Panthers Rally Late to Snatch Victory Away From Leafs in Wild Affair

by Ryan Eakin

TORONTO -- Well, it didn't lack entertainment value.

The Kitchener Panthers scored six runs in the top of the eighth inning to come back and defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 14-12 on Wednesday evening to improve to 8-13 on the season.

The Leafs go to 12-10 with the loss.

Kitchener starter Jacob Douglas took a no-decision, allowing six earned runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings of work.

Panthers reliever Grant Shantz picked up the win in relief despite allowing four earned runs on four hits and one walk in two innings pitched.

Kitchener starter-turned-closer Christian Hauck picked up the save.

Kitchener second basemen Stephen Whalen led the charge at the plate for the Panthers, going four-for-five while batting in three runs.

Toronto starting pitcher Zach Sloan took a no-decision, allowing four earned runs on nine hits and three walks in what can be described as an off-night for the lefty.

The former Canisius Golden Griffin did manage to strike out nine Panthers batters, however.

Maple Leafs reliever Chris Nagorski took the loss, allowing two earned runs on three hits in one and two-thirds innings pitched.

KITCHENER - 14-18-2

TORONTO - 12-13-2

BIGGEST PLAY OF THE GAME: Down a run in the top of the eighth inning, Panthers centre fielder Eric Martin hit a three-run, no-doubt bomb to left-centre to give the away side a two-run lead.

DID YOU SEE THAT? In the bottom of the eighth inning, Panthers catcher Simon Grinberg became unable to throw the baseball back to the pitching mound -- let alone to second base on stolen base attempts -- due to an incident of the Yips.

Called the Angry Confines for a reason, the fans at Christie Pits let him hear it in what only could have been a helpless feeling for the rookie standout at catcher for the Panthers.

BY THE NUMBERS...

1. Maple Leafs Johnathan Solazzo hit a grand slam home run in the bottom of the first inning to give the Leafs a 4-2 lead. For Solazzo, it was his long-awaited first home run of the season.

3. A three-hit night for Maple Leafs shortstop Jose Vinicio, who has raised his batting average to .289.

18. The Panthers recorded 18 hits on a night that was not all that kind to the Leafs pitching staff.

LOOKING AHEAD...

The Leafs are right back at it on Thursday when they travel to Barrie to face the Baycats.

From there, they travel to London on Friday in what is shaping up to be the team's busiest week of the season.

Photo: Craig Aikin 

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