Jackfish Double Up Maple Leafs

By Rob Vona

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Welland Jackfish by a score of 16-8 on Saturday night at Welland Stadium, dropping to third place in the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) standings.

Maple Leafs starting pitcher Sam Greene was handed his first loss of the season, surrendering eight earned runs on nine hits in just three innings of work. This comes just six days after he went six brilliant innings against the Hamilton Cardinals. 

The Jackfish took the early lead in the bottom of the first inning courtesy of an RBI single from right fielder Brandon Nicholson. 

Nicholson would later come in to score off of a fielder's choice from the DH Steven Moretto to make it a 2-0 lead for the Jackfish.  

The Maple Leafs responded in the top of the second inning with a leadoff double from third baseman Johnathan Solazzo, followed by a single from left-fielder Ryan Burnside that allowed Solazzo to score, cutting the deficit in half.

The home team followed suit with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning, a sac-fly from second baseman Tyler Dupuis made it a 3-1 score. 

The floodgates opened in the bottom of the third inning as the Jackfish exploded for five runs, capitalizing on a wild pitch and a two-run home run from catcher Sam Cawker. All of a sudden, they owned an 8-1 lead. 

Zach Sloan entered the game in relief for Greene, after getting through a scoreless fourth inning, the 28-year-old gave up his first of seven earned runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, an RBI single from third baseman James Smibert - who finished with a team-high four RBI.

The home team continued to pour it on in the sixth inning as a second sac-fly from Dupuis extended the lead to 10-1. 

The IBL batting average leader Hogan Brown - who finished with a team high three hits - plated two more runs with a single to right field. 

His teammate Smibert - who trails right behind Brown in the IBL batting average standings - cleared the bases with a three-run home run, as the deflated Maple Leafs were now staring at a 14 run deficit, trailing 15-1.

Smibert would go on to finish the game with a team-high four RBI. 

Burnside stayed hot in the top of the eighth inning, racking up his fifth RBI in the last two games with a ground-rule double that scored Solazzo and first baseman Jordan Castaldo. Burnside finished the game with a team-high three RBI.

Yoichi Ishihara hit a single to right field that scored two more runs, the outfielder later came in to cross the plate courtesy of a David Alvarez double.

After an RBI triple from pinch-hitter Ryan Potrecz, the Jackfish held a 16-7 lead going into the final inning of play. 

Solazzo reached base and later scored for the team-high third time of the day thanks to a fielder’s choice from Brandon Sekulovich who pinch-hit for Burnside. 

Although the Maple Leafs rallied for seven runs in the final two innings, it wasn’t enough to take down the IBL leading Jackfish. 

The Maple Leafs are back at it Sunday afternoon at 2:00 against the Guelph Royals at Dominico Field as they look to get back into the win column after two games on the road.