Canada earns convincing win over US College Nats
By Adam Morissette
CARY, NC- The Canadian Men’s Baseball Team defeated the United States College National Team 12-2 to pick up their first win of the Americas Baseball Festival, an event being used as a tune-up for the upcoming Pan American Games.
The game was declared complete after the seventh inning as both teams used the eighth to practice the international tiebreak rule that will be in use at the Pan Am Games should extra innings be necessary.
Pitchers Jared Mortensen (Abbottsford, BC) and Shane Dawson (Drayton Valley, Alta.) both made their Canadian National Team debuts and combined to hold the US squad to just one hit that came in form of a solo home run in the bottom of the first.
After Tyson Gillies (Vancouver, BC) led off the game with a solo home run, Canada exploded for seven runs in the eighth before adding one in each of the third and fourth frames, while catcher Kellin Deglan (Langley, BC) belted a two-run shot in the fifth.
“It was a nice win for us,” said Canadian Manager Ernie Whitt coming off a 9-3 loss to the US Pan American Games team yesterday, “we needed it.”
“I was really happy with our pitching ” added Whitt. “We threw strikes. That’s something I strongly believe in as a manager. I truly believe that our defence can play – we just have to throw strikes and put the ball in play.”
After the solo home run in the first, Mortensen settled in nicely retiring 11 in a row and finished his four-inning outing with two strikeouts. The right-hander was pleased with his first performance in a Canadian uniform.
“I got the first inning jitters out of the way and was able to settle in after,” he said. “The sinker was by far the best thing I could throw. Righties and lefties were swinging over top of it and beating it into the ground and once we saw the swings they were taking on it, we had to keep throwing it.”
In the seven-run second, Canada sent eight batters to the plate before Team USA recorded an out and received two-run singles from Brock Kjeldgaard (London, Ont.) and Gillies, while Pete Orr (Newmarket, Ont.) contributed an RBI double.
Canada kept rolling in the third getting a run when Tim Smith (Toronto, Ont.) scored from third on an RBI groundout off the bat of Kellin Deglan (Langley, BC), and added a run in the fourth when Gillies tripled off the wall in left and scored on a sac-fly from Orr.
Gillies went 3-for-4, scored three runs and drove in three, while falling just a double short of the cycle.
“When he gets on base it puts pressure on the defence,” explained Whitt. “That’s what a leadoff hitter is supposed to do and it was nice to see today.”
Deglan slugged his second home run in as many games in the fifth and reliever Dawson was sharp through three innings of work allowing only a walk, while fanning four batters.
Canada will play their third and final game of the Americas Baseball Festival tomorrow against Cuba, a team they will face on July 14 at the Pan Am Games.
“Tomorrow will be a chance for our staff to see three more of our arms,” said Whitt. “Hopefully they can throw strikes, our offence can keep going and we can keep rolling along as a team.”
Notes: Tomorrow’s game will begin at 10am ET … RHP Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, Que.), LHP Evan Rutckyj (Windsor, Ont.) and RHP Brock Dykxhoorn (Goderich, Ont.) are expected to pitch for Canada … Live tweets will be available by following @Team_C_Updates on Twitter … Following the game, Canada will fly to Toronto.
Canada will open defence of the Pan American Games gold medal, won in 2011, on Saturday, July 11 at President’s Choice Ajax Pan Am Ball Park against the Dominican Republic. To view a full schedule and to purchase tickets, please click here.