The Philadelphia Phillies used six Canadian pitchers, including three Junior National Team graduates, as they defeated the Juniors 17-12 in a high scoring affair at Al Lang Field on Saturday (March 10).
Ethan Stewart (Campbell River, BC), Jesen Dygestile-Therrien (Montréal) and Steven Inch (Edmonton) all played with the Canadian national junior team, while Pan Am Games Gold medalist Jay Johnson (Sussex Corner, NB) along with Rob Cooper (Tecumseh, ON) and Colin Kleven (Kamloops, BC) pitched in the game. Stewart started for the Phillies and the Juniors got to him in the top of the first as he walked Jacob Robson (Windsor) and Kyle Hann (Oakville) which set the table for Nathan DeSouza’s double down the right-field line to score both runners.
The Phillies answered with a run in each of the first and second innings to tie the score.
The Juniors pulled ahead with what looked to be a comfortable 6-2 lead thanks to three walks, a hit batter and an error in the top of the third, while JNT starter Wyle Cunningham (Red Deer, AB) tossed a scoreless third inning.
Cunningham tossed three innings in total and gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits and two walks, while also fanning three batters.
The floodgates looked to open for the Juniors in the fourth as they struck for six runs. Hann had the big blow of the inning when he hit a triple to the wall in left-centre field to score three runs.
Michael Clouthier (Guelph) took over for Cunningham in the fourth where the Phillies responded with eight runs to cut the gap to two. Clouthier allowed five hits, walked three batters and hit one.
The Phillies continued to pour it on in the third as they plated five more runs to take a 15-12 lead. They added two more runs in the eighth off reliever Adam Anderson (Georgetown) who struck out three batters in two and two-thirds innings of work.
Canadian Jay Johnson turned in an impressive performance in the ninth as he induced a ground out to second base and fanned two batters to end the game.
Notes: Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee and the general manager of the Blue Jays World Series teams in 1992 and 1993, Pat Gillick, visited the JNT dugout and was accompanied by Phillies assistant general manager, player personnel, Benny Looper. Gillick is currently working with the Phillies as senior advisor to the president and GM.