Hamilton’s pitching staff combined to allow four hits while striking out 10 Maple Leaf batters to earn a 3-0 shutout victory over Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday (May 25). The win was the Cardinals second of the Intercounty Baseball League season, upping their record to 2-4.
The Cardinals got on the board in the bottom of the third inning. Chris Redfern singled and advanced to second base on Nathan Smith’s single. Designated hitter Dan Jagdeo stroked a single with two out and brought in Redfern for a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, Smith reached base on his second single of the game. He stole second base and with nobody covering, the throw from the catcher went into centre field allowing Smith to advance to third base. On the next pitch, Jon Saporsantos’ safety to right field plated Smith to give Hamilton a 2-0 lead.
Ryan Taylor led off for the Cardinals in the bottom of the seventh with a single and later scored on Saporsantos’ two-out RBI double to close out the scoring for Hamilton.
The Maple Leafs looked to break up the shutout bid by the Cardinals in the ninth inning. Mike Fortuna gave up singles to Justin Gianfrancesco and Brian Dhue with one out. However, he was able to get Glenn Jackson and Will Richards to fly out to end the game.
The game also featured the return of manager Matt Fortuna to the playing side of the game as he was forced into action when injuries to Matt McGraw and Justin Malabanan sidelined them.
For the Cardinals, Brett van Pelt earned the win going five and a third innings allowing two hits, walking five and striking out eight. Matt Betts would pitch the next two and two-thirds innings walking two batters and striking out another two. Mike Fortuna would get the save pitching the ninth inning allowing two hits.
Offensively, Hamilton had a 3-for-4 effort from Saporsantos, including two singles, a double and one RBI. Zack Ranta had a pair of singles in three trips to the plate and Nathan Smiths’s 2-for-4 showing produced two singles.
For Toronto, Adam Garner took the loss going seven innings, allowing three runs, two of which were earned, on 11 hits while striking out seven. Luke Melnik pitched the final inning for the Maple Leafs allowing one hit and striking out one batter. The Maple Leafs pitchers wouldn’t allow a single walk in the game.
Friday night’s victory moves the Cardinals into seventh place, four games behind the league leading Brantford Red Sox who Hamilton will face the next two days. The Cardinals take on the Red Sox in Brantford on Saturday then return to Bernie Arbour Stadium on Sunday to complete the weekend series. Both games start at 2 p.m.