The Hamilton Cardinals held on to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first wild card game in Intercounty Baseball League history.
The win moves the Cards into the IBL’s quarter-finals. They’ll face the Kitchener Panthers in a best-of-five series starting Saturday night in Kitchener.
Game two is Sunday, 2 p.m. at Bernie Arbour Stadium.
Game three is Aug. 5, 7:30 p.m. in Kitchener.
Game four, if needed, is Aug. 6, 7:30 p.m. at Bernie Arbour Stadium.
Game five, if needed, is Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m. in Kitchener.
At Christie Pits in Toronto Thursday night the Cards went up 4-0 in the second inning and held on to win 5-4.
Kyle Gappa, Cam Wilkie and Marcus Dicenzo all singled in the second to load up the bases. Andris Rizquez would then single in two runs. John Solazzo would then ground out but it allowed Dicenzo to come in and score. With two out in the inning Dre Celestijn singled to bring in the fourth run of the inning for Hamilton. Toronto got on the board in their half of the second on a solo home run by Damon Topolie.
Dicenzo led off the fourth with a single for the Cardinals and later scored on a Solazzo single to give Hamilton a 5-1 lead.
In the sixth, Dan Marra led off with a single for the Maple Leafs and advanced to second on Raul Borjas’ ground out. Jon Waltenbury then doubled to put runners on second and third before Topolie grounded out for the second out of the inning, but was able to score Marra to cut Hamilton’s lead to 5-2.
Toronto added a couple runs in the bottom of the seventh to make it a one-run game. Jalen Harris drew a walk to open the inning and then advanced to second on Darryl Pui’s single. Glenn Jackson would then draw a walk to load up the bases. With two outs in the books, Raul Borjas would single to bring in two runs to cut Hamilton’s lead to 5-4 through seven innings.
The teams would each have a scoreless eighth inning and Toronto held the Cardinals off the board in the ninth to set up an exciting finish to the game. Solazzo would move from third base to the mound for the bottom of the ninth. He would get Pui to ground out and then strikeout Grant Tamane. Jackson looked to keep Toronto alive, but he would fly out to third base in foul territory to give the Cardinals the wild card victory.
For the Cardinals, Brett van Pelt picked up the win going six and a third innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out three. Matt Betts and Tanner Guindon would combine to finish the seventh inning with Betts allowing a hit. Tomas Rincon then came in to strikeout two batters and induce a fly ball in the eighth. Solazzo would pick up the save for his performance in the ninth inning.
For Toronto, Marek Deska took the loss allowing all five Hamilton runs on eight hits, walking one and striking out five over four innings. Justin Lawrence relieved Deska to start the fifth and went two and a third innings allowing a hit, giving up a walk and striking out two. Justin Cicatello would go the rest of the way for the Maple Leafs, allowing two hits and striking out one over two and two-thirds innings.