Panthers Score 32 Runs in 2 Win Opening Weekend

After major roster reconstruction this offseason, the Panthers entered the 2023 opening weekend with high expectations and did not disappoint. After two wins, one rained out game and a combined 32 runs scored, the Panthers are off to the type of start they were hoping for.

After a decisive 18-2 victory against the Brantford Red Sox on Opening Day on Friday, Sunday’s Kitchener Home Opener provided more of the same as the Welland Jackfish were defeated by a score of 14-6.

Game 1

Longtime Panther, Christian Hauck, got the Opening Day start on Friday and picked up his 23rd career win in 5 innings of work allowing 2 runs. The veteran righty struck out 4 and only surrendered 3 hits in his strong performance. He was followed on the mound by the trio of Adam Robertson, Brett Reid and Brady Schnarr who combined for 4 scoreless innings with 11 combined strikeouts.

The final 9 outs of the game were all recorded by strikeout as Brett Reid K’d the side in the 7th before Brady Schnarr recorded 6 punch outs of his own in the 8th and 9th innings.

Offensively, the Panthers were led by Cuban short stop, Raul Gonzalez, who had an IBL debut to remember with a stat line of 5 for 6 with 2 home runs, a double and 5 RBI. Stephen Whalen also had a great start to his season going 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI.

As a team , the Panthers recorded 13 hits to go along with 9 walks on route to scoring 18 runs.

Game 2

The Panthers were welcomed back to Jack Couch Park by a crowd of nearly 1000 for their Home Opener on Sunday as the Welland Jackfish visited. Facing a Jackfish team that swept the Panthers in the opening round of the 2022 playoffs, the new look Panthers sent Cuban pitcher Yamichel Perez to the mound who picked up his first IBL victory in a 6 inning performance.

Cambridge native, Jose Vasquez, made a strong first impression in his return to the region, entering the game in the 7th in a bases loaded, 2 out jam and inducing a strikeout to maintain the Panthers 3 run lead at the time. He went on to strikeout another 3 batters in the eighth inning as he recorded all 4 of his outs via strikeout.

Jordan Bahnuk, another big offseason bullpen addition made his IBL debut, notching 2 strikeouts as he shut things down in the 9th inning.

Offensively, the local duo of Andy Leader and Elliot Curtis both blasted a pair of home runs to pace the Panthers offence in the 14 run outburst. Curtis finished with 3 RBI on the day while Leader picked up 6 RBI and also recorded a double.

Jett Jarvis went 3 for 3 with a walk and 2 runs scored and Blake Jacklin, Liam Wilson and Keegan Marsden all recorded a hit and an RBI in the contest.

Looking Ahead

The Panthers are back in action at home at Jack Couch Park this Thursday as we will host the 3 and 1 Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:30 PM. The next game is on Friday the 26th AT Hamilton at 7:35 before returning home for a Sunday afternoon home contest vs the Guelph Royals at 2:00 PM at Jack Couch Park.

Tickets can be purchased here for our two home contests this week.