IBL PLAYOFF ROUNDUP: Panthers unseat defending champs

KITCHENER – There will be a new Intercounty Baseball League champion in 2023.

The Kitchener Panthers unseated defending champion London thanks to a 5-4 win in Game 5 of the quarter-final Thursday night at Jack Couch Park.

Kitchener, the playoffs’ second seed, will face third-place Barrie in the semifinal. The schedule will be announced Friday. Welland will face Toronto starting Saturday.

In Thursday’s deciding game, Marcel Lacasse put the Panthers ahead for good in the bottom of the fifth when he slammed a three-run blast off Majors’ starter Owen Boon. Boon lasted eight innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits with two walks and 13 strikeouts.

Kitchener first baseman Liam Wilson went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, while Raul Gonzalez had a pair of hits and scored a run.

Jose Vasquez picked up the win in relief, giving up a run on three hits over 3.1 innings. He walked one and fanned five. Jordan Bahnuk threw a clean ninth to earn the save.

Christian Hauck started and went 4.2 innings. He allowed three runs on eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

Starling Joseph, Eduardo De Oleo, Austin Wilkie and Josh Williams drove in London’s runs. Byron Reichstein went 3-for-5.