Maple Leafs hang on for win against Cardinals

By Rob Vona

The Toronto Maple Leafs hung on for an 11-10 win on Friday night against the Hamilton Cardinals at Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium. 

Jacob Underwood, the Cardinals third baseman got his team on the board first with a double in the bottom of the second inning that scored two runs. 

Those two runs were the only runs surrendered by Maple Leafs starting pitcher Wilgenis Alvarado, who got credited with his second consecutive - and second overall - win of the 2023 season in his six inning outing. 

The Maple Leafs rallied with two outs in the third inning, stringing together three consecutive base hits, all of which cashed in a run as they took a 3-2 lead. 

After a quiet middle three innings from both sides, Maple Leafs third baseman Johnathan Solazzo opened the floodgates with a grand slam in the seventh inning to cap off a seven run frame for the visitors who now owned a 10-2 lead. 

With the grand slam, Solazzo now sits in a tie for second place in the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) home run race with 13, he also finished with a game-high five RBI. 

The Cardinals, now facing Julian Tymochko, scored their third run of the game in the bottom of the seventh inning courtesy of a solo blast from Underwood. He finished the game with a team-high four RBI. 

Although Justin Marra, the Maple Leafs catcher was quick to respond with an RBI single of his own in the top of the eighth inning, the Cardinals exploded for a whopping seven runs in the bottom half of the eighth inning.

Four singles and two wild pitches allowed for 11 Cardinals batters to come to the plate as Adam Marra recorded the final out of the eighth inning in what was now a one-run ballgame. 

Adam Marra took to the mound in the ninth inning, looking for the four-out save. 

After quickly retiring the first two batters he faced, he was soon faced with runners on first and third base with the Cardinals’ hottest hitter - Underwood - at the plate. 

Marra got the third baseman to fly out to Yoichi Ishihara in left field and record his third save of the season as the Maple Leafs walked away with the 11-10 win.

The Maple Leafs are back in action on Saturday night at 7:15 p.m. for their third of four consecutive games, this time, a matchup against the first-place Welland Jackfish at Welland Stadium.  

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