Rijo's home run the difference in T12 Battle of Ontario
By: Jose Colorado
Canadian Baseball Network
What a difference a day can make.
After playing to a scoreless draw with Ontario Black on Tuesday night, Ontario Green got a late two-run home run from Ryan Rijo on the way to a 4-2 win over their inner-province rival on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.
For the second straight night the two Ontario squads met in the nightcap of the event but the game couldn’t have played out any differently the second time around.
“Honestly, yesterday I had a rough game,” Rijo said, noting his first-day jitters. “It was a great pitching duel yesterday between two great arms. But last night Sandy Alomar – Roberto’s dad - was giving me some hitting tips and I just put them into the game today.”
Rijo’s homer proved to be the difference-maker with the game tied 2-2 in the sixth inning as the first baseman got the best of Mateos Kekatos despite the one-one strike-ball count scenario that is employed – and has Ontario Green’s (1-1-1) Manager Greg O’Halloran convinced of a pitcher’s advantage at the competition.
“With the one-one count, I’m looking for a fastball but if I see an off-speed pitch I’ll react to it so of course the pitcher is going to have an advantage when he throws the curve ball and you’re down 1-2 - you don’t know what’s coming so you’re sitting back on your heels.
“But honestly baseball is baseball as long as you play hard and go hard – nothing should change.”
The starting pitchers were solid – but not great - like RJ Freure and Mitchell Clark were on Tuesday night in their respective starts.
Devlin Jovetic got the start on the bump for Ontario Black (0-1-2), going four innings and allowing one hit and two runs, recording four strikeouts. While Berczi, of Oakville, put together a near-identical line of four innings, one allowed hit, one run and three strikeouts.
Berczi found himself in trouble early as he loaded up the bases in the second inning with three consecutive walks. Lucas Parente took advantage of the opportunity notching a base hit and an RBI and achieving something very early on that both teams failed to do for the entire game on Tuesday night – score.
Jovetic had his own shaky moments for the Black just one inning later. The right-hander's wild pitch allowed the Green team to even it up before a sacrifice fly by Gibson Krzeminski cashed Cooper Davis in and put Green up 2-1.
The sloppiness continued in the fifth inning when Parente of Black scored on a throwing error by second baseman, Andrew Leggo, one of four in the game by Green.
The two teams can now only meet one another come playoff time.