Danforth Redhawks learn to fly again

STARTING PITCH: Though he was the third pitcher used by Danforth, Jason Orloff was commended by coach Bill Heath after hitting the mound for the first time in his high school career.

Plagued by an injury epidemic, Danforth Collegiate limped out of a double header with two losses in early May.

Under unrelenting rain clouds and needled by an icy breeze, the Redhawks dropped their first match to Northern 7-1 and was lanced 12-3 by Malvern, May 6.

After their loss to the Black Knights, Danforth coach Bill Heath earnestly summed up the games.

“It turned out how we thought it might,” he said, adding two players left with hand injuries, one left with muscle spasm problems and a fourth bowed out after receiving a ball to the face.

“Malvern has a very strong team and we’re rebuilding,” Heath added. “We lost a lot of senior players to post secondary.”

That’s not to say Heath was disappointed with how his squad performed. The team worked well under the leadership of Michael Speaker, who in the bottom of the second led off with a shot up the left-field line for a double.

Down 1-0 at the time, Hayden Dilling would cash in Speaker, tying the game at sticks. Unfortunately Speaker would leave the game due to work commitments after the fourth inning.

But much like the rain, Malvern did not relent answering with four runs in the top of the third off Danforth pitcher Nick Tsiaris.

With the bases loaded Black Knight Bryan Saucedo would smack a hot shot past third base cashing in two.

Moments later Kevin Holmes belted an opposite field shot, bringing in two more. One more run would come in off of Connor Neff’s single.

Malvern’s assistant coach, Ron Blackmore, said the 12-3 win was a great way to bounce back from their 4-1 loss to Leaside the day before.

And with an OFSAA qualifying tournament fast approaching May 19-20 for the Prentice Cup, any little boost is appreciated.

“We’re feeling confident,” he said. “There will be some good teams in it but that put us at two wins and one loss.

“It comes down to pitching and hitting.”

The previous loss to the Lancers at Talbot Park was chalked up to not having Saucedo on the roster.

“He’s key to have in the lineup,” Blackmore said.

Two lop-sided losses for Heath is not a concern, though.

“We don’t mind because we know both of those teams are very strong, Northern and Malvern,” he said. “We’re expecting challenges throughout the whole year.”

He placed credit on first-time pitcher Jason Orloff who came in for the departed Speaker.

May 12 will be the next time the squad sees action in a double header against North Toronto and league heavyweight Leaside.

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