The Junior National Team opened its pre-world Canadian tour with a sweep of the Thunder Bay Selects and Chinese Taipei with a 6-2 win in game one and a 8-4 win in game two.
Smithville’s Benson Merritt was called upon to pitch two innings of no-hit ball, allowing one run thru a walk and a sacrifice fly. He would walk a pair and strikeout three.
Game one saw Lionel Morrill (Edmonton) hit a walk-off grand slam to give the Canadians the win over the Thunder Bay Selects.
The scheduled seven inning game went into extra innings tied 2-2. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Juniors loaded the bases on two singles, a fielder’s choice and an intentional walk bringing Morrill to the plate. He delivered the ball over the left-center field fence.
“It was the first time I had ever done that and I’m at a loss for words,” says Morrill. “It was pretty cool.”
In game two, Chinese Taipei got on the board first in the opening frame with a sacrifice fly to put them ahead 1-0.
Canada responded in the third inning when Michael Crouse (Port Moody, BC) came in to score on a ground out.
Then the Juniors broke it open in the fourth inning starting with a lead-off solo home run from Carter Bell (Courtenay, BC) to put Canada ahead 2-1. They would add three more runs in the inning after four consecutive singles, finished off by Ivan Hartle’s (North Vancouver) two-run hit. In the fifth inning, Lawrie would hit his second homer of the day to lead off the frame and put Canada ahead 6-1.
The Junior National Team will take the field again on Wednesday, July 16 at 7:30 pm when Canada takes on Chinese Taipei in Thunder Bay.