Maple Leafs clinch fourth place with win over Royals

By Rob Vona

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Guelph Royals on Sunday afternoon at Dominico Field by a score of 7-1, clinching home-field advantage in the first round of the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) Playoffs.

“We definitely saw a more complete game today and it’s something we’ll need to see in the playoffs if we want to go deep,” said Maple Leafs first baseman Jordan Castaldo following the game. 

With the win, the Maple Leafs now stand at an even 20-20 record with one, possibly two games left on their schedule. 

The game saw a quiet first two innings of action until the Maple Leafs broke the deadlock, scoring four runs in the bottom of the third, highlighted by a three-run home run to left-field from Castaldo. 

“I feel like my swing the last few weeks has been in a good spot,” said Castaldo about his performance on Sunday.

Maple Leafs starting pitcher Daniel Procopio won his fifth game of the season this year, going five scoreless innings that saw the hard-throwing righty strike out six batters.

A sac-fly from right fielder Greg Carrington gave the Maple Leafs a 5-0 lead.

The top of the seventh inning saw the Royals threaten with the bases loaded and one out. The Royals got on the board with a single to left-field from catcher Brendan Keys off of Zach Sloan, however amidst an attempt to score a second run, Maple Leafs left-fielder Jesse Hodges delivered a strike to home plate, gunning down the runner to limit the Royals to just one run.

Castaldo gave the Maple Leafs some insurance with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, a laser over the right-field wall for his second big fly of the game. 

With the two-home run game, Castaldo extended his on-base streak to 23 games; he also finished with a game-high four RBI.

Connor Lewis, Maple Leafs centre-fielder added on another run of insurance in the eighth inning with a sac-fly of his own, capping off the seven run outing while the Maple Leafs bullpen (Sloan, Adam Marra, Chris Nagorski) combined for one run on two hits in four innings of relief.

The Maple Leafs will take on the Brantford Red Sox at Arnold Anderson Stadium on Monday night at 8:00 p.m. and potentially the Kitchener Panthers before the first round of the IBL Playoffs, set to begin on Thursday. 

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