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Guelph Royals leading Leafs when playoff opener halted

TORONTO – The Guelph Royals hold a 2-0 lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs in their Intercounty Baseball League playoff opener that was suspended with the Leafs batting in the bottom of the fifth inning Thursday night on Dominico Field at Christie Pits.

Lightning with Toronto’s Ryan Dos Santos on first with nobody out following a bunt single put the game in a suspended mode after an hour and a half of play.

The Royals collected single runs in the first and fifth innings for their lead as Toronto ace Wilgenis Alvarado struggled. He threw 82 pitches in five innings including 26 in the first inning.

In the first, Guelph’s leadoff batter J.D. Williams was walked and he went to second on a single by Conner Morro. Josh Garton hit into a fielder’s choice, the Leafs getting Morro out at second while Williams went to third and he scored on a sacrifice fly to centre field by Malik Collymore.

Guelph ace Claudio Custodio also threw a lot of pitches in the first inning, 24 of them, but managed to keep the hosts scoreless. He’d settle down after that with the bunt single by Dos Santos in the fifth coming off Custodio’s 60th pitch.

The other run for the Royals came in the fifth when Garton unloaded on a pitch and sent the ball well over the right field fence to land on a Little League diamond.

Garton was the second Guelph batter up in the inning, the first inning the Royals failed to get their leadoff batter on base. Kyle Kush singled to centre to start the second, Garton singled to third to start the third and Chris Robinson was hit by a pitch to begin the fourth.

The Royals stranded six runners, two each in the first three innings, while Toronto left four on in the first four innings. Both teams came away from the third scoreless despite each having the bases loaded before the fielding team recorded double plays.

A light rain started falling at the beginning of the third and lightning was first seen in the distance in the top of the fifth right before Garton’s huge homer.

Rain plagued the opening night of the league’s playoffs as three of the four games were suspended due to the precipitation and lightning.

London Majors were leading Kitchener Panthers 3-1 in the third when that game in Kitchener was called and Welland Jackfish were up 8-4 on Brantford Red Sox in the sixth inning when that game was suspended.

The only game that played a complete nine innings saw the Barrie Baycats register a 9-8 victory over the Hamilton Cardinals at Barrie’s Vintage Throne Stadium. The Cardinals and Baycats both played a role in making it a close match as Hamilton scored two runs in the ninth inning of a game that saw Barrie commit six errors leading to four unearned runs. Hayden Jaco had a solo homer in the fifth for Barrie.

Three of the series are to play Friday night with Barrie at Hamilton, Kitchener at London and Welland at Brantford.

The Royals are to host the Leafs Saturday at Hastings Stadium. Game time is 7:30 p.m.


  • Guelph Sports Journal