* After being beaten by some lopsided scores over the years competing for their respective provinces, the Maritimes Grey combined for a 7-4 win over Quebec Blue to win the Tournament 12 Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre. ....
PERROTTE: Beckett carrying on family tradition
ELJAWHARY: Hrynkiw dressed early
VERGE: Camping with Alomars
By Bob Elliott
They were humbled together.
Andrew Case (Saint John, N.B.) wore the New Brunswick uniform and was on the wrong end of lopsided losses to Ontario (6-0 and 11-5), British Columbia (15-1 and 10-2) and Québec (10-0) at the 2011 Canada Cup in Kindersley, Sask.
Myles Vincent (Corner Brook, Nfld.) wore the Newfoundland uniform when he was whomped by Ontario (31-1), Saskatchewan (14-1) and Manitoba (12-1) at the bantam nationals in Vaughan in 2009.
Colby Turpie (Kennetcook, NS) and Evan Comeau (Waverley, NS) sported Nova Scotia caps and uniforms losing to Ontario (11-3) and Alberta (12-6) at the 2006 peewee nationals in Victoria, BC.
J.P. Stevenson (Hunter River PEI) was in Prince Edward Island colours absorbing losses at the hands of Quebec (17-6), Alberta (12-5) and the host Vaughan Vikings (12-0) at the 2010 bantam nationals in Vaughan.
And that’s only looking up one year of past results on each.
And they came to Toronto and they won together.
“Usually, when we went to the nationals -- I’ve been 10 times or so -- our main goal was to be the best Maritime team,” said Case. “We always played extra hard against teams from the East to win bragging rights.”
With Case on the mound in the semi-final and Vincent pitching the final, the combined Maritime team rolled over everyone on the way to winning the inaugural Tournament 12 by a 7-4 score over Quebec Blue at the Rogers Centre Tuesday night.
Neither allowed a base hit in 13 innings or work.
Quebec rallied in the bottom of the seventh scoring four runs, two of which were unearned against Dartmouth’s Jesse Borden.
Sebastiano Scalzo singled to open the seventh, an out later Antoine Gervais walked and Alex Fleurant singled loading the bases. Jonathan Duforest lined a single to centre, the ball skipping past centre fielder Nolan Levy all the way to the wall.
The base runners scored, Duforest came all the way to score and after a Simon Auger single ... the tying run was in the on-deck circle.
Nope. Borden ended things by getting a ground ball to first.
“It’s going to be great for the sport in the Maritimes,” said former major leaguer Mike Johnson, a coach with Alberta.
Part of the first-ever, Tournament 12 festivities for each team is a tour of the Blue Jays clubhouse.
Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar and the alumni give words of wisdom and insights to each of the 10 clubs.
When the Maritime team had its turn ex-Jays centre fielder Lloyd Moseby shot from the hip ... as always.
“When I got here all I heard was Ontario Black, Ontario Green and Ontario Maroon and you were the first to get into the semi-final,” Moseby told the Maritime contingent on Monday. “What I saw from you guys was strong fundamentals. You guys came here to play.
“I’d heard about high picks on the other teams, but the real scouts come to see guys who can play — you guys can play the game. You guys took care of business.”
Like a shrimp roll and clam chowder placed on a plate in Shediac, the Maritimers took care of business in the final, scoring three in the first on the way to a win.
As the regular Rogers Centre inhabitants, the two million plus fans and what seems like as many members of the starting rotation, know: starting pitching is important.
The Maritimes had that:
Stevenson pitched five scoreless in his start.
Borden allowed one run in four innings.
Dartmouth’s Cody Shrider pitched two scoreless.
And Vincent allowed three runs in three innings.
Vincent bounced back to start the final, pitching six hitless innings and Case tossed his first-ever no hitter in the semi-final.
So, in six games Maritime starters had a 1.33 ERA, allowing four runs in 27 innings.
“Shrider made a nice sliding catch in the second, but I wasn’t thinking of throwing a no hitter in the second,” said Case of his first-ever no-no. “After that, the boys went out and made routine plays.
“I never thought I’d ever have the chance to pitch on a big-league mound. It’s like one of my dreams come true. And I said that about my first outing in relief in the first game -- not after starting the semi-final.”
Case didn’t attract interest from scouts out of high school or last year at the Prairie Baseball Academy but this week he was contacted by a number of pro scouts. His fastball was clocked at 92 MPH.
“The Maritimes brought some boys who could pitch,” said Duane Ward.
Shrider homered in the final as he and Mitchell Hazlett (Riverview, N.B.) each knocked in two runs.
Alomar who was at every game except for Saturday’s kick-boxing exhibition of fun and fair play at the Air Canada Centre, presented signed Hall of Fame bats to the winners and the Tournament 12 trophy, which will be engraved with the names of the Maritime players and hang from in Alomar’s suite on the 300 Level.
The team had seven players from New Brunswick, six from Nova Scotia, four from Newfoundland and three from PEI and unlike many nationals when they were on the wrong end of lopsided scores playing Ontario and B.C. they left as champs.
The Maritime roster ranged from young pups like grade 10 student Jake Lonar (Colbrook, N.S.) and grade 11 student Blake Gallagher (Waasis, N.B.) who never minds smiling for a picture with his mother to self-described “old goats” Fredericton’s Corey Wood and Comeau, who finished their two years at the Prairie Baseball Academy and are officially University of Arkansas Boll Weevils.
Coach Mark Noel (Miramichi, N.B.), Major League Scouting Bureau Maritime boss Ken Lenihan (Bedford, N.S.), former minor league stud Frank Humber (Corner Brook, Nfld.) and Desi Doyle (Mount Stewart, PEI) put the team together with the Blue Jays scouting staff and Greg Hamilton of Baseball Canada.
Jake (Carry a Big) Paddle handled the business operations.
“Jake helped track down everyone and arrange things,” said T.J. Burton of the Jays. “A month ago he didn’t have one phone number, he was calling grandmothers, friends and anyone tracking down players.”
Last month Paddle helped put the Maritime team together ... and next month?
And to think that some people didn’t want the Maritimers to have an entry into the tournament.
All-star team: A crack committee assembled by the Canadian Baseball Network before the tournament began was asked to chose an all-star team. Members were not asked to project who would be the highest drafted down the road, but who were the best at each position during the tourney:
C – Austin Guzzo-Foliaro, Ontario Black, Brooklin, Ont. Ontario Blue Jays, 2014.
1B – Wyatt Schlosser, Prairies Brown, Saskatoon, Sask. Vauxhall, 2014.
2B – J.D. Williams, Ontario Green, Brampton, Ont. Ontario Blue Jays, 2015.
SS – Jonathan Duchesneau, Quebec Blue, Levis, Que. Monarques de Levis 2014/Evan Comeau, Maritimes Grey, Waverley, N.S. University of Arkansas at Monticello 2014.
3B – Robert Byckowski, Ontario Maroon, Etobicoke, Ont., Ontario Blue Jays 2014.
OF – Wylie Johnson, Alberta Red, Calgary, Alta., University of Calgary, 2014.
OF – Tanner Kirwer, Alberta Red, Sherwood Park, Alta., Sherwood Park Dukes/Playmaker U Academy, 2014.
OF – Demi Orimoloye, Ontario Black, Orleans, Ont. Ottawa-Nepean Canadians, 2015.
DH – Colby Turple, Maritimes Grey, Kennetcook, NS, Kentville Wildcats
LHP – JP Stevenson, Maritimes Grey, Vauxhall Academy, Hunter River, PEI, 2014/Ben Onyshko, Prairies Brown, Winnipeg, Man. 2014.
RHP – Andrew Case, Maritimes Grey, Saint John, N.B. Prairie Baseball Academy 2014.
Behind closed doors: Don’t think for a second those behind closed door meetings with each team in the Blue Jays clubhouse were warm and fuzzy “gee, it’s great to see you thanks for coming.”
Lloyd Moseby told one team: “You guys didn’t hustle, scouts and recruiters ask me about you -- I can only tell them what I saw. The Canadian scouts may know you, but if someone else asks an opinion, my opinion -- I give it to them.”
Devon White: “I told you guys when you shuffled into the dugout like a bunch of old men before the game that you were going to get beat. That should have intimidated you. You could tell the other team was into it more than you guys. Were you tired?”
Robbie Alomar: “Just because you are playing the field doesn’t mean that people are not watching you. The people in the seats watch your at-bats and what you do in the field -- you have to be able to play a complete game.”
Best player: Calgary outfielder Wylie Johnston arrived as a member of the University of the Calgary Dinos. Looking to transfer Johnston received some nibbles from southern schools after hitting .700 with a homer and nine RBIs.
Best high school hitter: A year ago Robert Byckowski was looking forward to the Ontario Hockey League draft. No longer a hockey puck, he brought his stroke to the Rogers Centre after attending the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif. a Perfect Game showcase in Minneapolis and the East Coast Showcase in Syracuse. All Byckowski did was go: ground rule double to left, home run to straightaway centre and ground-rule double to right, hitting .545 with two RBIs.
Best high school pitchers: Winnipeg lefty Ben Onyshko struck out the first seven hitters he faced and eight of the first nine. Brampton’s Zach Pop was consistently 92 MPH.
The high profile: North York’s Gareth Morgan, expected to be the top Canadian drafted next June hit .182 (2-for-11) but had a good workout day. Mississauga’s Josh Naylor turned his round of batting practice into a home run derby with five consecutive homers, two in the second deck and he homered off the BLUEJAYS.com logo above the bullpen in right but he hit .133. Ottawa’s Demi Orimoloye hit .364. “The thing is we’ve seen a lot of those guys so much, that this was not that important for them,” said one scout. “But it would have been nice ...”
On Monday we asked the Jays alumni -- Robbie Alomar, his Hall of Fame father Sandy Alomar, Duane Ward and Devon White to select the players who impressed them the most, but we missed Moseby.
Moseby: “Robert Byckowski (Ontario Maroon, Etobicoke, Ont., 2014, Ontario Blue Jays). He had great mechanics. A small compact swing. Gareth Morgan (Ontario Green, North York, Ont. 2014, Ontario Blue Jays) has a great power bat and a short swing, but it doesn’t look like he has any fun playing the game. Drew Simmons (Ontario Black (Ontario Black, Scarborough, Ont. 2014, Ontario Blue Jays) has quick hands. Jonathan Martin (Quebec White, Montreal, Que. 2014, ABC) has a great swing. It doesn’t matter where you pitch him -- he can hit it, pitch him inside he hits it, pitch him outside, he hits it. Josh Naylor (Ontario Black, Mississauga, Ont. 2015, Ontario Blue Jays) has a big power bat, but a bit of a upper cut swing with great hands. He’s on top of the ball which is rare for a left-handed hitter. I’m not picking any pitchers.”
Seated nearby was John Jepson, general manager of the Toronto Mets, who asked: “And if someone held your arm behind your back and forced you to pick a pitcher?”
Moseby: Andrew Case (Maritimes Grey, Saint John, N.B. 2014, Prairie Baseball Academy). So what’s he’s 21 ... he’s not 45.”
Robbie Alomar had an addition and since it is his tournament he was allowed to make the add: shortstop Jerome Duchesneau (Quebec Blue, Levis, Que. 2014, Monarques de Levis). “I liked the way he fields the ball. He makes all the tough plays.”
There was one American playing in the tournament 1B Quinn Rydland of Eden Prairie, Minn.
Rydland is the grandson of former Toronto Maple Leafs coach and general manager Pat Quinn, who was born in Hamilton.
The first baseman’s mom, Valerie is Pat Quinn’s daughter and she was born in Memphis when Pat Quinn was playing for the Memphis Wings in the Central League in 1965-66. And his father Rick Rydland was a football star at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minn.
Pat Quinn’s influential Toronto-based agent Blake Corsky found a spot for Quinn’s grandson on the Futures Navy team but was not on hand as he was in Portugal attending an International Ice Hockey Federation meeting.
“I remember coming here to watch my grandfather,” said the first baseman, who knocked in the only run in a 1-0 win over the Prairies Brown. “My favorite Leafs were Mats Sundin, because he was a captain and Tie Domi. I have’t watch the Leafs much lately.
Advice from grandpa Quinn to grandson Quinn, who plays hockey and baseball.
“He always tell me to keep a tight gap between me and the guy carrying the puck,” said the high schooler, “About this tournament he just congratulated me.”