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Gibbons Goes Down, Brantford Bullies Toronto

May 20th, 2012 · 1 Comment

BRANTFORD RED SOX 21, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS 7

By Jonah Birenbaum

The combination of an untimely injury to their cleanup hitter, some abysmal pitching, and an unrelenting Red Sox offense proved insurmountable for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday as they fell to Brantford 21–7 at Dominico Field.

Brantford, the 2011 Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) champion, pounded out a staggering 26 hits in the victory, including three home runs. They remain undefeated with a record of 4–0, and take a 2–0 lead in the season series with Toronto.

“Guys just went up there with good approaches,” Red Sox manager Adam Clarke said of this team’s effort. “They made [the Maple Leafs] throw, [were] seeing lots of pitches. They were able to find holes today, too.”

The Red Sox, who ousted Toronto from the playoffs in 2011, wasted no time starting the offensive onslaught. After left fielder Josh McCurdy doubled on the first pitch of the game and shortstop Lee Delfino drew a two-out walk, designated hitter Terrell Alliman drove them both in with a sharp single to stake Brantford to an early 2–0 lead.

Centre fielder Joe Colamero then extended the lead to 4–0 on what proved to be an inside-the-park homerun when Toronto right fielder Dan Gibbons failed to get the ball to the infield after crashing into the outfield fence chasing down Colamero’s drive. Colamero would add another round-tripper in the eighth, finishing the day 3-for-6 with four RBI.

Gibbons, Toronto’s cleanup hitter, had to be helped off the field and was consequently replaced by Jesse Bartle, who performed admirably in his stead, going 1-for-5 with an RBI. Losing Gibbons—who batted .393 in 2011—for an extended period of time would be a serious blow to Toronto, whose .231 team batting average ranked dead last in the IBL entering Sunday’s contest.

“I’m a little concerned about Danny [Gibbons],” said Toronto manager Tim Harkness. “He might be done.”

After a rough first inning, Toronto starter Brett Lawson fared no better in the second, surrendering another three runs on five hits. The towering right-hander was pulled after giving up seven runs over just two frames, and has now taken the loss in consecutive starts.

“They got Lawson’s number there pretty good,” said Harkness, who added that today’s loss “verifies [his] concern” about Toronto’s lack of depth in the pitching rotation.

While the Maple Leafs entertained the prospect of a comeback after a four-run explosion in the bottom of the second keyed by a bases-loaded, three-run double by shortstop Tyler Fata, these notions were quickly dispelled after Brantford responded with another run in the fourth and four more in the fifth.

The Red Sox scattered another nine runs over the game’s final four frames, decimating Toronto’s relief corps in the process. By day’s end, the Maple Leafs bullpen surrendered 14 runs on 18 hits and three walks over seven innings of work.

And while it was uninspired pitching that drew the ire of Maple Leafs fans on Sunday, Harkness still mentioned that Toronto’s offense needs to improve, particularly with runners in scoring position.

“We never come through with guys on base,” he said. “That’s the biggest concern I have about our hitting.”

However, beyond performance, Harkness said his team needs to be sharper mentally in order to have consistent success. At 2–4, Toronto currently sits just one win ahead of the last place Burlington Twins in the IBL standings.

“We play stupid baseball,” he said.  “You’re playing a team like [Brantford], you can’t make any mental mistakes.”

Tags: Annex · Sports · Maple Leafs Baseball · General

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Abraham // May 21, 2012 at 11:20 am

    The article sounded more exciting than the game itself which was obviously one sided.