Maple Leafs walk off Majors in 11 innings

By Rob Vona

The Toronto Maple Leafs snapped their five game losing streak with a 7-6 walk off victory over the London Majors on Sunday afternoon at Dominico Field. 

“It was a huge win for us, we’ve been struggling a lot lately and this was a great team win all-around,” said Maple Leaf third-baseman John Solazzo, “Everyone chipped in and did their part.”

The Majors opened up the scoring with a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, left-fielder Starling Joseph left the yard over the left-field wall to make it a 2-0 game. 

Maple Leafs left-fielder Ryan Dos Santos quickly followed suit, launching a solo shot to left-field to cut the lead in half after two innings of play. 

London had an answer as they blasted a pair of solo home runs, one off the bat of first baseman Kaiden Cardoso in the third inning and one from third baseman Victor Plaz in the fourth inning. 

Solazzo answered the bell, crushing a solo shot to straightaway centre-field in the bottom half of the fourth inning, making it a 4-2 game. 

Just as the Majors had been doing all game, they used another long ball to tack more runs on the board, a laser off the bat of catcher Eduardo De Oleo left the yard in a hurry.

Five innings was all that Jesse Hodges, the Maple Leafs starting pitcher would see, he left with five earned runs and six strikeouts. 

Trailing 5-2 heading into the sixth inning, Toronto manufactured a run on a sacrifice-fly to centre-field off the bat of right-fielder Marcus Knecht, which was immediately followed by another solo blast off the bat of Solazzo, this one clearing the left-field wall. 

“A lot of pitchers nowadays are pitching me away,” said Solazzo. “What makes a great hitter is changing their


The Majors brought in Jonathan Henry in the eighth inning to relieve Jose Arias of his lengthy outing, after retiring the first four batters he faced, pinch hitter Chris Robinson laced a double to the wall in the bottom of the ninth inning. 

Down to their final out, it was second baseman Dan Marra who punched a single into left-field to score the tying run and send the game into extra innings.

After a scoreless 10th inning, London worked a sac-fly in the 11th to take the 6-5 lead. 

A throwing error from Plaz allowed for Toronto to find themselves with runners on the corners and no outs, a fielder’s choice off the bat of pinch-hitter Greg Carrington cashed in the tying run.

With one out, Carrington called his shot and stole second base under his own volition. 

“In that opportunity it’s already a tie game, if I get out we don’t lose anything, we have another chance to come up and I trust my teammates,” said Carrington following the game. “Getting in scoring position is a big thing right there.”

Carrington advanced to third base on a ground out as the Maple Leafs had the winning run just 90 feet away with two outs. 

A wild pitch from Henry saw Carringotn make a mad-dash for the plate, sliding in a beating the throw, the Maple Leafs faithful erupted as the team fought back for an electrifying 7-6 win. 

The Maple Leafs bullpen trio of Taylor Lepard, Sam Greene and Julian Valdez combined for six innings of one-run baseball that saw them strike out right batters and surrender only four hits.

It’s a quick turnaround for Toronto as they take on the Chatham-Kent Barnstormers on Canada Day at 6:05 p.m. at Fergie Jenkins Field.