Benches Clear as Leafs Lose Close One in Barrie
MIDHURST -- Who says the dog days of a baseball season can not be exciting?
The Barrie Baycats scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 8-5 on Thursday evening to improve to 14-9 on the season.
With the loss, the Leafs fall to 12-11.
Barrie starting pitcher Henrry Civil took a no-decision in his IBL debut, tossing four and two-thirds of an inning while allowing four earned runs on three hits and five walks while striking out six Toronto batters.
Baycats reliever Brandon Hillier, who we will get to later on in this recap, picked up the win in relief after allowing one run in the top of the eighth inning on three hits and a walk.
Barrie left fielder Noel McGarry-Doyle continued his dominant season, going two-for-three while batting a couple of runners in.
Baycats closer Brad Grieveson picked up the save.
Toronto starter Angel Castro took the loss despite pitching his best game of his young IBL career.
The former Oakland Athletic allowed six earned runs on 12 hits while striking out seven batters.
TORONTO - 5-8-1
BARRIE - 8-13-0
BIGGEST PLAY OF THE GAME: Up a run in the bottom of the eighth inning, Baycats first basemen Malik Williams hit a bomb to left field to extend the Baycats lead to 8-5.
DID YOU SEE THAT? With runners on second and third in the top of the eighth inning, Hiller got Maple Leafs catcher Justin Marra to pop up to second basemen Owen Jansen to end the threat and as he was walking off the mound, he yelled a few choice words at Castro, who was standing in the Leafs dugout.
It led to the benches clearing for a very brief moment, but nothing came from it.
Hillier was not exactly yelling at Castro for no reason, at least in his mind, as Castro, who pitches with a ton of emotion, to say the least, was frequently yelling all game long from the Leafs dugout when the Baycats were pitching. The home side became increasingly annoyed with Castro as the game went on, as evident by Baycats manager Josh Matlow making multiple appearances to home plate umpire Csaba Vegh throughout the first seven innings.
At the end of the day, nothing came from it outside of the entertainment value being raised for a regular-season game at the halfway mark of the season between two franchises that have been involved in a lot worse against each other over the years.
BY THE NUMBERS...
0. Zero walks for Castro on the night after throwing six in his last start against the Guelph Royals.
13. A brisk 13-pitch ninth inning for Grieveson in the ninth inning against 3-4-5 in the Leafs lineup.
132. 132 pitches for Castro on the evening, who continues to try and find his form. The righty's stat line does not do justice for how well he pitched -- and how unlucky he got at times -- against a Baycats lineup that has their eighth and nine hitters batting .378 and .349 respectively.
INSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM...
Maple Leafs manager Damon Topolie on Castro's outing: "He's a horse. He didn't want me to take him out of this game. He had a tough first inning but he pitched his tail off."
Topolie on the emotion Castro showed throughout the game: "He is showing that he is going to be a leader on this team and that is exactly what we are going to need. We need a veteran guy like that who is competitive. He's just an old-school ball player and that is what we needed."
Topolie on no breaks going their way in this game, whether it be Greg Carrington being thrown out at home in a tie game in the top of the sixth inning, Jake Wilson picking up a base hit to give the Baycats a lead in the bottom of the seventh inning right after catcher Justin Marra and first basemen Jordan Castaldo collided trying to catch a foul ball, etc: "We have gotten no lucky breaks the last two games -- it happens. We just have to keep grinding because we have two more games this weekend."
Topolie on the last two games being quite thrilling: "We have been in both ball games. I can't ask for anything more from these guys as they are playing hard."
The Leafs are back at it on Friday against the London Majors.
From there, they return home on Saturday to host the Hamilton Cardinals.
Photo: Craig Aikin