Royals rally late to down the Leafs

by Neil Srivastava

Photo by Gar Fitzgerald

Make it 14 wins in a row at home for the Guelph Royals following an 8th-inning rally to edge the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 at David E. Hastings Stadium Saturday night.

Outstanding pitching on both sides of the diamond kept the offense in check as Royals ace Claudio Custodio battled Angel Castro for the Leafs. 

With the score tied 2-2 in the 5th inning, Jonathan Solazzo raced home from second base on a passed ball deflected off the glove of Royals catcher Brendan Keys and sounded like it ricocheted off the facing of the stadium's grandstand.   After a lengthy discussion, the call on the field stood giving the Leafs a 3-2 lead.

The Royals rallied to tie the game thanks to a solo homer by Dalton Pompey in the bottom of the 8th inning off Leafs' reliever Dustin Richardson and would take the lead on a two-out error by Grant Tamane who was injured on the play while trying to field a bullet hit by Kyle Kush which forced Tamane to roll around near second base in some severe pain.    

Connor Morro raced home from second on the play to score what would be the winning run.  Tamane left the game thankfully on his own power after a slight delay.

Richardson was tagged with the loss allowing a pair of runs  (one earned)  while Angel Castro got a no-decision despite turning in his best performance since joining the Leafs.

Custodio (10-0) picked up the win pitching 8 innings allowing a pair of earned runs and had 11 strikeouts on the night.   Andrew Case notched the save by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

Josh Garton had a two-run blast for the Royals in the 2nd while Connor Morro added a triple.    The Royals outhit the Leafs 5-4 on the night.

With the win, the Royals clinched at least third place in the IBL standings and set up a first-round match-up between the Leafs and Barrie Baycats.

The Royals travel to Hamilton Sunday afternoon to face the Cardinals  at 2 pm