A tough weekend wraps up for the Kitchener Panthers

Mired in a five-game losing skid, the Kitchener Panthers have a few days to rest before hosting Brantford Thursday

By: Mark Pare

The busiest part of the season is now over for the Kitchener Panthers.

And they're probably glad it's over.

The Panthers wrapped up a six-day stretch of seven games mired in a five-game losing skid, dropping both ends of a doubleheader Sunday with the Barrie Baycats.

The finals were not as lopsided as the games Saturday against Toronto.  The Baycats won 7-2 in Game 1, and 8-3 in Game 2.

"Christian (Hauck) gave us a good start earlier, but we got behind again," said Panthers manager Don Menard, "You don't make a pitch and they get a key hit for the other team, and then we're behind and we didn't battle back again."

Hauck went four innings, surrendering three hits and three runs, walking two and striking out a pair.

His counterpart for Barrie pitched a complete game.  Juan Benitez gave up two runs on seven hits, also striking out and walking two.

Barrie took an early 3-0 lead in the second inning, and the Panthers brought it to a one-run game in the fifth, before the Baycats scored another three in the sixth to put the game out of reach.

But there were a couple mistakes on the basepath, including one where a runner found himself wandering off second base in the bottom of the seventh and tagged out for the final out of the game.

"We can't do that.  We can't kill little rallies," Menard added, "We're going to make to clean that up more on our bases, and more attention.  But that also comes (with) a lot of games in a lot of days.  You're tired, you're just not paying attention."

In the second game, Barrie got things started with a four-run second inning and the Panthers once again brought it to a one-run ballgame late.

However, that's as close as the Panthers would get.

There was a slight bright spot, as Liam Wilson extended his hit streak to 13 games.  Menard said he's happy to see his slugger continue to get hits, but noted even Wilson would say the individual accolades are not as important as gunning for an IBL Championship.

Menard admits the losing skid is a little frustrating, but added it is a working man's league and everyone's got to deal with that fact.

He says despite the rough patch, he has confidence the Panthers can pick things up again.

"Once we get all healthy and everybody gets here again --- people are missing and stuff --- we'll be okay," Menard said, "I believe in the team, I believe in the guys a lot.  Just as much as we won four or five games in a row, you can lose four or five games in a row in this league in a heartbeat.  Thursday, hopefully, we start up a brand new winning streak."

The next Panthers Home Game is Thursday,  August 19th,  vs. Brantford Red Sox. 7:30pm start time at Jack Couch Park.