Maple Leafs Lose in Extra Innings Again

By Rob Vona

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost 7-4 to the Welland Jackfish in extra innings on Sunday afternoon at Dominico Field. 

With the loss, the Maple Leafs sit with a 13-13 record, dropping to .500 for the first time this year. 

“Those are always tough to lose,” said Maple Leafs catcher Justin Marra following the game. “It’s one of those regular season games where you learn from it and you come back and get ready for the next one.”

Wilgenis Alvarado, who made his second consecutive start against the Jackfish, was looking to build off of his scoreless, eight inning outing just eight days ago. 

Centre-fielder Gianfranco Morello got to Alvarado in the top of the first inning, hitting a solo home run to give the Jackfish the early 1-0 lead. 

Marra responded with a two-run blast in the bottom of the third inning to left-field, his eighth of the year, to give the Maple Leafs their first lead of the game.

It was not long until the Jackfish regained the lead, a two-run home run of their own off the bat of third baseman Steven Moretto that just stayed fair down the left-field line gave the visiting team the one-run lead yet again. 

The two teams went punch-for-punch as the Maple Leafs tied the game at three in the bottom of the fourth inning with an RBI double down the left field line from centre-fielder Ryan Dos Santos.

Jackfish starting pitcher James Bradwell retired two of the first four batters he faced in the bottom of the sixth inning, leaving reliever Adam Jafine with a two-out, two runners on situation. 

Jafine would walk the next two batters he faced before getting out of the inning, bringing in the fourth run of the game for the Maple Leafs who owned their second lead of the game with three innings to play. 

Sam Cawker, would bring in the tying run for the Jackfish in the seventh inning via a sac-fly to centre-field. 

After Maple Leafs reliever Evan Elliott ran into some trouble in the eighth inning, third baseman Jesse Hodges made a diving grab on the rocketed ball off of newly-acquired Jackfish Carlos Martinez to end the inning off with a spectacular double-play. 

After a quiet ninth inning from both sides, the game needed a 10th inning to decide a winner. 

The Jackfish tacked on three runs in the top of the 10th inning off of Julian Valdez via an RBI single from Morello, a sac-fly from Martinez and an infield single from third baseman James Smibert - who is in a three way tie for most hits in the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) with 43. 

After giving up his first extra-base hit of the season in the bottom of the ninth inning, reliever Deivy Mendez was back out to finish the game in the 10th inning.

Mendez cruised through the final three outs, striking out two batters, giving the Jackfish their sixth win in a row. 

“It’s been a bit of a tough stretch but we’ve actually been playing good baseball,” said Marra when asked about overcoming the recent losses. “Put it behind you, get some rest and get healthy.”

The Maple Leafs have five off-days after playing eight games in 16 days before heading to Hastings Stadium for a 2:00 p.m. matchup with the Guelph Royals.