Castaldo Leads Hit Parade as Leafs Defeat Cardinals to Move Back Into Third Place

by Ryan Eakin

HAMILTON - Taking care of business.

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Hamilton Cardinals 20-7 on Friday evening to improve to 15-14 on the season.

With their win (and with the Barrie Baycats defeating the Welland Jackfish tonight) the Maple Leafs move a 0.5 game up on the Jackfish heading into the final weekend of the season.

The Cardinals fell to 11-18 on the season and will need a win over the Jackfish on Sunday (or a Maple Leafs win over the Brantford Red Sox on Sunday) to avoid finishing in the seventh and final spot in the Intercounty Baseball League standings.

Toronto starting pitcher Marek Deska recorded the win despite struggling tonight.

The longtime Maple Leafs' hurler allowed six earned runs on ten hits and two bases on balls in four innings of work.

He did, however, manage to strike out five Hamilton batters.

Maple Leafs' first basemen Jordan Castaldo led the way at the plate, going three-for-four with three walks.

Hamilton starting pitcher Ben Braun also struggled on the mound tonight, taking the loss and allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits and four bases on balls in just three innings pitched.

TORONTO: 20-20-2

HAMILTON - 7-12-0

BIGGEST PLAY OF THE GAME: Up 7-6 in the top of the fifth inning, Maple Leafs' right fielder Marcus Knecht hit a two-out grand slam to expand the Leafs' lead to 11-6.

The third-place Leafs never looked back from there.

BY THE NUMBERS...

2. Two grand slams for the blue team tonight, as Maple Leafs' catcher Justin Marra hit one in the ninth inning to give the Leafs a 20-7 lead.

3.1. 3.1 sharp innings of relief for reliever Andrew Hyde tonight. 

The Toronto, Ontario native allowing just one earned run on one hit and two walks while striking out four batters.

4. Four Maple Leafs (Castaldo, Marra, third basemen Jonathan Solazzo, and shortstop Dan Marra) all had three-hit games for the Leafs tonight.

The first grand slam, of course, came in the fifth inning off of the bat of Knecht.

29. With three walks tonight, Castaldo now leads the IBL in walks with 29, surpassing Panthers hitter Jett Jarvis, who has 27.

64. It was a busy week for the Leafs this week, who have played every night since Tuesday evening against the London Majors. In the four games they played, the offence put up 64 runs.

NEWS FROM THE GAME...

- Justin Cicatello appeared in his fourth game tonight, meaning he has qualified for the 2021 postseason.

One less thing for Maple Leafs' manager Damon Topolie to worry about heading into the season finale on Sunday.

NEXT UP: The Maple Leafs close out their regular season this Sunday against the Brantford Red Sox from Christie Pits in Toronto.

For more information, follow the Maple Leafs on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @iblmapleleafs.

Photo: @LaRussaGastro