Custodio shuts out Maple Leafs in 5-0 win

By Rob Vona

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost to Claudio Custodio and the Guelph Royals by a score of 5-0 at Dominico Field. 

With the win, the Royals have tied the best-of-five series up at one game apiece.

Both teams sent out their go-to starters in a pitcher’s duel that featured Wilgenis Alvarado - the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) ERA leader (2.36) for the Maple Leafs and the reigning John Bell Trophy winner in Claudio Custodio for the Guelph Royals. 

Alvarado was the first to crack, surrendering a run in the top of the first inning on a sac fly from Royals third baseman Malik Collymore. 

Both teams threatened early and often, but the opposing pitcher found a way to shut down any chance of scoring, surrendering runners inning after inning. 

In the top of the fifth inning, Royals first baseman Josh Garton unloaded on a pitch from Alvarado and sent it deep over the right-field fence to give the Royals a 2-0 lead. 

The Maple Leafs led off the fifth inning with a bunt single from right-fielder Ryan Dos Santos, the game was then delayed, then later postponed due to heavy rainfall.

With the game paused after four-and-a-half innings, the remainder of the game resumed Sunday afternoon at Dominico Field.

Custodio took back to the mound on Sunday with his four scoreless innings and continued to carve up Maple Leaf hitters, inducing weak contact and cruising to the sixth inning and onwards. 

Marek Deska, who entered the game in relief of Alvarado in the sixth inning, retired nine of the first 11 batters he faced, while Custodio continued to dominate, still holding the Maple Leafs scoreless through eight innings. 

The Royals got to Deska in the ninth inning and opened the floodgates, a three-run inning thanks to a pair of singles from Garton and left-fielder Ethan Hammond extended their lead to five. 

The five runs of support were more than enough for Custodio, who recorded a complete game shutout that saw him strike out nine batters en route to the 5-0 win.

The Royals and Maple Leafs will resume the series on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. in what quickly turned into a best-of-three series. 

The post game report is brought to you by Woodbine Racetrack, official sponsor of Maple Leafs baseball.