By: Daniel Goffenberg
By: Daniel Goffenberg
Canadian Baseball Network
Having been stifled all game by British Columbia’s pitching, Alberta was down to its last out in the bottom of the seventh, bases loaded.
Enter Clayton Keyes.
The 16-year-old from Calgary worked himself into a favourable 3-1 count against Corey Jackson before driving a ball to left field, bringing in a pair for the walk-off 2-1 victory.
“He threw me a fastball right down the middle so I knew I had to swing, and God just gave me the strength to hit a double,” said Keyes. “This team, we always know how to come back, and I knew we’d have the fight in us to come back and win this game.”
Getting the win for Alberta was righty Jalen Lane, who pitched the final four frames giving up just two hits and a walk. He came on in relief of the left-handed Kyle Prather who pitched out of a couple jams early on almost unscathed.
After giving up a single to B.C.’s Lenn Nakatsuka to open the game, Prather walked Nick Seginowich, and Kobe Morris to load the bases.
A base hit by centre fielder Tyler Duncan opened the scoring, but that was all B.C. could get. They would threaten again the following inning, putting runners on second and third with no outs, but two strikeouts and a fly out killed the rally.
After getting three hits in the first two innings, B.C. would find just two the rest of the way.
“Our guys aren’t overpowering on the mound, but they do a good job of competing and our defence is really solid, especially up the middle,” said Alberta coach Mike Johnson. “That’s key in those situations, they buckle down when they have to.”
The two teams went a combined 2-24 with runners in scoring position, with both pitching staffs pitching out of jams consistently.
Jake Polancic started the game for B.C., and went three innings with two strikeouts and two walks.
The only hits he gave up were a bunt single and an infield hit that would have been an out had first baseman Carter Loewen, been able to keep his foot on the bag when catching Sam Avila’s throw.
Polancic was relieved by Sam Shoemaker, who gave up one hit and three walks in his two innings of work, striking out a pair.
Coming in for the sixth, Jackson threw heat, sitting in the high eighties comfortably. A one-two-three inning had Team B.C. just three outs away from their first win of the tournament, but things fell apart in the final frame.
Jackson walked leadoff hitter Luke Lepine, then Aidan Huggins on three pitches (all counts at Tournament 12 start at 1-1). A flyout by Kobe Hyland was followed by another three-pitch walk, this one to Justin King.
Soren Graverson struck out, setting the table for Keyes’ heroics.
“The main focus that last inning was just to get the tying run in scoring position and give ourselves a chance,” said Johnson. “We were one base hit away from tying it up, and luckily Clayton came up there in a good situation, got a good pitch to hit, in a hitter’s count, and he didn’t miss it.”