Rijo comes through again for Ontario Green in playoff-clinching tie

Ontario Green congregates in the dugout. (Tyler King/Canadian Baseball Network)

Ontario Green congregates in the dugout. (Tyler King/Canadian Baseball Network)

By: Connor Dorion

Canadian Baseball Network

The Tournament 12 semi-finals are in the future of Ontario Green and Alberta Red, after a hard played game ended in a tie.

Ryan Rijo hit two doubles and drove in two as Ontario and Alberta played to a 4-4 tie Wednesday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

The first baseman didn't receive the start over his teammate Max Wright, but it was Rijo who provided the fireworks for Ontario Green (1-1-2).

Rijo went 2-for-2 with two doubles for the game, but it was his hit in the bottom of the seventh that scored his catcher, Joe Tevlin, to tie it and put his team in the semi-finals of the tournament.

“I was looking for a fastball early in the count that I could handle,” Rijo said about his clutch hit in the bottom of the seventh. “He gave me it and I was lucky enough to get the bat head out and put it in the gap.”

Joe Woods had a double, triple and an RBI for Alberta Red (1-0-3), his first two hits of the tournament.

Medicine Hat, Alta., native Nathan Stark got the start on the bump for the Reds, throwing four innings of shutout, two-hit baseball.

It was a different story for the Ontario Green starter Matt Jones, who surrendered three earned runs and four hits through five innings.

Jones got off to a hot start on the mound, striking out four of the first five batters he faced, but Alberta managed a two-out rally in the top of the second.

Designated hitter Luke Lepine started things off with a single to left, which handcuffed the outfielder, allowing the 17-year-old to advance to second on the error. Woods was able to capitalize on the mistake, tripling home the first run of two runs in the inning.

Ontario Green's first hit didn't come until the top of the third on a double off the bat of right fielder Nick Howie which split the gap in right-centre field.

Alberta Red was able to cash in a pair of runs in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by catcher Jaret Semeniuk, which scored Lepine and an error by the center fielder allowed Woods to follow suit to put them up 4-0.

Green cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning on an error by the first baseman, allowing the first run to score.

Rijo would then slap a double to the gap in left, scoring the second of three runs on the inning, cutting the lead to 4-3.

The North York, Ont., native had a great game at the dish, but it was a game last night against their provincial rival Ontario Black team that gave Rijo a moment he'll never forget.

“Honestly, I was speechless,” Rijo said about his hit on Wednesday night. “Nothing can compare to hitting a home-run, especially when you've grown up being a Jays fan.”

Alberta Red will now face the defending champions from Quebec in the first of two semi-finals, while Ontario Green will face a tough team from the Prairies.