GUTSY RALLY FALLS SHORT AS TORONTO PLAYGROUNDS BATTLED BACK FROM AN 8-1 DEFICIT AT CHRISTIE PITS
Beneath sunny summer skies at Christie Pits Diamond 3 this evening, the Royal York 2 Cardinals topped the Toronto Playgrounds Mosquito Select team 8-6 in four innings of EBA Select regular season action.
Royal York burst out of the starting gate in the top of the first with two quick runs to spring ahead. Yet, Mosquito Select starting pitcher Maxwell (4) exercised tremendous grace under pressure in holding the Cardinals to two runs with a strong two strikeout effort.
Cardinals starter Stasyszyn (81) struck out the first two TP batters that he faced in the bottom of the first. However, the next three Mosquito Select hitters reached base on a walk, hit batsman, and a walk to load the bases. Stasyszyn regained his poise and struck out the next TP batter to extricate himself from a major mondo pickle.
In the top of the second, Royal York added two more runs to stretch their lead to 4-0. The defensive highlight of the inning was a superb catch of a deep fly ball by TP centrefielder Max (7) to record the first out.
TP scored one run in the bottom of the second to trim the deficit to three. With one out, Brian (25) drew a walk and proceeded to steal two bases to reach third. Brian blazed home on an errant throw by the Royal York catcher with the Mosquito Selects first run. Backed by some solid defensive play by his teammates, Cardinals starter Stasyszyn continued to stymie the potent TP offense in the second by limiting them to a run.
However, the Cardinals took advantage of a single and six walks issued by the TP bullpen in the top of the third to score four runs and surge ahead 8-1.
With their backs against the wall, the Mosquito Selects refused to wave the white flag of surrender and answered back with four runs of their own in the bottom of the third to trim the margin to 8-5. After Oliver (9) had singled to lead off the inning, he proceeded to steal second. However, the throw from Royal York catcher Ross (12) to nab Oliver sailed rocky mountain high and rolled into no man’s land in right centre field. Oliver proceeded to turn on the jets and hustle all the way home and score.
Energized by Oliver’s effort, Maxwell (4) and Ben (5) fought off some tough pitches at the plate from Stasyszyn of the Cardinals to draw a pair of walks. With one out and two baserunners aboard, Zachary (32) delivered a clutch 2 RBI single to bring Maxwell and Ben homeward bound. After a walk to Jack (27), Adam (18) hit into a fielder’s choice that allowed Zack to blaze home with TP’s final run of the inning.
With the momentum back in their sails, it was pertinent at this juncture for the Mosquito Selects to prevent the Cardinals from scoring any more runs in the top of the fourth to give them a fighting chance to make a comeback. And TP delivered the prerequisites in spades.
Leading off the fourth inning, Haslam (6) of Royal York slashed a nasty nubbler into the gravel in front of home plate. However, TP catcher Oliver (9) charged out from behind the plate to pick up the dying quail and threw a laser strike to first baseman Jeremy (11) to catch the hustling Haslam in a close play at first to record the first out.
After a one out walk, TP reliever Max (7) kept Royal York off the scoring ledger as he icily struck out the next two Cardinals to close out the inning and give his team a chance to rally.
TP gamely rallied with one run in the bottom of the fourth trim the deficit to two. Kyle (1) of the Mosquito Selects led off with a hard hit ground ball that the Cardinals second baseman was unable to handle cleanly. In a panic, the Royal York second baseman made an errant throw to first in an attempt to catch the hustling Kyle. The resulting error allowed Kyle to advance to second. Brian followed with a single that allowed Kyle to advance to third. However, another Cardinals defensive miscue allowed Kyle to zoom home with a run.
Shaken, but not stirred, Royal York closer Pimentel (12) regained his composure and recorded next three outs to close out the victory for the Cardinals.
EXTRA INNINGS: Kudos to TP reliever Max (7) for pitching a scorless 1 1/3 innings with three strikeouts to give his team an opportunity to rally. Max also made an all star catch in centre field in the second inning for the first out; Kudos to Oliver (9) for his hustle. Oliver’s efforts energized the Mosquito Selects dugout as they scored four runs in the fourth. Oliver also made a great defensive play as the TP catcher in the fourth inning as he was the catalyst in a spectacular 2-3 putout; Kudos to Zachary (32) for his clutch 2 run single in the third. Zack went 1 for 1 at the dish with 2 RBI, one run scored, one walk and two stolen bases; Kudos to Brian (25) for going 1 for 1 at the plate with a RBI, one run scored, walk, and two stolen bases.