Some early defensive miscues proved to be too much for the Toronto Maple Leafs to dig themselves out of.
The Guelph Royals took advantage of the costly mistakes to score five times in the second inning and then rode the strong arm of starting pitcher Fernando Ferandez-Beltran en route to a 10-5 win in Intercounty Baseball League action, May 26, at Christie Pits.
With Guelph (2-3) up, 1-0, heading into the top of the second inning, Toronto starter Marek Deska plunked leadoff hitter Angel Villalona and then could only watch as a catchable fly ball fell in for a single. Brendan Keys loaded the bases when he reached on a Ryan Santos error at shortstop.
Deska (1-1) struck out Ethan Hammond for what should have been the third out, but back-to-back doubles by Darius Barlas and Ethan Mohan provided the key damage and the Royals would bat around the lineup to take a commanding 6-0 lead, and never looked back.
“That’s the story of the game, that one inning,” said Toronto manager Damon Topolie, whose club has now dropped three straight to sink to 3-4. “Deska, I thought, pitched really well. He just didn’t get any lucky breaks. We haven’t been making the routine plays and it’s costing us right now.
“We actually outhit them (12-9), but were on the losing side of the scoreboard.”
Deska would last four innings, giving up eight runs, six earned, on seven hits. He struck out five.
At the plate the Leafs had their chances, but couldn’t come up with a key hit against Fernandez-Beltran (1-0). Other than giving up back-to-back homers in the fifth inning by Justin Marra and Marcus Knecht, the Guelph starter escaped when he had to. In his six innings of work, he gave up just the two runs on 10 hits, while striking out six.
“We were just one hit away,” said Santos, who got on base three times. “That’s how it was all game. We were consistently on base and had good chances all game, but luck wasn’t on our side today.”
Sean Reilly homered twice for Guelph and drove in a pair of runs, while Josh Garton also went deep.
Toronto would strand 12 baserunners, but it was defensive miscues that proved to be the difference in this one. Toronto will now look to turn things around May 29 when they host the Kitchener Panthers.
“We just got to clean up our defence,” Topolie said. “We got to start making those routine plays, it’s costing us. We can’t be playing catch-up in every game and that’s the case right now. We’re going to put some extra work in defensive drills and we’ll get back at her.”
After starting the year 3-1, the Leafs have been outscored 40-11 in the last three games.
“We just have to stay positive,” Santos said. “Stay on the hood, stay aggressive and I think things will turn around.”
Game time against Kitchener is 7:30 p.m.
Photo: Justin Cicatello pitched three shutout innings of relief, but it wasn’t enough as the Toronto Maple Leafs fell, 10-5, to the Guelph Royals in IBL action, May 26, at Christie Pits.