Cardinals Beat Maple Leafs in First of Three Game Set

By Rob Vona

The Hamilton Cardinals beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first of a three-game set between the two teams by a score of 12-5 on Friday night at Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium. 

Maple Leafs starter Zach Sloan took the loss, Sloan was chased out of the game after giving up six runs in three-and-one-third innings pitched.

Marek Deska, also surrendered six earned runs in his two-and-two-thirds innings pitched of relief. 

The 12 runs given up by the Maple Leafs are the most they have allowed all season, while the five runs they manufactured are tied with their lowest run total of the season thus far, dating back to opening day against the London Majors. 

The Cardinals struck first in the bottom of the second inning, a pair of singles from Luis Bernardo and Josh Niles followed by a pass ball quickly saw the home team with two runners in scoring position. 

A sacrifice fly from Cardinals DH Tanner Rempel had the Cardinals up 1-0 early. 

The Cardinals never looked back, scoring 11 runs over the next three innings. 

The bottom of the third saw two more runs come across to score thanks to an RBI triple from centre-fielder Clayton Keyes and second sac fly, this time courtesy of Bernardo. 

Charlie Towers tacked on another pair of runs for the Cardinals in the bottom of the fourth inning with an RBI single to shortstop, a fielder’s choice from Keyes two batters later plated another run. 

The floodgates opened for the home team once right-fielder Tyler Duncan hit a two-run home run to cap off the five-run fourth inning, extending the Cardinals lead to eight. 

An RBI single from Rempel was quickly followed by a three-run home run from third baseman Laine Renaud as the Cardinals were pouring it on, now leading 12-0. 

A strong start from Colby Ring kept the Maple Leafs scoreless through a six inning performance that featured eight strikeouts. 

It wasn’t until the last inning until the Maple Leafs got on the scoreboard - a wild pitch with the bases loaded that allowed for third baseman Johnathan Solazzo to score, shortly followed by a sac fly from right-fielder Yoichi Ishihara that plated J.J. Dutton. 

Justin Marra grounded out to second base, however another run scored. A pair of runs crossed the plate for the Maple Leafs shortly after, courtesy of an infield single from David Alvarez, however it was too little too late as the five runs manufactured in the top of the ninth inning were not nearly enough for the visiting Maple Leafs. 

The two teams will face each other on Sunday, but this time at Dominico Field. First pitch is set for 2:00 p.m.