere hit through the opening six innings, five of Barrie’s 11 hits in the contest came in that big seventh inning as they finally figured out Kitchener starter Yoennis Yera. After back-to-back singles by Kevin Atkinson and Kyle DeGrace, Ryan Rijo got the parade started when he doubled home Atkinson, bringing an end to Yera’s night.
Connor Morro greeted Panthers reliever Brady Schnarr with a two-run double to cut the lead to 4-3. With one out, Branfy Infante reached on an error and advanced to second after a walk to Ryan Spataro. Kitchener went to the bullpen for Mike Schnurr, but Starlin Rodriguez welcomed him by drilling a single to right to score Morro and tie the game. Castaldo stepped up and brought home what proved to be the winning run when his sacrifice fly to left scored Infante.
Infante would add an insurance run the next inning when he singled home Morro and the Barrie bullpen would lock it down from there.
Matthew Kitts (3-0) would get the win on the mound for Barrie, giving up four unearned runs on six hits and two walks over seven strong innings. He struck out eight. Reliever Darren Shed tossed a scoreless eighth and Adam Hawes locked things down in the ninth to pick up his second safe.
Schnarr (1-1) was tagged with the loss, giving up two runs, one earned, on one hit and a walk over a third of an inning. Yera would go six innings in his start, giving up three runs, one earned, on four hits and one walk. He struck out eight.
Morrow led the Barrie attack with two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored in four plate appearances. Ryley Davenport had belted his first postseason homer in the loss for Kitchener.