Soroka, Naylor lead Jrs. to opening win in D.R.

Soroka dominates, Naylor homers as juniors win Dominican opener

Score: Canada (18U) 11 DSL Twins 2
Location: Minnesota Twins Dominican Complex – Boca Chica, DR
Weather: 28 degrees Celsius, Partly cloudy

By Adam Morissette

Canada 18U Starting Lineup:
1. Miles Gordon - CF

2. Kobe Hyland - SS

3. Demi Orimoloye – RF

4. Josh Naylor – 1B

5. JD Williams – 3B

6. Tristan Pompey - LF

7. Andrew Yerzy - C

8. Darren Shred – DH

9. Royce Ando – 2B

Starting Pitcher: RHP Mike Soroka

- Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) drove in Miles Gordon (Oakville, Ont.) from second base on a line drive to centre field that dropped in for a single to open the scoring in the top of the first. Gordon had reached on an infield single before stealing second to move into scoring position. Both players had huge games offensively with Gordon going 5-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI, while Naylor had two hits including a solo home run in the seventh.

- In the fourth JD Williams (Brampton, Ont.) got things going when he led off with a double and came around to score when Andrew Yerzy (Toronto, Ont.) hit into a fielder’s choice. Darren Shred (Brampton, Ont.) followed with a single and with two out Gordon single scored Yerzy before Demi Orimoloye (Orleans, Ont.) hit a single that snuck through the left side scoring both Shred and Gordon.

- With one out in the top of the seventh, Naylor drilled a 1-1 fastball well over the fence in right field for a solo home run. The blast was a no doubter from the moment it left his bat and gave the juniors a six run cushion. Naylor’s blast landed well beyond the right field wall with some debate as to whether it actually hit the building that houses the Twins’ players or the trees in front of the building.

- In the seventh, the juniors put the game completely out of reach banging out four hits including three consecutive singles and took advantage of three Twins errors to score three runs. Newcomer Luke Van Rycheghem (Kent Bridge, Ont.) picked up his first hit and RBI as a member of the JNT.

- The Twins finally broke the goose egg in the eighth getting an unearned run off of reliever Brady Moxham (Oakville, Man.) who was also making his JNT debut. After a pair singles and an error loaded the bases, a single to left brought in the run.

- JD Williams picked up his second double of the game and drove in a run before Naylor later scored on a wild pitch in the top of the ninth.

- The Twins would go on to add a late run in the bottom half of the inning off of RJ Freure (Burlington, Ont.) be fore he closed out the game with a pair of fly-outs.

- JNT starter Mike Soroka (Calgary, Alta.) was simply dominant tossing five perfect innings to pick up the win. He struck out five of the first batters he faced and only threw 52 pitches on the day.

- The juniors belted out 16 hits with five coming off the bat of Gordon who ended the day with a double and four singles.

- Williams, in his second go round with the Junior National Team program, had a 2-for5 day at the plate that included a pair of doubles, while adding a run scored and one RBI to his stat line.

- Naylor ended the 2014 DSL tour with a bang when he turned around a 93 mph offering off of eventual Twins’ prospect Huascar Ynoa for a mammoth home run in Santo Domingo at Estadio Quisqueya. Today he returned to the Dominican and picked up right where he left when he homered in the seventh. Including today, he has homered four times in three trips to the Dominican (2013-2015).

- A pair of newcomers made their JNT debuts today in RHP Moxham and C Van Rycheghem. Both players figured in the outcome with Moxham working three innings where scattered three hits and walk to go along with one strikeout., while Van Rycheghem had an RBI single.

Soroka on what was working for him today: “My sinker. It was the best it has been (all year) and it was my go-to pitch today.”

On his game-plan for the Twins: “I wanted to pitch to contact and get my defence involved.” He struck out five of the first six hitters he faced before retiring the next nine batters on seven ground balls and two fly-outs.

Soroka upon finding out that Naylor homered while he was doing his post-start run on a backfield: “He did? I told him to hit one for me today.” 

Hits: 5, Gordon (5/5); 2, Orimoloye (2/5), Naylor (2/5), Williams (2/5), Yerzy (2/5); 1, Shred (1/5), Van Rychegham (1/3)

Runs: 2, Gordon, Naylor, Yerzy; 1, Orimoloye, Williams, Shred, Aldred, Garon

Doubles: 2, Williams; 1, Gordon, Yerzy

Home Runs: 1, Naylor

RBIs: 2, Naylor, Orimoloye; 1, Gordon, Williams, Yerzy, Van Rychegham

Stolen bases: 1, Gordon

Strikeouts: 5, Soroka; 1, Moxham, Freure

The juniors will be back at it tomorrow with a morning/afternoon doubleheader scheduled for 10:30am and 2:30pm ET ... In the morning, the juniors will travel to San Pedro de Macoris to take on the Milwaukee Brewers Dominican prospects, while they will head down the road to Baseball City in Boca Chica to play the Toronto Blue Jays Dominican prospects in the afternoon … Isaac Anesty (Guelph, Ont.) is scheduled to start aginst the Brewers, while Kyle Ross (Maple Ridge, BC) gets the nod against the Blue Jays ... You can get live updates by following @Team_C_Updates on Twitter.

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Adam Morissette

Adam Morissette was born and raised in Ottawa, Ont. where sports were always a big part of his life whether it be baseball, hockey or football, including playing two seasons as centre for coach Pat Sheahan with the Queen's University Golden Gaels in Kingston -- Canada's first capital. Morissette has always have been passionate about baseball and has fond memories of attending Montreal Expos games with his father, Mike, and listening to his recollection of watching baseball in Montreal at Jarry Park and stories about Gary Carter, Rusty Staub and Steve Rodgers. Morissette could often be found in a near empty Lynx Stadium watching Joe Siddall, Bert Heffernan, Curtis Pride and Jamie Carroll soaking in a beautiful summer night at the ballpark. He was a member of the provincial championship Orleans Red Sox Little League teams also played with the Ottawa White Sox for the late Lyle Anderson and Todd Burke in OBA Midget and American Legion play and the Capital City Crushers (NCBL), primarily as a catcher. Has also spent time coaching Little League in Orleans and South Ottawa. He wanted to turn his passion into a career and enrolled in Sport Business Management at Algonquin College in Ottawa in 2007. After working for the Ottawa 67's OHL team as the Ticket Coordinator, Morissette jumped at the opportunity to become the Media and Public Relations Coordinator with Baseball Canada in 2010. He loves watching and reading about pro, college or amateur baseball and is a long-time subscriber to Baseball America. Morissette is thrilled about the idea of writing about baseball and is interested in covering any story that his car -- and time -- will allow him to cover.