Day II: Rare Ontario-Ontario match up ends 0-0, rematch coming

C Andrew Yerzy (Toronto, Ont.) of the Toronto Mets, was in the lineup for Ontario Black ... just as he was in 2013 in the only other meeting between two Ontario teams. Photo: Tyler King.

C Andrew Yerzy (Toronto, Ont.) of the Toronto Mets, was in the lineup for Ontario Black ... just as he was in 2013 in the only other meeting between two Ontario teams. Photo: Tyler King.

By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
Day II of Tournament 12 came to an end with the 51st game in the three-year history of the event.

Ontario Green met Ontario Black with a win, a move up the standings and bragging rights for the season as well.

It was only the second time two Ontario teams had met each other. 

There were 10 teams involved in the inaugural T12 -- three from Ontario -- and two last year and this fall in the eight-team event.

And when all was said and done the linescore on the auxiliary scoreboards were almost identical:

Ontario Green 000 000 0 -- 0 2 1
Ontario Black 000 000 0 -- 0 1 3

On a day Toronto did nothing for an Olympics bid, the two Ontario teams matched that total in the runs column.

Ontario vs. Ontario crosses many borders, not as serious as say brother against brother like the North going against the South ... and we don’t mean the north and south diamond at Greg Cranker Field in Mississauga.

There were in the third base and first base dugouts

_ Teammates from the Canadian Junior National Team.

_ Teammates from the province’s elite teams.

_ And former teammates from OBA clubs teams going back a few years.

“I was a little angry I went 0-for-3 against R.J. Freure (Burlington) and Matthews Jones (Whitby),” said Andrew Yerzy, a Canadian Junior National Team teammate of Freure and Jones last spring. He popped up and bounced back to the pitcher against Freure and reached on an error.

Yerzy is expected to be the top high schooler drafted come June and the only player to appear in the previous Ontario-Ontario meeting on Sept. 23, 2013.

“Hopefully, we beat them when we play them again Wednesday night,” said Yerzy a member of the Toronto Mets, the Canuck Juniors and formerly the North York Blues. .

“You know most of the guys in the other dugout,” said Yerzy, who guessed he probably knows 3/4 of the opposing team and “half the team personally.”

“You want to beat them more than say another team you play,” he said.

To set up some history ...  

There were 13 Ontario Blue Jays on the two teams: INF Etan Cummins (Mississauga), RHP Jordan Balazovic (Mississauga), INF Ryan Kula (Toronto), C Reese O’Farrell (Burlington), RHP Noah Skirrow (Stoney Creek) with Ontario Black; OF Cooper Davis (Mississauga), INF Owen Jansen (Oakville), INF Andrew Leggo (Waterloo), LHP Jack Berczi (Oakville), C Luke Van Rycheghem (Kent Bridge), OF Nick Howie (Oakville), RHP Andrew Wilkinson (Toronto/IMG Academy) and Ryan Rijo (North York) with Ontario Green.

There were eight Great Lake Canadians in uniform: OF Lucas Parente (Burlington), 1B Ari Sechopoulos (Windsor) with Ontario Black; INF Curtis Helps (Wyoming), INF Thomas Grilli (Mississauga), SS Adam Hall (London), Jake Wilson (New Lowell), C Max Wright (Toronto) and RHP Austin Shields (Stoney Creek) with Ontario Green.

There were five Toronto Mets selected to play in the game: 2B Luke Turino (Toronto), 3B Brad Aldred (Whitby) and Yerzy with Ontario Black; LHP Niall Windeler (Toronto) and LHP Matthew Jones (Whitby) with Ontario Green.   

There were three Ontario Terriers: INF Elliott Curtis (Waterloo) with Ontario Black; C Joe Tevlin (Toronto) and RHP Sam Turcotte (North York) with Ontario Green.   

“You know most of the players on the other team, some guys are your teammates, some you play against all the time,” said Curtis. “This was a lot different than our first game against Alberta. 

“It really was a pitcher’s duel.”

Terrier point, counter point: “I was with the Futures team last year and Elliott Curtis’ team beat us,” said Turcotte. “For a while he was really bugging me about the score.”

While Jones didn’t give up a hit to Yerzy he retired Mets teammate Aldred.

“There was a lot of talk before the game,” Jones said. “Aldred got into the box leading off the seventh and he was smiling at me. I didn’t know if I should smile back at him.”

Mets point, counter point.

Jones smiled back and then struck out Aldred on a breaking ball. 

“We play our games at Kinsmen Stadium,” said Jones looking around at the Rogers Centre seats.

This is not Oshawa`s Kinsmen Stadium, where Jim Lutton supervised the pouring of the cement for the walls.

“It was a lot of fun I didn’t get to face everyone (of his teammates).”

Davis and Grilli singled for Ontario Green, while Sechopoulos singled for Ontario Black. 

Davis and Hall each had two stolen bases for Green, while Kula swiped a base for Ontario Black.  

Davis played for the Mississauga North Tigers including played up a year as a bantam. He compared looking into the other dugout to being at the Ontario eliminations and seeing players like Kula from Etobicoke and Yerzy from North York.

“It was a fun opportunity to go up to the plate with my good friend O’Farrell catching,” said Davis. “He was joking with me -- I hadn’t seen him since I’d gone to Japan.

“It was a fun game, but there are scouts there so you have to be serious and you want to win because it’s a team game, I still have to do my job and steal bags even if (O’Farrell) is my friend.” 

Davis said he and Kula were talking “friendly smack” while Skirrow were “chirping” each other before the game and he hoped that he would face Balazovic.

“I dreamed about facing Skirrow. He’s one of my better friends ... and he struck me out. He’ll probably mention that a few times.”

Blue Jays point, counter point

“They have more power than we do, but we have Kula, they only had one more hit than we did,” Balazovic said. “Hopefully there will be more hitting and there will be more action when we meet them again.” 

Balazovic watched from the bullpen ... as did his regular season teammate Berczi.

We’re good friends, we were in the pen joking we’re all buddies,” said Balazovic, “it felt more important than playing Alberta -- I don’t know many kids on that team.”

How would Balazovic ... one of the better high school pitchers heading into the 2016 draft pitch Davis, one of the better high school hitters heading into the 2017 draft.

“It’s a lot easier since the count starts off 1-1, but I’d probably go breaking ball or a high inside fastball” said the pitcher. 

After if the speedy Davis reached, how would he prevent him from stealing?

“I’d try to change my looks and slide step against him,” said Balazovic.

For Green, Freure pitched five scoreless allowing three base runners (one hit, two walks) while fanning six), while Jones worked the final two innings, walking one and striking out three.  

Mitch Clark (Windsor) put up four zeros allowing three base runners (one hit, two walks) and fanned four, while Skirrow put up the final three zeros with two men reaching (a hit and a walk) as he fanned six.

There were 19 strikeouts of the 42 outs made as the two teams went 0-for-11 with men  

With one out in the sixth Jones walked Kula and Yerzy reached on a muffed ground ball. Jones retired O’Farrell on a 6-4-3 double play.

“In the bullpen they had two benches, the two teams sat far apart, there were Ontario Blue Jays on each team,” said Turcotte. “They were threatening with first and third, then we turned the double play and we cheered.”

As St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck would have said “folks ... we’ll see you tomorrow night.

Flashback Tueday: In the only other meeting between two Ontario teams Ontario Green got the win over Ontario Black

All the scoring came in the first two innings as Black scored four in the first and second, Green came back with two in the first and eight in the second.

Yerzy doubled and knocked in three runs.

After that starter Roberto Morson (Mississauga) pitched a scoreless third inning, then Jackson Jones (Toronto) and Jacob Kreiger (Mississauga) pitched a scoreless inning each. Zach Lawrence (Toronto) finished up with two scoreless.

Mike Moffatt (Waterdown) had three hits and Darren Shred (Brampton) two. Austin Guzzo-Follaro (Brooklin) tripled and had two RBIs for Ontario Black.

Future drafted pros in the lineup included Demi Ormiloye (Orleans), Josh Naylor (Mississauga), Owen Spiwak (Mississauga), J.D. Williams (Brampton), Gareth Morgan (North York) and Shred. 

Schools on hand: Pitt University Panthers, University of San Francisco Dons, University of Kentucky Wildcats, Eastern Kentucky University Colonels, Northern Kentucky University Norse, Niagara University Purple Eagles, Canisius Golden Griffs, Stony Brook University Seawolves, Liberty Uiversity Flames, University of Washington Huskies, University of Utah Utes, Albany Great Danes, British Columbia Thunderbirds, Bryan College Lions, Indian Hills Community College Falcons coach by Cam Walker (Winnipeg, Man) and Southeastern Community College Blackhawks.

Impressing: RHP Josh Burgmann (Nanaimo, BC) pitched three scoreless for BC Orange hitting 92 mph he allowed an infield hit and fanned five. Burgmann had contact with the Washington Huskies.

RHP Jordan Balazovic (Mississauga, Ont.) had seven strikeouts in four innings hitting 90 mph.

Long tall 6-foot-6 drink of water RHP Ben Abram (Georgetown, Ont.) two scoreless with four scoreless allowing one hit.

LHP Harley Gollert (Mississauga, Ont.) of Future Navy struck out the side with the bases loaded facing Atlantic Maroon.

Play of day: Futures Navy was leading 5-1 in the fifth against Atlantic Maroon. Kyle Pinsken was on the Rogers Centre mound with two men on after Jason Willow had singled and Rhys Cratty had walked. Noah Naylor then lined to shortstop Declan Buckle for one, Buckle fired to second baseman Adam Estey for two out and Estey fired to first baseman Jeremie Arseneau for the triple play. 

Throw and turn repeat: Pitching coaches are always struggling to get their pitchers to repeat their delivery. It’s no problem at Rogers Centre as each first-timer will come to his balance point, extend, finish and quickly turn to see his velocity on the big board.

“Some of these guys need to be patient enough to wait until they get into the dugout or get a velocity board behind the catcher so that pitchers can see it without being so obvious,” said one scout, “I saw one guy turn so fast I thought he was going to pull an oblique. 

“I saw one guy turn and see 61 mph.” 

He didn’t turn on the second pitch.

Cover jinx: Yerzy was 1-for-5 in his two first two games so it’s too early to tell if there is a jinx a la Sports Illustrated. 

Our crack Canadian Baseball Network staff put together the an excellent read for the third annual T12. Our Alexis Brudnicki has the cover story on the top high schooler Yerzy as well as pieces on C Luke Van Rycheghem (Kent Bridge, Ont.), C-SS Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) and OF Isaac Deveaux (Montreal, Que.)

Nick Ashbourne has stories on C Victor Cerny (Winnipeg, Man.) and Nathan Livingston (Glace Bay, NS). 

Matt Betts has pieces on Josh Burgmann (Nanaimo, BC) and Peter Hutzal (Calgary, Alta.).

There are also stories on the selection process for T12 as well as a piece on commissioner Robbie Alomar, the Blue Jays lone Hall of Famer. 

Count please: Due to the strict time lines and to keep games moving each hitters begin each at-bat with an automatic 1-1 count, like the Michigan high school league Windsor teams used to dominate with the likes of LHP John Picco.

“Ahhh, they should start with the count 2-0, then you’d see some people hacking,” said George Bell.

And the faves are: We asked eight evaluators and scouts after the eight teams worked out and day won who commissioner Robbie Alomar would be presenting the championship to on Friday morn.

Alberta 3
BC 3
Futures 1
Quebec 1

Last year it looked like this: Alberta, five votes; Ontario Black, four; B.C., three; Ontario Green, two and Quebec, one.

And since it was an anonymous poll and our memory is so bad we probably have 15 guys claiming they were the only guy who forsaw Quebec winning last year.