Maple Leafs beat down on Panthers

By Rob Vona

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Kitchener Panthers on Tuesday night at Jack Couch Park in convincing fashion, winning by a score of 14-4. 

With the win, the Maple Leafs extended their winning streak to three games. 

The offence got out to a quick start as shortstop Jose Vinicio jumped on the third pitch he saw from Panthers starting pitcher Jacob Douglas and launched a leadoff home run to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead. 

Wilgenis Alvarado took to the mound for the Maple Leafs and worked quickly through the first two innings, striking out four of the first seven batters he faced. 

Vinicio stayed hot and hit his second home run of the game in the top of the third inning, making it a 2-0 lead for the visiting Maple Leafs. 

Catcher Justin Marra kept the ball rolling with a solo blast of his own as the Maple Leafs hit back-to-back home runs, on back-to-back pitches. 

Capping off the five-run third inning, second baseman Dan Marra hit his first home run of the year, a three-run shot, giving the Maple Leafs a commanding 6-0 lead. 

The two Marra brothers had a game to remember, finishing the game with a combined three hits (all home runs), four runs scored and a whopping six RBI. 

A fielder’s choice from Panthers shortstop Raul Gonzalez in the bottom half of the third inning saw the Panthers break the ice and get on the board, cutting the deficit to five, now trailing 6-1. 

The Maple Leafs were quick to respond as they scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning courtesy of a hit by pitch from left-fielder Jesse Hodges and an error from Panthers first baseman Nick Parsons that allowed for two runs to score. 

Toronto scored their ninth run in three innings in the top of the fifth inning with a ground ball to shortstop from Justin Marra that allowed for third baseman Grant Tamane to score, extending the Maple Leafs lead to 10-1. 

Panthers catcher Yunior Ibarra - who finished with a team-high two hits - drove in his team's second run of the game with a single to shortstop to make it an eight run deficit.

The Maple Leafs continued to pour it on, scoring another three runs in the top of the seventh inning courtesy of a trio of singles to lead off the inning, coming off the bats of Tamane, Robin Fox-Pappas and a base hit from right-fielder Ryan Dos Santos that scored Tamane.

Fox-Pappas and Dos Santos would later come around to score off of a pair of walks generated from Hodges and DH Jordan Castaldo. 

Justin Marra put the cherry on top for the Maple Leafs with his second home run of the day in the top of the ninth inning, another solo blast to give his squad their 14th run of the game. 

With the second home run, Marra tied Johnathan Solazzo for the team lead in home runs at 10, Marra would go on to finish the game with a game-high three runs scored.

The Panthers strung together a pair of late-game solo home runs from DH Liam Wilson and Gonzalez, but it wasn’t nearly enough to take down the Maple Leafs and their bats. 

Gonzalez and Wilson now sit at 11 home runs on the year, both moving into a tie for the team-lead, as well as a three-way tie for second in the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) home run race.

The Maple Leafs cruised to a victory over the third-place Panthers and get right back in the action tomorrow night on home soil as they host the Barrie Baycats - two teams riding a three game win-streak - first pitch is set for 7:30 p.m..  

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