Procopio Leads Maple Leafs Over Cardinals
By Rob Vona
The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Hamilton Cardinals on the back of pitcher Daniel Procopio by a score of 8-4 on Sunday at Dominico Field.
Procopio put up the best start of his Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) career, going five-and-two-thirds innings pitched, giving up only one run on six hits while striking out a whopping 13 batters.
“I stopped aiming it [slider] and I started throwing it as hard as I could,” said Procopio on what worked well for him following the game.
The Maple Leafs got out to a fiery start, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Left-fielder Jesse Hodges roped a ball over the left-field fence for a grand slam, giving the Maple Leafs the lead early on.
Third baseman Laine Renaud and the Cardinals responded in the top of the second inning with a double to the centre-field wall that scored a run, cutting into the four run deficit.
The Maple Leafs followed suit, putting up a run of their own in the bottom of the third inning to make it a 5-1 lead, courtesy of an RBI walk from first baseman Jordan Castaldo.
Procopio settled in after giving up the RBI double by retiring 12 of the next 16 batters he faced, nine of which came via the punchout.
The game remained at a standstill until the sixth inning when DH Ryan Burnside hit a single up the middle to bring in the Maple Leafs’ sixth run of the game.
Pitcher Zach Sloan came into the game for the Maple Leafs and gave up back-to-back home runs in the top of the seventh inning.
A two-run shot from centre-fielder Clayton Keyes was followed up on the very next pitch by a solo blast from right-fielder Tyler Duncan as the Cardinals now trailed by only two runs, making it a 6-4 ballgame.
A pair of RBI base hits in the seventh inning from third baseman Johnathan Solazzo and right-fielder Aidan McAskie brought in two runs of insurance for the Maple Leafs to make it an 8-4 lead.
The newly acquired Maple Leafs Taylor Lepard - who made his debut with the team - and Evan Elliott came into the game to work the eighth and ninth innings. The two combined for two innings of shutout baseball while giving up three hits and striking out three batters, sending the Cardinals packing.
“We [have] got good chemistry,” said Procopio on the team. “Even the backup players bring everything every single game and they perform when they need to.”
The Maple Leafs have a quick turnaround as they travel to Brantford, Ont. to take on the Brantford Red Sox at Arnold Anderson Stadium tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.
The post game report is brought to you by Woodbine Racetrack, official sponsor of Maple Leafs baseball.