If little else, the Hamilton Cardinals put a scare into the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday (June 29) in a senior Intercounty Baseball League encounter.
The Leafs had established an 9-0 lead as the Cards were taking their bats in the fifth inning. Hamilton would score four runs in the inning and added another four in the seventh, before running out of gas and losing, 10-8 at Bernie Arbour Stadium
For the Cardinals Chike Springer went 3-for-5 including a three run home run.
Pretty well most of the damage was done in the second inning when Toronto (10-12) scored eight times. A lead-off walk to Dan Marra led on four straight pitches set the scoring wagon in motion. He advanced to third on Damon Topolie’s single. Justin Gianfrancesco then drew a walk to load up the base and Brandon Dhue’s single brought home the first two runs.
A couple batters later Glenn Jackson doubled to double the Toronto lead to 4-0. But the misery wasn’t over for the Cards. Branfy Arias reach was safe on an error which allowed the fifth run of the inning to cross the plate. Aaron Guinn reached base on another error that scored two more runs. Topolie, making a return engagement to the plate, singled in the eighth run.
Toronto added a single run to make it 9-0 on an Aaron Guinn base hit that scored Dhue in the fifth.
That apparently woke up the Cardinal, but not until they were down to their last out of the inning. Ryan Taylor connected for a two-out single to score Justin Malabanan who also had a two-out single. Nathan Smith followed with a safety to bring in Andrew Jacinto. Chris Redfern doubled to plate Taylor and Smith to make it a 9-4 game.
Aaron Guinn gave the Maple Leafs some more breathing room in the top of the seventh when his single scored Jackson.
In the bottom half of the seventh Hamilton sliced into the Toronto lead once again. Taylor led off the inning with a single and moved to second on Smith’s base hit. Both advanced 90-feet when Redfern drew a walk. Matt McGraw’s sacrifice fly to centre field allowed Taylor to score and Chike Springer, who had a three-for-five night at the plate, reduced the Toronto lead to two runs with a one out, three-run home run to make it 10-8.
The Cardinals had a chance in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game after loading the bases loaded with one out but Chris Piano and Malabanan each flew out to end the game.
For Hamilton (5-17), starter Benson Merritt took the loss, going one a two-thirds innings allowing eight runs, four of which were earned, on five hits while walking three and striking out one. Reliever Neal Lambert went three and a third innings, allowing one earned run on five hits, walking one batter and striking out seven. Johnathan Solazzo started the sixth and went an inning and two-thirds allowing one unearned run on three hits and striking out one. Matt Betts closed out the game going two and a third innings allowing a hit, one walk and striking out two.
For Toronto, Marek Deska earned his sixth win of the season, going six innings allowing four earned runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out seven. Brandon Horgan took over for Deska to start the seventh inning allowing four earned runs on four hits, walking three and striking out two. Drew Taylor got the final two outs to get the save.
The Cardinals will look to celebrate Canada Day and a victory on Sunday in Toronto at Christie Pits when they play the Maple Leafs again.
The Cardinals have rescheduled the rained-out game of June 1 against the Kitchener Panthers for Friday July 6 at Bernie Arbour Stadium.
At the same time, the Cardinals announced that they will hold two special game days during July in support of Breast Cancer Support Services and the Canadian Diabetes Association.
On Sunday, July 8 Hamilton will host the Brantford Red Sox for the sixth annual Pink Ladies Day. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales and draws that day will go to support Breast Cancer Support Services.
The following week, on Sunday, July 15, the Cardinals will host the Burlington Twins for the second annual Canadian Diabetes Association Day. Fans are encouraged to bring clothing and/or household items to help support the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Clothesline Program. Children accompanied by an adult will be able to attend the game free of charge.
“We are pleased that we can support these two worthwhile charities,” said Cardinals owner Drew Brady. “I encourage all our fans and members of the local community to come out to these games to support the these events and charities and see some great baseball.”
Game time for both games is 2 p.m. at Bernie Arbour Stadium located at the corner of Upper Kenilworth and Mohawk Road East.