An error-filled day proved costly for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Hamilton Cardinals took advantage of seven Toronto errors en route to a 10-8 win in Intercounty Baseball League action, May 27, at the Christie Pits.
Up 3-0 heading to the fifth inning, the Leafs (5-2) fell apart in the field committing three errors that led to six runs, which included a two-run blast by Jake Chiaravalle as the Cardinals (2-2) batted around the order off losing pitcher Zac Sloan.
“That was the difference in the game,” Toronto manager Damon Topolie said. “Seven errors is not acceptable. It’s just one of those days you chalk it up to the other team being better than us.”
The Leafs got off to a solid start when Jonathan Solazzo singled home Mike Reeves in the first inning and then Justin Marra hammered a two-run homer, his league-leading fifth of the season, in the third inning off winning Hamilton starter Josh Freeman (2-0) to put Toronto up, 3-0.
Sloan (3-1) was in control after four innings, but after Hamilton’s Chris Beer led off the next inning with a walk, Connor Lewis dropped a lazy fly ball to centre by Grant Arnold and another two errors later the Cardinals would rack up six unearned runs off the lefty starter.
“It’s something you’ve got to bounce back from,” said Marra, who finished 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBI. “You make an error you’ve got to get the next one and minimize the damage.
“You can’t let it get out of hand like that. And that’s what cost us.”
The Cardinals tacked four more runs on nine hits and a walk, including a solo home run in the seventh inning by Connor Bowie, off Andrew Simonetti. The Leafs reliever gave up just two earned runs, while striking out a pair over four innings. Sloan gave up six hits and five walks, while striking out six in his five innings.
“Our pitching wasn’t bad, it just came down to the errors,” Marra said. “We have seven errors and they had none and it came down to being the difference.”
The Leafs trailed 10-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth, but they got to Hamilton relievers Arma Lakhani and Bryan Hames for a combined four runs before Justin Snow got the final two outs to record the save and end the late rally.
Solazzo had the big blow when he greeted Hames in relief of Lakhani with a two-run double to score Marcus Knecht and Reeves.
Orchard single off Snow brought home Marra and made it 10-8, but it was as close as Toronto would get.
“That’s the one positive today is that we didn’t quit,” Topolie said.
The Leafs will look to bounce back on May 30th when they host the Kitchener Panthers at Christie Pits. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
“We’re trying to minimize these losses,” Marra said. “We know we have something special and we’ve got to keep running with it. We just have to put this one behind us and get ready for the next one.”
PHOTO: Jonathan Solazzo drove in three runs for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it wasn’t enough as seven errors proved too much to overcome in a 10-8 loss to the Hamilton Cardinals at Christie Pits, May 27. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS PHOTO