The Toronto Maple Leafs will continue their quest for an Intercounty Baseball League championship on Friday night.
Their final hurdle, a best-of-five final series, begins with game one from Labatt Memorial Park in London, Ont. where the Leafs will take on the regular season pennant winning Majors.
Both teams have yet to lose a game in the playoffs, with Toronto posting two 2-0 series victories against the Hamilton Cardinals and Barrie Baycats in the quarter and semifinals.
On the other side of the bracket, London swept the Brantford Red Sox 2-0 in their semi-final series following a quarterfinal bye.
The Leafs and Majors met five times during the regular season with London winning the season series 3-2.
Coming into the championship, the Leafs’ calling card has been their offensive prowess. As the regular season league leader in runs scored, Toronto’s success at the plate has carried over into the postseason where they have averaged a staggering 13 runs scored per game.
Former Baycat and current Maple Leaf first baseman Jordan Castaldo compared this Leafs lineup to championship lineups he was a part of in the past.
“One to nine, the Barrie lineups had a lot of guys who would scrap and put together great at-bats,” said Castaldo, following Toronto’s series clinching win against Barrie. “This lineup probably has some of those lineups beat in terms of power but it’s really hard to compare this lineup to lineups that won championships.
“Hopefully, we can do what those teams did and get this one done.”
A key contributor to the Leafs’ offensive production is designated hitter Sean Reilly. Posting a league best .442 batting average in the regular season, the 11-year veteran is hitting an absurd .750 from the plate in the playoffs.
Reilly is also registering a 2.062 OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) in the postseason, putting Barry Bonds to shame.
On the other side of the diamond, the Majors will lean on their pitching and defensive dominance that helped them cruise to a 22-8 record in the regular season. Like the Leafs, their strength has only amplified in the postseason, allowing just five runs total in their two playoff games.
Righty starter Owen Boon was spectacular in London’s series clinching game against the Red Sox, throwing a complete game shutout with 16 strikeouts.
Toronto’s bats will face two of the best starters in the league in Boon and Pedro De Los Santos, who ranked second and first in regular season ERA respectively.
The Maple Leafs are back in the championship for the first time since 2016 and looking to capture their first Jack and Lynne Dominico Cup since 2007 – the last time a team not named the Baycats or Red Sox hoisted the trophy.
In the opposing dugout, the Majors haven’t won a championship since 1975, a 46-year drought.
First pitch for Friday’s opener is set for 7:35 p.m. which can be seen on MAJORSTV, streaming live on YouTube.