Five errors and some ‘small ball’ played by the Tampa Bay Rays Dominican prospects were too much to overcome as the Canada Junior National Team dropped a 9-5 decision to the Rays in Dominican Summer League action.
The Rays scored six runs in the bottom of the second where they successfully executed three hit-and-run plays and took advantage of three JNT errors to jump out to an early 6-1 lead.
Jacob Robson (Windsor) led-off the game with a perfect bunt that was beyond the pitcher’s reach and too far for the second baseman to make a play before Robson reached first. After advancing to second base on a failed pick-off attempt, Oakville’s Kyle Hann drilled a double into the gap in left field and Robson scored easily from second.
After the six-run second inning, the juniors clawed their way back into the game in the top half of the third as Robson walked with one out, moved to second on a Jamar Burnette (Toronto) infield single and after a passed ball scored on a wild-pitch.
After Hann walked and moved to second on a passed ball, Gareth Morgan (Toronto) singled to left field to score Burnette, but Hann was thrown out at home trying to score which ended the inning.
The juniors added another run in the fourth to close the gap to 6-4 when Brian Saucedo (Toronto) came through with a clutch, two-out RBI triple that scored Daniel Pinero (Toronto) from third base. Pinero had reached on error and advanced to third on a passed ball and ground-out before Saucedo’s triple down the right field line allowed him to score easily.
JNT starter Dylan Brooks (Dorchester, ON) shook off the rough second inning by tossing a scoreless third frame before the Rays struck for two more runs in the fourth.
Back to back singles gave the Rays runners on the corners with the first run scoring on a double steal with no one covering second base from the catcher’s throw and the other came on a RBI ground out.
Down 8-4 in the fifth, Brooks tossed a scoreless inning and fanned the final batter he faced which was his second of two strikeouts on the day.
The juniors had their chances to score as they left two runners on in the sixth and seventh innings and had nine hits on the afternoon coming from nine different players.
Fernando Fernandez (Montréal) took over for Brooks in the sixth and struck out two batters in a scoreless inning before giving up a run on a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Nathan DeSouza (Milton) saw his first action of the week after nursing a hip injury and belted a double to right field in the eighth and came around to score on a Brett Siddall (Windsor) single.
Christian Botnick (Brampton) tossed a clean eighth inning inducing three ground ball outs.
The Dominican Camp is one of two camps remaining prior to the IBAF 18U World Championship in Seoul, South Korea Aug. 30-Sept. 8. There will be a final camp and exhibition series from Aug. 15-27 where the final 20-man roster will be selected for the world championship.