WEEK AHEAD: Wrapping up the road trip ahead of Sunday

KITCHENER - It's a rare Thursday away from Jack Couch Park for the Kitchener Panthers this week.

Kitchener will be racking up some kilometres, as they visit Barrie and Chatham-Kent Thursday and Friday night.

In Barrie, the Panthers face the team that eliminated them from the 2023 IBL post-season. Barrie has lost two of its last three games after a stretch where they won five of six.

Hayden Jaco leads the league with a .433 batting average, while Cesar Rosado paces the league on the mound with a 2.04 ERA in five games (two of them starts).

The Barnstormers have become familiar foes to the Panthers, meeting for the fourth time this season.

Chatham-Kent has won two of three, with the home team emerging victorious in all three games head-to-head.

Seth Strong is the only other qualifying player in the IBL to crack a .400 batting average, sitting second behind Jaco with a .404. He is also second in the IBL with 16 RBI.

On Sunday, Kitchener will host Guelph and will celebrate all things dad with the annual Father's Day game.

Yes, Father's Day was last week, but with Kitchener on the road, the team didn't have the chance to celebrate the day with local fans.

Andy Leader could potentially make his return to the field he played on for six seasons, and is part of a potent lineup for Guelph who got back in the win column with a 9-1 win over Brantford Tuesday.

It's the first of a back-to-back at home, with Welland visiting Monday night at 7:30 p.m. for Youth Sports Day.

The game is a make up for a rain out earlier this month. Any youth wearing a sports jersey gets in for free, but need to be accompanied by an adult.

Kitchener has just the one win in its last six outings, but has beefed up the roster, highlighted with the acquisition of relief pitchers Pedro de la Cruz Paez and Danny Garcia from Guelph.

Raul Gonzalez has been swinging the hot bat of late. He has hits in five of his last six, including multi-hit outings in two of his last three.

On the mound, Yadian Martinez has taken the role of the ace and leads the league with 40 strikeouts. Recent signee Pedro De Los Santos showed his potential after an impressive outing in a win over Hamilton Friday.