Maple Leafs Comeback Falls Short Against Jackfish

By Rob Vona

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Welland Jackfish on Sunday at Dominico Field by a score of 9-5, dropping to fourth place in the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) standings with a 10-7 record.

“I thought they jumped on us early and we just got kind of unlucky with some balls in play that didn’t fall our way,” said Maple Leafs pitcher Sam Greene following the game. “That kind of snowballed a little bit but I’m happy with the way we fought.” 

Dan Procopio suffered his first loss of the season, giving up six earned runs on eight hits in three innings pitched. This comes one week after his brilliant performance against the Brantford Red Sox.

The Jackfish got to the 27-year-old early, the first batter of the game, centre-fielder Gianfranco Morello ripped the second pitch he saw into right field and made his way to third with a leadoff triple. 

Morello later scored via a sac-fly from left-fielder Hogan Brown, giving the Jackfish a 1-0 lead. 

The visiting team added on another run in the second inning, this time an RBI base hit from shortstop Luis Jean.

The Jackfish continued to pour it on in the top of the third inning, putting up four runs courtesy of a wild pitch, a pair of RBI singles from catcher Sam Cawker and first baseman McCoy Pearce, as well as an RBI double off the bat of Jean. 

Suddenly, the Jackfish led by a score of 6-0. 

Second baseman Dan Marra gave the Maple Leafs the spark they needed in the bottom of the fifth inning, bringing in two runs with a base hit through the gap on the right side of the field.

Two batters later, third baseman Garrett Takamatsu followed suit with an RBI single of his own that scored a pair of runs, cutting the deficit down to just two as the Maple Leafs now trailed 6-4. 

The bottom of the sixth inning saw centre-fielder Connor Lewis was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a passed ball, however the Maple Leafs tacked on another run off of a dropped third strike that saw DH David Alvarez cross the plate. 

Maple Leafs pitcher Wilgenis Alvarado entered the game in the fourth inning and started off strong, retiring six of the first eight batters he faced, however the Jackfish got a couple runs back in the top of the seventh inning to make it an 8-5 ballgame, highlighted by a solo home run to straightaway centre-field from Pearce.

Alvarado finished with seven strikeouts over four innings pitched with only one earned run. 

The Jackfish looked to none other than Deivy Mendez, with the task of shutting down the Maple Leafs in the last three innings. The 27-year-old did exactly that. 

Mendez struck out six batters over his three innings of work to secure his IBL-leading sixth save of the year, as the Jackfish tacked on one more final run in the top of the ninth inning, taking down the Maple Leafs 9-5. 

“You definitely want to try and get up for these games a little more and give these guys a little bit of a taste of what it’ll be like in the playoffs,” said Greene. “You want to win these games but it just didn’t happen today.”

The Maple Leafs are back on home soil on Wednesday night at 7:35 p.m. as the Barrie Baycats come to Dominico Field riding a seven-game win streak. 

The postgame report is brought to you by Woodbine Racetrack, official sponsor of the Toronto Maple Leafs.