Jackfish Get Off The Hook Late Against Maple Leafs

The Welland Jackfish held off the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday afternoon at Dominico Field by a score of 11-9, snapping the Maple Leafs’ four game win streak. 

James Smibert, the third baseman for the visiting Jackfish got things started early with a two-run blast off of Sam Greene in the top of the first inning. 

Greene settled in after surrendering the home run, the 26-year-old would go on to hold off the Jackfish for the next four innings, finishing with five innings of two-run baseball with one walk and five strikeouts. 

Featured in his second consecutive start of five or more innings, Greene took a comebacker from Jackfish centre-fielder Gianfranco Morello off of the shin before hustling to get the throw over to first base to beat the runner for his second out of the third inning. 

It wasn’t until the bottom of the fourth inning until the Maple Leafs got to Jackfish starting pitcher Adam Jafine. Johnathan Solazzo hit his fourth home run in as many games, a three-run shot to give the Maple Leafs their first lead of the ball game. 

The Jackfish tied the game at three in the following inning with an RBI single from second baseman Tyler Dupuis. In an attempt to stretch it to a double, Dupuis was thrown out trying to at second base. Maple Leafs right-fielder Greg Carrington swiftly fielded the bouncing ball and fired a strike into second base to beat the runner, ending the inning.

Daniel Procopio entered the game in the sixth inning for the Maple Leafs and served up a two-run home run to Jackfish catcher Sam Cawker that saw the visiting team take the lead for the second time. 

The Maple Leafs bats awoke in the bottom half of the sixth inning, highlighted by a grand slam from Carrington, the home team put up six runs in the sixth inning to give themselves the lead yet again, this time up 9-5 with three innings to go.

“The pressure is on them, I always feel like the defence is pressured, not the offence,” said Carrington on his grand slam following the game. “They put themselves in a situation where we could cash in, luckily I was the guy in that spot to do it.”  

Maple Leafs pitcher James Wilson entered the game in the eighth inning, the 20-year-old walked the first batter he faced but made a quick turnaround and punched out the next batter to get the first out of the inning. 

A wild pitch, a hit by pitch and a walk saw Wilson load the bases for Matteo Porcellato. The left-fielder was also hit by a pitch and took his base, while the Jackfish had their sixth run of the game cross the plate. 

Into the game, for the first time this season, came Wilgenis Alvarado for the Maple Leafs with a tall task in front of him. Alvarado went on to walk three of the next five batters he faced while also giving up a sacrifice fly to Dupuis. Suddenly, the game was knotted up at nine. 

A late-game substitution for the visiting team saw Hogan Brown take his first at-bat of the game in the top of the ninth inning with runners on the corners and two outs. 

Brown ripped a double down the left-field line as both runners crossed the plate to give his team the lead yet again. 

Jackfish pitcher Deivy Mendez shut the door in his two innings of relief, striking out four batters in the eighth and ninth inning for his first win of the 2023 season.

“Nobody believed that we were going to lose that game,” said Carrington. “It just happened.”

He added that the message amongst the team is to “move forward” and come out ready on Wednesday. 

The Maple Leafs are back at it for their first night game at Dominico Field on Wednesday as they host the Kitchener Panthers. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.