2021 IBL Championship Series - Game 5, October 1 - Toronto Maple Leafs at London Majors
Majors win 8-4, win series 3-2
|Evan DiMichele and Kyle Perrett look on from the Maple Leafs' bullpen as the London Majors celebrate.|
The 2021 IBL season has ended, and the London Majors are IBL champions.
They won Game 5 at Labatt Park 8-4 over the Toronto Maple Leafs to capture their first league title since 1975.
The Leafs' truncated, compressed, electrifying season ends in disappointment. After clearing every other hurdle during their postseason run, they could not find a way to win on the road in London.
On Friday night, the Mapes chugged into their opponents' ballpark with a full head of steam, fired up by Sean Reilly's walk-off home run at Christie Pits the night before. They were one win away from clinching the title, and in the deciding game they took an early lead.
First baseman Jordan Castaldo doubled to start the game, and scored on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Johnathan Solazzo.
A Castaldo single in the 2nd drove home center fielder Connor Lewis.
DH Reilly doubled to start the 3rd, advanced to third on a single by second baseman Garrett Takamatsu, and came home on a single by Solazzo.
London's bullpen scrambled into action as starter Owen Boon looked to be on the ropes.
Midway through the third the Leafs led 3-0 and the park was deathly quiet. The PA announcer gently pleaded with fans to make some noise. In the bottom of the inning the Majors provided some incentive.
Marek Deska cruised through the first two innings on the mound for Toronto, but got into a jam in the bottom of the 3rd. He gave up four hits including a three-run home run by Byron Reichstein - this third in two games. London jumped ahead 4-3 and momentum shifted for a final time in this series.
London added a run in the 4th to make it 5-3.
From that point, Boon settled down and made it through six innings. He handed it over to Eduardo Perez the rest of the way.
The Leafs mounted a final dangerous rally in the top of the 8th. They loaded the bases but could only get one more run across the plate, courtesy of a sac fly by catcher Justin Marra.
With the innings and outs trickling away, the Leafs got sloppy and recorded three errors late in the game. With the wind in their sails, London tacked on more runs and came away with an 8-4 final score.
After the final out, the Majors convened at midfield for the traditional pileup. Fans ran onto the outfield. Bottles emerged from beneath jackets. London celebrated its first championship in 46 years.
The last time the IBL postseason stretched all the way into October was in 1982. A month of monsoon weather wreaked havoc on the schedule, but Toronto eventually defeated London. This time Toronto fell short, and the Leafs fell in October.
London 8 11 0
W - Boon (2-1, 3.42)
L - Deska (3-1, 6.26)