Day 1: Two wins for Ontario as Canada Cup opens
* Historic Labatt Park was a winner before the first pitch was thrown Wednesday as Scott Stafford (left), Joe O’Neill (centre) and Baseball Canada president Ray Carter presented a banner which names the park officially Canada’s favorite park before the start of the 24th annual Baseball Canada Cup ….
By Ryan Morissette
After last year’s championship thriller, Ontario is looking to defend its title at the 24th annual Baseball Canada Cup in London, featuring the best 16 and 17 year old players that all 10 provinces have to offer.
And Ontario opened Day I with a pair of wins.
Ontario 10 Quebec 8
After trailing 3-0 early on, Team Ontario battled back to grind out a 10-8 victory over Quebec in a wild game to open the Canada Cup. Jake Lumley (Windsor), Malik Collymore (Mississauga) and JD Osborne (Whitby), Ontario’s 2-3-4 hitters, led the way combining for five runs scored and seven RBIs. The game saw both teams exchange leads four times before Ontario pulled away with two runs in the top of the seventh. Centre-fielder Philippe Berthiaume (Quebec City) had two hits and two runs scored for Quebec.
BC 10 Alberta 4
Right-hander Connor Noble (Vancouver) threw five solid innings while his offense did the rest as BC defeated Alberta 10-4. In what looked like a pitcher’s duel early, BC’s offense broke the game open to take a commanding 10-1 lead entering the bottom half of the sixth inning. Mitchell Robinson (Surrey) had two hits and two RBI for BC while Layne Currie (Calgary) had three hits for Alberta.
Nova Scotia 5 New Brunswick 2
Nova Scotia scored early and never looked back to grab their first victory over New Brunswick. Shortstop Chris Thibideau (Dartmouth) kick started the Nova Scotia attack with a RBI triple in the top of the first inning, and went on to finish the game with three hits and two RBI. Josh Dennis (Dieppe) and Nick Leggatt (Loggieville) both had two hits apiece for New Brunswick.
PEI 3 Newfoundland and Labrador 0
Three runs was all JP Stevenson (Bedeque) needed as he threw a two-hit shutout to earn the victory. Scoreless until the sixth inning, PEI plated two quick runs, which turned out to be all they needed. Opposite Stevenson on the mound was Matt Murphy (St. John’s), who threw a complete game of his own and kept his team close as long as he could. JJ Oram (Summerside) proved to be the difference at the plate, registering two hits and a RBI for PEI.
BC 11 Quebec 4
BC scored early and often leading to an 11-4 victory over Quebec. Third baseman Dawson Yates (Kelowna) led a well-balanced offensive attack with four of his team’s 15 hits in the game. With both teams playing their second game on the day, fatigue may have started to settle in as the teams combined for seven errors over the course of the game.
Manitoba 5 Saskatchewan 4
Two late runs in the sixth inning proved to be the difference-maker as Manitoba hung on for a 5-4 victory over Saskatchewan. Relief pitchers Ben Onyshko (Winnipeg) and Nelson Quark (Winnipeg) threw a combined 3 1/3 hitless innings to allow for their offense to come back. Shortstop Bryce Crosbie (Moose Jaw) led the way for Saskatchewan with two hits and two RBI while Dustin Asham (Brandon) had the game-winning RBI for Manitoba.
Ontario 13 Alberta 7
Ontario’s bats came out swinging early and often as they defeated Alberta 13-7. The top of the line-up led the way for Ontario once again as their first four hitters combined for 10 hits, nine runs and seven RBIs. Leadoff hitter and centre-fielder Justin Orton (Ruthven) had four hits and three runs scored while Malik Collymore (Mississauga) – who batted third – had two hits and three RBIs to help balance the Ontario offense. Alberta’s designated hitter, Brayden Munro (Okotoks), had two RBI for his squad.
“The Baseball Canada Cup Championship is the initial selection process for the Canadian Junior National Team, which brings along with it the best 17 and under baseball players that Canada has to offer,” said tournament chair Mike Lumley. “The tournament will feature future major league prospects, like former Canada Cup standout and current Toronto Blue Jay Brett Lawrie, who will lead Canada into the future of this sport.” This event has proven to be successful in the past and should be no different this year in London.
“The Canada Cup will be successful due to the hard work of all of our volunteers. They have put in countless hours to ensure that all the players, umpires and families have a fun and relaxing time here in London,” added Lumley.
If that wasn’t enough, the Gold Medal game will be played at Labatt Memorial Park, recently voted as Canada’s Favourite Ball Park. The tournament is divided in to two pools, A and B, which will determine which teams advance to the medal round. Pool A is comprised of Alberta, 2011 Bronze medalists British Columbia, Quebec and defending champion Ontario.
Pool B consists of last year’s underdog silver medalists Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island, who will all look to advance to the medal round. Day 1 action kicks-off with seven match-ups that will see all ten provinces play at least one game.
For further information regarding team rosters, scheduling, standings and results, please check out the Baseball Canada Cup for more detail.