Jackfish not ready to roll over
The Welland Jackfish may be down, but manager Brian Essery insists they are far from out.
“It’s frustrating right now but the flip side of it is we’re definitely not out of this. We all believe we can still win this series,” Essery said.
The Jackfish have dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven Intercounty Baseball League championship final to the Barrie Baycats and now must find a way to get back into the series in Game 3 at home Tuesday night or go down 3-0.
“It’s not ideal, our backs are against the wall going into tomorrow night,” Essery said. “We just have to come out with intensity knowing that we need a W. I expect we’re going to come out and throw everything at them and hopefully we’re successful, and if we are, then it’s series and we’re right back in it.”
With little margin for error, the Jackfish are throwing ace James Bradwell.
“He’s been the scheduled starter all along, so we feel very good having James going into the game the way he’s been throwing all playoffs and all season,” Essery said.
Bradwell is 3-0 with a 1.77 earned run average in three playoff appearances.
Essery said he plans to tinker with the lineup which has been out of synch.
“We are going to adjust a few things in the lineup, a couple changes,” he said. “We’re going over what we’re going to do and what changes we’re going to make, if it’s just a lineup change or if there are players coming in and other ones coming out.”
Essery feels the crux of the offensive issues come down to hitting in the clutch.
“We’ve really struggled with runners in scoring position this series. We had some many chances, left 13 on base in Game 1 against their ace (Frank Garces). We get a couple of base hits there and we win that game and we beat their guy, who I believe in the best pitcher in the league. We struggled with that the entire season. We thought we were through it in a couple of games in the Toronto series but here we are right back at it. We have to find a way out of it. It’s up to the guys now to bring it and hopefully they can figure it out.”
Game 1, a 4-3 loss in Welland, was marred by a controversial out call at third base late in the game that went against the Jackfish, but Essery wasn’t going to blame that for either loss.
“That was a big play, but at the end of the day, you can’t control it. We have to put that behind us. I thought we did. I’m not going to say it factored into anything last night. We just didn’t play a very good game. We made a couple of defensive errors too that we don’t usually make.”
Game 3 is Tuesday at Welland at 7:25 p.m. with Game 4 in Barrie Wednesday at 7:35 p.m. Game 5, if necessary, is Thursday in Welland at 7:25 p.m.
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