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Defending champs Kelly's Pub Molson BullDogs off to rocky start

In this Sept. 22, 2019 file photo, Daniel Dalton of Kelly’s Pub Molson Bulldogs is tagged out by 3Cheers Bud Light Dodgers second baseman Kyle Ezekiel during a St. John’s Molson senior men’s playoff game at Lions Park. With guidelines related to COVID-19 clarified for sports in the province finalized, the St. John’s softball league is set to start its 2020 season this week.
In this Sept. 22, 2019 file photo, Daniel Dalton of Kelly’s Pub Molson Bulldogs is tagged out by 3Cheers Bud Light Dodgers second baseman Kyle Ezekiel during a St. John’s Molson senior men’s playoff game at Lions Park. - SaltWire Network file photo

After regaining their St. John’s Molson Senior Men’s Softball League championship banner last season, following a glitch in 2018, the Kelly’s Pub Molson Bulldogs have stumbled from the gate so far in this pandemic 2020 season at Lions Park.

The reigning senior men’s champion Bulldogs dropped to 1-2 Thursday night following an 8-0, five-inning thumping by The Bigs.

That setback follows a 1-0 win over the NTV Hitmen Tuesday night. On opening day last Sunday, Kelly’s dropped a 7-2 decision to 3Cheers Pub Bud Light Dodgers.

The Bulldogs owned the senior circuit for a five-year stretch between 2013 and 2017, racking up five straight championships.

The streak was interrupted in 2018 when the Dodgers ousted the Bulldogs from the semifinals. Kelly’s regained the crown last year, beating 3Cheers in a seven-game league final.

Thursday night, two days after beating the Hitmen 1-0 on a Blair Ezekiel walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, Mark Power threw a one-hitter (seven strikeouts) and hit a two-run home run for The Bigs against Kelly’s.

Bryan Clarke doubled for the winners and knocked in three runs. Darcy O’Reilly also doubled.

Ezekiel started and was tagged with the loss as he suffered control problems (3IP, 5R, 1H, 4BB, 2HBP, 3K). Sean Cleary (1.2IP, 3R, 2H, 2BB, 1HBP, 5K) finished up.

Shane Boland had the only Kelly’s hit.

In another game, the Hitmen beat the Dodgers 3-1. Robbie Greene (7IP, 1R, 3H, 1BB, 10K) won over starter Colin Walsh (6IP, 3R, 6H, 0BB, 10K). Eric Healey (1IP, 0R, 0H, 1BB, 2K) finished up.

Brad Ezekiel was 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs for the winners.

League play resumes noon Sunday with 3Cheers taking on The Bigs and Kelly's Pub tangling with NTV at 3 p.m. Both games are at Lions Park.

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