Maple Leafs Get Back at Cardinals With 8-5 Win

By Rob Vona

The Toronto Maple Leafs took home an 8-5 win over the Hamilton Cardinals on Sunday at Dominico Field. 

Maple Leafs pitcher Sam Greene picked up his second win of the year with a strong six innings of work that saw the 26-year-old surrender two runs while striking out four batters. 

After two scoreless innings from both sides, centre-fielder Clayton Keyes and the visiting Cardinals opened up the scoring with an RBI double. 

Keyes would later come around to score to make it a 2-0 lead, courtesy of an RBI single from catcher Luis Bernardo.

The Maple Leafs threatened in the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded and one out, left-fielder J.J. Dutton reached first via an error from Cardinals first baseman Josh Niles. The error allowed for third baseman Johnathan Solazzo and second baseman Dan Marra to score, tying the game up at two. 

Marra - who finished with a team high three hits - led off the sixth inning with a double, followed by a batted ball from DH Ryan Burnside that allowed for Marra to advance to third base after an error from the centre-fielder. 

Dutton then recorded his third RBI in as many games with a base hit, to give the Maple Leafs their first lead of the game, 3-2. 

After the 20-year-old stole second base, right-fielder Greg Carrington hit a sacrifice fly to score Burnside, extending the lead to 4-2. 

Shortstop Jose Vinicio’s only hit of the day came in the sixth inning, an RBI single that allowed for Dutton to score. Vinicio later scored after Solazzo hit his own RBI single to make it a 6-2 ballgame. 

With the RBI base hit, Solazzo now leads the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) in RBI with 19. 

The two teams traded runs in the seventh and eighth inning, a home run from DH Dennis Dei Baning in the top of the seventh was matched with an RBI single from Burnside in the bottom half of the inning.

The eighth inning rolled around and Niles cashed in Keyes with a single. Again, only to be matched with an RBI single from Ryan Dos Santos, bringing in catcher Justin Marra to make it a 8-4 game with one inning to go. 

Maple Leafs reliever Wilgenis Alavarado entered the game in the ninth inning after two innings of relief from Daniel Procopio, Alvarado served up a home run to pinch hitter Tanner Rempel to lead off the inning, but settled down afterwards, securing the 8-5 win for the Maple Leafs, who improve to a 7-3 record. 

The Maple Leafs and Cardinals will meet again for their third game in a row on Friday, June 9, at Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.