Maple Leafs get doubled up by Cardinals in loss

By Rob Vona

The Toronto Maple Leafs dropped to a 7-18 record after a 10-5 loss on Sunday afternoon at Dominico Field against the Hamilton Cardinals.

With the loss, the Maple Leafs have dropped 10 of their last 13 games and currently sit two games behind the Kitchener Panthers for the final playoff spot in the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL). 

Hamilton broke the ice just four batters into the game, right-fielder Dennis Dei Banning ripped a line drive to right field, Marcus Knecht misplayed the bouncing ball which saw it roll all the way to the wall, scoring one run. 

Toronto answered in the fourth inning with a solo home run from third baseman John Solazzo, his ninth of the year and fifth in as many games. 

The Maple Leafs capitalized on a dropped third strike, scoring another run, then capping off the fourth inning with a single off the bat of shortstop Charlie Towers. 

Leading 3-1, Angel Castro returned for his fifth inning of work and retired the side in order, but the Cardinals would make some noise in the following inning. 

Hamilton exploded for six runs in the sixth inning on seven hits, highlighted by a screaming double down the left-field line from third baseman Josh Niles. 

Castro saw his day come to an end and was charged with his third loss of the year. 

Trailing 7-3, Toronto tallied two more runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by a booming RBI double off the bat of first baseman Jordan Castaldo. 

Adam Marra and Marek Deska provided the three-and-two-thirds innings of relief and combined for three earned runs on six hits, a two RBI double to deep centre-field from Hamilton’s catcher Connor Hicks made it a 9-3 game, while first baseman Tanner Rempel left the yard in the ninth inning to get the Cardinals into double digits for the first time in their last 5 games - their 12-1 victory over Toronto. 

The Maple Leafs will have an extended break from games after playing the most games in the IBL by any team (25), they will take on the Guelph Royals on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at Hastings Stadium.