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After six seasons in the Intercountry Baseball League, Justin Marra can immediately know when a fastball that he can flip is approaching.


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The Toronto Maple Leafs catcher found that pitch in the sixth inning and drilled it to left field for a three-run homer that put him up for good. That shot, along with a solid pitch led by starter Marek Deska, gave the Leafs a 6-4 victory over the London Majors at Christie Pits on Sunday to tie their IBL championship series at one game each.

Chandler McLaren and Jordan Castaldo were on the bases when Marra took London starter Owen Boon deep, igniting the roughly 500 supporters that dot the hill overlooking the field.

“I just recognized the fastball coming out of his hand,” said the veteran Toronto catcher. “I knew the wind was carrying me today. I was happy to get some races for the guys. “

The long ball was the order of the day as both teams had three each. Austin Wilkie opened the scoring for London with a two-run shot to score Humberto Ruiz ahead of him. Hayden Jaco added a solo shot for the majors in the fourth.


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The Leafs generated a run in second on a McLaren single. In the fifth, an RBI single by Garret Takamatsu put Toronto within one, down 3-2. After Marra put them ahead, Jonathan Solazzo added a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh. Byron Reichstein’s solo shot in the eighth inning completed London’s touchdown in the top of the eighth.

Despite the dropped home runs, Marra was satisfied with his team’s pitching performance.

“The pitchers kept them under control,” Marra said. “I know they gave up some, but they kept their composure. They kept us in the game and that helped us.

“It is a great victory for us. Now we go back to London hoping to win one there and bring it back home. We know that we play well at home ”.

Despite his team’s 22-8 record in the regular season, London manager Roop Chanderdat knows there is little to separate the two teams.


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“(Toronto) is a good hitting team, a good pitching team. We never expected it to be child’s play. “

The difference, Chanderdat said, was that Toronto was able to get more base runners, including the two who scored on Marra’s shot.

“It was a good game, a well pitched game,” he said. “We had some opportunities early on that we should have taken advantage of.”

The teams continue their series in London on Tuesday night before returning to Christie Pits on Thursday. Both teams are trying to end the IBL championship droughts with the last major league win in 1975 and the last lifting of the Jack and Lynne Domenico Trophy by the Leafs in 2007.

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