Boca Raton, FL – In a wild back and forth affair, the Junior National Team tied Team USA 11-11 in their final tune-up game prior to the Americas World Junior Qualification Tournament in Cartagena, Colombia Nov. 17-27.
The 20-player roster that will head to Colombia tomorrow morning was announced after the game and can be found at the link below the story.
The Juniors fought their way back into the game after being down 5-0 in the top of the third and took a 9-8 lead in the sixth before the Americans tied the game with a run in the eighth. The ninth inning saw both team score two runs apiece while using the IBAF extra innings rule where the frame starts with runners on first and second base.
“I’m pleased with our performance today,” said Head Coach, Greg Hamilton. “I’m happy with the way we battled back. After yesterday, it would be easy to pack it in being down early, but we didn’t do that and fought our way back into the game.
Ryan Kellogg (Whitby, ON) started for Canada and was touched up for three runs in the top of the first off five hits including two doubles.
Down 5-0 in the third, the Juniors scored twice when Gareth Morgan (Toronto) and Johnny Caputo (Toronto) hit back-to-back RBI groundouts to score runners from third base.
Jordan Procyshen (Calgary) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, while Chris Shaw (Winnipeg) followed with a double to the gap in right field. The Juniors cut the lead to one in the fourth when Justin Atkinson (Surrey, BC) singled in Dustin Houle (Penticton, BC) from second base.
Team USA responded with three runs in the top of the fifth off reliever Clayton Isherwood (Van Anda, BC) to go ahead 8-3.
Kyle Hann (Oakville) led off the sixth with a single and Justin Marra (Toronto) was hit by a pitch, which set the table for Brendan Hendriks (Cochrane, AB) who tripled to score both runners.
Canada went on to score four more runs in the inning to take a 9-8 lead that included RBI singles from Atkinson, Shaw and Morgan.
Team USA tied the game in the top of the eighth off a sac-fly and scored two runs in the ninth when Adam Anderson (Georgetown) walked in a run with the bases loaded and an error at shortstop allowed another run to score.
During Canada’s half inning, Brett Siddall (Windsor) came off the bench and delivered a double to right field to bring in two runs.
“They didn’t hand it to us,” explained Hamilton. “We swung the bats and got back into the game.”
“I like our ballclub,” he continued. “We just need to get some decent pitching around it – fair pitching; honest pitching and we’ll be fine.”
The team will open the qualifier against Brazil on Thursday at 10 a.m. ET. The 14-team tournament will see the top four countries qualify for the 2012 IBAF World Junior Baseball Championship in Seoul, South Korea.
“Our expectation down there is to qualify-we’re a good enough team to do that,” added Hamilton. “Obviously we’d like to win the tournament. It would send a message and I think we’re capable of doing it.”