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Sarnia Braves wins Can-Am AAA League Home Opener

May 6,  2012

SUBMITTED PHOTO: Nick Baljeu delivers a pitch in Sarnia's home opener

The Sarnia Braves started off their Can-Am AAA League schedule with a 7-1 win over the Tecumseh Thunder Saturday at Errol Russell Park.


Starting pitcher Nick Baljeu threw a stellar five innings of ball allowing one run on six hits while also striking out six. Jeff Jones came on in relief to seal the win as the righty struck out six batters in two innings, while allowing no hits.


"This was a big win for us in terms of showing that we can compete at the highest level in Ontario," says Baljeu. "A lot of preparation has went into making our team ready to give the best teams in Canada a run for their money and this was definitely a good start. The more we see of these teams the better prepared we will be for Ontario AAA Eliminations come August and our goal is to do well there."


The Braves took the lead in the first inning as Wade Babula singled, Alex McLean walked and James Grant singled to load the bases against Thunder starting pitcher Chris Horvath. All three would come into score with Justin Randall, Greg Sinclair and Russ Muhlig all picking up RBI.


Sarnia would add to their lead in the second inning as Babula and Grant would score again, this time off of a three-run homerun from the bat of Randall. Sarnia would add their seventh run in the third inning as Muhlig would come into score on a Grant single up the middle.

"We looked really comfortable at the plate and that was a question mark coming into the game," said Braves coach Scott Finnie. "We executed defensively and our bats were able to take the pressure off us early. It feels great to get our first win in the Can-Am League out of the way. Hopefully we can bare down and continue to play the type of baseball we did today for the rest of the summer."

Sarnia finished the game with seven hits and eight base on balls. Grant and Babula had two hits apiece while Randall, Tyler Young and Mike Damchuk each had one.