Cicatello leads Leafs past Cards

by Ryan Harrison

TORONTO – Justin Cicatello stood out on the mound and at the plate Sunday afternoon against the Hamilton Cardinals.

The veteran pitcher tossed four innings of shutout relief to earn the save and added a home run to boot to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 12-5 win over the Cards in IBL action on a bitter cold afternoon at Christie Pits.

Already on in relief, Cicatello had to help out a shorthanded Leafs squad with the bat when teammate Cooper Lamb had to leave the game with an injury in the bottom of the sixth. Cicatello drew a walk in his first at bat and then in the bottom of the eighth inning drilled a solo bomb off Hamilton reliever Wes Markle that cleared the left-field fence to kick off a four-run rally that sealed the Toronto (1-1) win.

It was the long-time veteran hurler's first hit in the league.

Toronto manger/player Damon Topolie added two hits, a sacrifice fly and two RBI.

Zach Sloan made his second start for the Leafs and was much sharper than his appearance in last week's season opener, giving up just two unearned runs on three hits in four innings, while striking out three.

Mateo KeKatos picked up the win with two innings relief after Sloan left with a 7-2 lead. Making his IBL debut, KeKatos gave up just a single in the fifth inning before he ran into trouble in the sixth inning when he gave up a run and left with the bases loaded.

Hamilton would cut the lead to 7-5 off Cicatello after a two-base error by outfielder Marcus Knecht brought home a pair of runs.

The Leafs got to Hamilton starter Ben Braun (0-1) early, scoring four times in the bottom of the third and then adding three more the next inning. The Leafs manufactured offence all afternoon, scoring on a balk and wild pitch, while drawing 12 walks.

Justin Marra and Knecht drove in a pair of runs each for Toronto, while teammate Ryan Santos scored three times.

Hamilton pitcher Ben Braun took the loss, allowing seven runs (six earned) on five hits over four innings. He walked six and struck out three.

At the plate, Justin Gideon went 2-for-4 with a stolen base, RBI and a run. Jake Chiaravelle went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.