© Chris Quigley
West Side Monarchs' Michael Tavenor delivers a pitch against the Junior Barons during senior baseball playoff action Tuesday night at Jubilee Field.
On a frigid evening at Jubilee Field, Michael Tavenor brought the heat. T
he West Side Monarchs pitcher struck out 18 batters Tuesday night, allowing only two hits and no walks in the process, to power his team to a 2-0 victory over the Junior Barons in Game 1 of their best-of-five Corner Brook Molson Senior Baseball League semifinal series.
Scoreless until the fifth inning, the game’s first run came when Tavenor himself crossed the plate on a double from Brad Brewer to put the Monarchs up 1-0.
They gave themselves a little insurance by scoring in the top of the seventh, as Sean Mitchell swatted a single to drive in Mark Armstrong.
Tavenor said he knew going in he was going to have to come up with a solid performance to outduel Junior Barons chucker Kevin Farrell.
“I knew one run could easily win the game,” he said. Throwing strikes was the most important thing, he said, so he stuck with his fastball — and it kept working.
“They couldn’t really hit it,” he said. “That’s probably the most strikeouts I’ve had in a game.”
Lost in the brilliance of Tavenor’s performance was an exceptionally solid outing from Farrell as well.
Tavenor said the Monarchs aren’t too concerned about their relative lack of offence on Tuesday night, because Farrell’s turn in the rotation is now over.
“Their best pitcher is already gone,” he said. “We should get more hits in the next game.”
Of course, the Junior Barons share that particular thought about Tavenor.
“I’m pretty excited we’re not going to see him again next game,” said Jay Warford, who battled Tavenor especially hard in one late at-bat, fouling off at least a half-dozen pitches before ultimately grounding out.
“Hopefully we’ll see someone a little slower,” he said. “We’ve got to come back ready to get a few hits.”
The baby Barons haven’t been on the field in a while, Warford said, which contributed to their troubles.
“Coming in facing a guy like (Tavenor) throwing smoke is pretty tough,” he said. “Especially when we’re not hitting like we can.”