Royals edge Leafs again to grab lead in quarter-final series
GUELPH – The Guelph Royals are a win away from advancing to the Intercounty Baseball League’s semifinals since 2012.
Sunday, the fifth-place Royals held on to edge the fourth-place Toronto Maple Leafs 7-6 at Dominico Field at Christie Pits to grab a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five quarter-final.
The Royals led 7-3 after five and a half innings before the Leafs added a run in the bottom of the sixth. That score stood until the bottom of the ninth when the Leafs collected two more runs and left one on base.
Guelph starter Edwin Javier walked the first two batters he faced in the ninth, Justin Marra and Johnathan Solazzo, on nine pitches as his pitch count for the game reached 169 (101 strikes).
After that the Royals called in David Hatt and he yielded a single to Marcus Knecht that drove Justin Marra home and moved Salazzo to second. Hatt got Zac Orchard to hit into a double play, but Solazzo went to third on the play and he scored on a single by Garret Takamatsu.
Aaron Hornostaj, the Woodstock native who played 18 games of Triple-A ball with the Fresno Grizzlies in the San Francisco Giants organization 12 years ago, ran the count to 3-2 before he flied out to centre fielder Ethan Mohan to end the game.
For the Royals, Angel Villalona hit a two-run homer in the second and they had four hits for the four runs in the fifth. Jon Waltenbury was walked and a single by Sean Reilly brought an end to Toronto starter Andrew Simonetti’s game. Reliever Pedro De Los Santos struck out the first batter he faced and then issued a walk to Villalona to load the bases. Justin Interisano and Brendan Keys hit back-to-back singles, each scoring a run, and Liam Hicks hit into a fielder’s choice to score another run. Darius Barlas followed with another run-scoring single.
Villalona’s single in the sixth scored Waltenbury with Guelph’s final run of the game.
Javier picked up the win as he gave up the six runs, five earned, off eight hits and five walks in eight innings. He had seven strikeouts. Hatt collected the save as he yielded two hits in the ninth.
Simonetti took the loss for Toronto as he surrendered four runs, two earned, off four hits and three walks in four innings. He struck out three. De Los Santos, Nick DaSilva, Dustin Richardson, Jackson Jones and R.J. Page each saw time on the mound in relief. They combined to yield three earned runs off nine hits and two walks in five innings and they totalled eight strikeouts – five by Richardson in two innings.
Interisano hit three singles for the Royals while Villalona drove in three runs with a homer and a single. Reilly and Keys each hit two singles while Waltenbury smacked a double and Josh Garton, Jeff MacLeod and Barlas each hit one single.
Takamatsu hit three singles for Toronto while Knecht and Orchard each connected for a double and a single.
Fourth game of the series is slated for Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Hastings Stadium. If Toronto wins that one, the fifth and deciding game is to go Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Christie Pits.
Winner of the series is likely to face the second-place Kitchener Panthers in the semifinals. Kitchener completed a sweep of the seventh-place Brantford Red Sox with a 5-2 win Sunday afternoon and the sixth-place Hamilton Cardinals ousted the third-place London Majors with a 7-5 win Sunday afternoon that gave the Cardinals a 3-1 series win.
The first-place Barrie Baycats were to host the eighth-place Burlington Herd Sunday night at Barrie. The Baycats carried a 2-0 lead into that game.
Royals 7 Maple Leafs 6
Guelph 002-041-000 – 7 13 3
Toronto 012-001-002 – 6 10 3
WP: Javier, Guelph.
LP: Simonetti, Toronto.
Save: Hatt, Guelph.
WildP: Javier 3, Guelph; De Los Santos, Richardson, Toronto.
HBP: Javier, Guelph; Simonetti, Toronto.
P-S: Javier 169-101, Hatt 16-11, Guelph; Simonetti 67-43, De Los Santos 25-14, DaSilva 21-14, Richardson 28-22, Jones 18-11, Page 6-3.
HR: Villalona, Guelph.
2B: Waltenbury, Guelph; Knecht, Orchard, Toronto.
HBP: Mohan, Guelph; Tamane, Toronto.
SB: Keys, Guelph.
Team LOB: Guelph 12; Toronto 10.
E: Waltenbury 2, Javier, Guelph; D.Marra, Hornostaj, Lewis, Toronto.
SBA: J.Marra, Toronto.
DP: Guelph 1; Toronto 1.
- Guelph Sports Journal