The Hamilton Cardinals and Toronto Maple Leafs will play a wild card game on Thursday night (July 31).
The Intercounty Baseball League teams will meet at Dominico Field in Toronto’s Christie Pits for the 7:30 p.m. game. The winner advances to the IBL quarter-finals and will play either the Brantford Red Sox or the Kitchener Panthers.
Hamilton won the wild card berth after beating the fifth place Guelph Royals, 16-9, to finish the season in seventh place on Tuesday (July 29). That set up the meeting with the sixth place finishing Maple Leafs. Hamilton’s win also ended the last place Burlington Bandits hopes of post-season activity, Hamilton finished the regular season with an 11-25 mark. Toronto was 16-20.
On Tuesday, Hamilton shot out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning with four hits including a two-run home run from Andris Rizquez. They scored four more in the second inning and were off to the races scoring at least one run in each of the first seven innings, finishing with 19 hits and four home runs. Rizquez hit two home runs, his second and third of the season among his four hits. Chris Beer hit his second home run of the season and scored three runs. Dre Celestijn launched his third home run of the season, scored twice and drove in two runs.
Justin Interisano’s grand slam highlighted a six-run fifth inning for the Royals but the Cardinals lead was too much to overcome.
Matt Betts earned the win in relief allowing one run in 3 2/3 innings and striking out three. Nathan Borgas took the loss for Guelph in a brief one-inning start. Throwing 23 pitches in the first inning, Borgas allowed four runs on four hits and two walks.