* RF Mike Saunders (Victoria, BC), signed by Wayne Norton (Port Moody, BC) is true Canadiana: his grand folks are from Newfoundland, his mother from Mississauga and he grew up on the coast. .... Day VII with Team Canada, a win over Mexico Day VI with Team Canada, a loss to Italy
By Bob Elliott
PHOENIX _ On a team with Joey Votto and Justin Morneau, Michael Saunders was the top dog.
In a World Baseball Classic pool with Joe Mauer, David Wright and Adam Jones, he was the man.
The Canadian right fielder from Victoria, B.C. was named MVP of the WBC pool after hitting .727 with a homer and seven RBIs.
“It’s an honor,” Saunders told reporters. “However, there’s a sour taste in my mouth right now. Whenever you represent your country, it doesn’t matter how you do, as long as you win.
“That was the main focus. We played a tough game, but we’re holding our heads high. We came to this prepared and we felt we played well. We showed the world Canada is here to stay.”
Saunders gave Canada a 2-0 lead with a home to right off lefty Derek Holland. Canada regained the lead and was five outs away from advancing.
“This was a really, really tough pool,” said Saunders who complimented Italy and Team USA (who both advanced with 2-1 records. “We all played great, but only two of us can go, unfortunately, we’re one of the two that aren’t.
“Italy is going to the next round, people saw how well Spain played. These non-powerhouse countries are showing that baseball’s really evolved. Canada’s one of those countries. With the Olympics no longer available to us, this is the next best thing. It’s the top players in the world.”