Big first inning leads Hamilton to win over Toronto

The Cardinals scored seven runs in the first inning helping to propel them to a 9 – 7 win over the Maple Leafs Tuesday night.

With the bases loaded in the first inning, Hamilton’s TJ Baker plated 3 with a double to left field to open the scoring after a single, a walk and an error began the inning.

Toronto’s Damon Topolie and Adam Marra cut the lead to 5 in the second with back to back singles each scoring a run.

Hamilton pushed the lead back to 7 in the bottom of the 5th when Jake Chiaravalle doubled to right field earning two RBIs.

Toronto clawed their way back through the later innings scoring 3 in the 6th and 1 a piece in the 7th and 8th, but it was not enough to make up for the Cardinals early offensive explosion.

Starting Pitcher Andrew Mercer was handed the loss for Toronto in his first start of the season surrendering 7 runs over 3 innings pitched.

Kyle Adoranti picked up the win despite giving up 6 earned runs over six and one-third innings pitched.

The loss gives Toronto a losing record of 6 – 7 on the year. The win is only the second of the season for a struggling Hamilton team (2 – 9) whose main weakness so far has been their pitching with a combined team era of 8.49.



Hard-throwing Procopio stifles Leafs’ offense

MONDAY, JUNE 12 – TORONTO –  The Toronto Maple Leafs looked sluggish Monday night as they fell to a hot Kitchener Panthers ball club 11 – 2 at Dominico Field.

The Panthers were led by fireball pitcher Daniel Procopio who held the Leafs to just 5 hits and 2 runs over 9 innings.

In the fourth inning, a member of Kitchener’s Coaching staff put on a temperamental display and was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Csaba Vegh.

Later in the fourth, it was Toronto that opened the scoring when Daniel Szpic grounded out with the bases loaded scoring a runner.

Kitchener got the run back and more in the top of the 5th cashing in 6 runs over multiple hits and chasing Leafs’ starting pitcher Zack Sloan who was handed the loss.

The Panthers continued to see the ball well scoring 5 more off of Toronto’s side-arm lefty pitcher Adam Marra in the top of the ninth.

The Leafs could not seem to catch up to Procopio’s fastball who, though occasionally struggling with control, managed to strike out 7 Leafs batters through 5 innings of work.

The lone bright spot at the plate for the Leafs was catcher Jason Marra who went 2 for 4 with an RBI.

The loss wraps up a home and home stand for the Leafs in what is turning out to be a busy week of baseball for the club. The team is in the midst of a streak of three games in consecutive days due to weather cancelling games earlier in the month.

With the loss, Toronto drops to 6 and 6 on the season and 4th place in the IBL standings. The win puts Kitchener at 10 – 2.

Toronto will travel to Hamilton tomorrow to take on the Cardinals at 7:30 p.m. Their next home game will be Sunday at 2 p.m. when they play the Burlington Herd at Christie Pitts.

An analysis of the ejection fest that was Brantford’s ninth inning

During Sunday’s afternoon game against Toronto, the Brantford Red Sox saw two of their players and their manager ejected for arguing calls with the umpire in the ninth inning. It was tied 5 – 5 and came at an important point in the game for the Red Sox made even more critical by the fact that they’ve started slowly this year with a 2 – 9 record. Unfortunately, the team’s discipline eroded, and it may have had a hand in costing them the game.

The implosion began after a strike three call in the top of the ninth inning. After the strikeout, [erhaps showing inexperience or lack of discipline, the batter, Chris Dennis, threw his helmet and bat towards his team’s bench and was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Mitch Broser.

This was a questionable call by Broser who had neglected to throw out a Toronto player earlier in the game for similar behaviour after a strikeout. So, understandably, down from third base trotted Red Sox manager Romeo Shanelley to argue the ejection. It made sense for Shanelley to defend his player for showing what seemed to be reasonable anger after striking out. However, this is where Brantford’s wheels began to fall off.

After a minute or two of arguing Broser tossed Shanelley who was continuing to complain about the poor officiating before saying something to the effect of: Well, what can you expect? It’s the Pit. I’m paraphrasing, but this could be taken as a shot not just at the umpire, but at Toronto baseball and its fans in general. Shanelley did not say this that loudly, but it was audible to the fans seated in the bleachers around home plate.

This decorum was then mimicked by players on the Red Sox bench who continued jeering the officials. One more Brantford player was ejected by the first base umpire, but I’m not even sure if they actually left.

The game moved on. It was then Toronto’s turn to bat and Julian Johnson ended the night abruptly by hitting a walk-off home run to opposite field to seal the game.

So, are Brantford’s actions defensible? Yes and no. Earlier in the inning, a close out at first had been recorded after the third baseman scooped up a chopper that appeared to have bounced foul. I had a perfect view of the ball as I was sitting behind home plate and to the right and it did appear to be foul. Home plate umpire Broser had the same view and let the play continue. Shanelley, who was acting as third base coach throughout the night, also had a great view of the play and saw differently. This probably led to a lot of the anger he decided to unleash on Broser at the end of the inning.

However, this doesn’t excuse Shanelley’s comments against Toronto baseball and “The Pitt” in general. It most likely led to his team losing composure and may have had a hand in fueling Toronto towards hitting their homerun in the bottom of the ninth.

Shannelley was right to defend his batter after the ejection, but may have revealed some deep-seated loathing of Toronto and its baseball team last night, and that is hard to forgive. ICBL managers must treat the game and its fans with respect if they want to see the league grow and attract more people to the park.


Leafs win a wild one over Brantford

Leafs improve to 6 – 5 on season

SUNDAY, JUNE 11 – TORONTO –  The Maple Leafs defeated the Brantford Red Sox 6 – 5 with a walk-off home run by Julian Johnson in the bottom of the 9th inning.

The dramatic ending capped off a wild game that saw two Brantford players and the team’s manager ejected for arguing that a chopper down the third baseline was a foul ball.

The Leafs held the lead most of the night until the top of the 8th when the Red Sox dramatically tied the game.

Both teams swung a hot bat throughout the afternoon. Toronto had 10 hits over 9 innings. The Leafs also drew 6 walks and chased several Red Sox pitchers from the mound.

With the win, the Maple Leafs improve to 6 – 5 on the season. Their next game will see them take on the Kitchener Panthers Monday, June 12 at 7:00 p.m. at Christie Pitts Park in Toronto.