The Canadian Men’s Slo-Pitch Border Battle Team won a pair of nine-inning exhibition games during Slo-Pitch Ontario’s Miken Super Series this past weekend (May 25-27) at Slo-Pitch City in Dorchester, near London. On Friday, the Canadian team defeated local All-Stars London, 22-14, and then beat a Super Series All-Star Team, 41-25, on Saturday.
The Canadian team will travel to Oklahoma City, OK at the end of June to play in the fourth edition of the Men’s Slo-Pitch Border Battle against Team USA.
In the first game, London held Team Canada hitless through two innings and scored three runs in the bottom of the second to take the early lead. Canada chipped away with two runs in the third as James Kelly (Amherstburg, ON) drove in a run with a double and scored on a base hit by Ryan Wood (Winnipeg, MB). After London added four more runs to take a 7-2 lead, the red and white came back to tie the game with five runs in the top of the fourth. Todd Cadenhead (Vaughan, ON) started things with a solo homerun, and after Franck Henry (St-Hyacinthe, QC) singled, Tim Bentley (Chatham, ON) and Jeff Zanolli (Taber, AB) hit back-to-back homeruns to cut the lead to one. Olivier Forrest (St-Leonard-d’Aston, QC) followed with a single and came around to score on a double by Kelly.
London scored three runs to regain the lead in the bottom of the fourth, but Canada got those runs right back in the next inning on a sacrifice fly by Jason Gallichen (Langley, BC) and a two-run homerun by Cadenhead. London added single runs in the fifth and sixth to take a 12-10 lead, but Canada answered with seven runs in the top of the seventh as they batted around the order. Kelly started the inning with a solo homerun, and after Canada loaded the bases with two outs, Alain Blais (Maple, ON) cleared them with a grand slam. Henry then blasted a solo homerun, followed by three consecutive singles to score one run as Canada took a 17-12 lead. London was able to get two runs back in the bottom of the inning, but Team Canada responded immediately with five runs to put the game out of reach, highlighted by a two-run double by Brad Rankin (Orillia, ON), RBI doubles by Jeff Falardeau (Welland) and Henry, and a one-run single by Claude Chiasson (Ste-Julie, QC). In the bottom o f the ninth, London quickly loaded the bases with two singles and a walk, but Canada turned a triple play to end the game, winning by a score of 24-14.
On Saturday night, Canada wasted no time in opening the scoring with eight runs in the top of the first. After the three first hitters reached to load the bases, Todd Cadenhead laced a two-run single. Jeff Gare (London) then drove in another run with a single before Chiasson hit a three-run blast followed by a solo shot by Zanolli. The eighth run scored on an error. The All-Stars chipped away at the lead with two runs in the bottom of the inning, but the Canadian team got those two runs back on back-to-back solo homeruns by Cadenhead and Gallichen. The Super Series All-Stars scored two runs in the bottom of the second, but Canada added six more runs in the top of the third to take a 16-4 lead. Chris Parr led off the inning with a solo homerun, and Falardeau later added an RBI single. Cadenhead then launched a three-run homerun, and Gallichen followed with yet another homerun. The Super Series All-Stars scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth but Canada came back to score three of their own on a solo homerun by Chiasson and a two-run triple by Parr. Canada added another three runs in the top of the sixth, as Rankin drove in two with a triple and scored on a double by Gare. The Super Series All-Stars would not lie down, scoring another four runs in the bottom of the inning to reduce the deficit to 22-13. The All-Stars shut down Canada’s offence in the seventh, but Canada responded with eight runs in the top of the eighth. After back-to-back singles, Henry hit an RBI single and Cadenhead hit yet another three-run homerun, his third homerun of the game. The All-Stars got two quick outs, but then the red and white put together a string of five singles followed by a two-run double by Boldt to take a 31-14 lead.
In the bottom half of the eighth, the All-Stars showed no signs of going away, scoring 11 runs to reduce the lead to 31-25. However, Canada put the game out of reach by scoring ten of their own in the ninth. Gallichen hit a two-run single and Parr later drove in another with a single, followed by a two-run single by Wood, a two-run double by Boldt, an RBI single by Falardeau and capped off with a two-run homerun by Henry. The Super Series All-Stars were retired on three fly outs to end the game.
Todd Cadenhead led the Canadian offence with five homeruns and 12 runs batted in through two games, while James Kelly collected five hits and six RBIs. Jason Gallichen, Claude Chiasson, Franck Henry and Chris Parr all drove in five.