Maple Leafs Blow Out Royals
The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Guelph Royals by a score of 12-2 on Sunday at Dominico Field at Christie Pits.
Maple Leafs pitcher Sam Greene took to his first start of the 2023 season and recorded six strikeouts in five innings of shutout baseball. The Royals failed to record a hit off Greene but did register three walks.
After the game, Greene said that he was trying to use a lot of fastballs to get ahead of batters and put them away with his slider.
“I’m throwing a new slider this year, me and Justin [Marra] were talking about it, we like going to that against righties,” said Greene.
After Jordan Castaldo brought in Jose Vincio with a sac fly in the first inning, Greene had a lead to work with and never looked back as he faced the minimum through three innings of work.
Leadoff hitter Jose Vinicio found his way aboard the bases after a throwing error from Royals catcher Brendan Keys. Vinicio made his way to second base after a Jordan Castaldo single.
Vinicio easily swiped his second bag of the game - making it five stolen bases on the year for the speedy shortstop - finding himself now 90 feet away from scoring.
A sac fly from Jesse Hodges saw Vinicio beat the throw home from Royals right-fielder Owen Ellis, as Castaldo took second base on the throw in what was now a 2-0 ballgame.
Johnathan Solazzo flared a single into shallow left field to score Castaldo, extending the Maple Leafs lead to three.
The Maple Leafs stayed hot as Justin Marra hit his second home run of the year, a solo shot to give the Maple Leafs a four run lead.
“Justin [Marra] has been around the league a ton,” said Greene following the game. "He's a real experienced vet and a great catcher, I lean on him alot.”
After a walk from Castaldo and Solazzo, right fielder Greg Carrington followed suit, leaving the yard for the first time this year as his three-run home run opened the floodgates for the Maple Leafs as the Royals now found themselves down 7-0 through five innings.
It wasn’t until the top of the sixth inning until the visiting Royals got on the board, a solo home run from J.D. Williams.
Solazzo responded in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI single after Yoichi Ishihara entered the game for Jesse Hodges in left field.
Ishihara was issued a walk and made his way to third base with his fifth stolen base of the year and a wild pitch from pitcher Nelson Mercado, as the Maple Leafs now owned an 8-1 lead.
The eight-hit game for the Maple Leafs was capped off by a three-run blast from Solazzo in the eighth inning. The third baseman finished with a team-high three hits and five RBI.
“It took me until July last year, so to get one out in May felt good,” said Solazzo following the game.
Royals left-fielder Ashton Patterson hit a sac fly in the top of the ninth innings but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Maple Leafs cruised to a 10 run win.
“That’s one thing we were lacking for a long time was pitching, and I think pitching wins you a championship in this league so it’s something special to have this year,” Solazzo added when asked about the pitching performance led by Greene.
The Maple Leafs have the next three days off after playing three games in the last three days. They will face off against the Kitchener Panthers at Jack Couch Park on Thursday, first pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.