Alberta rallies late to tie Ontario Black

 Graham Brunner, of the Okotoks Dawgs Baseball Academy, took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, and struck out nine Ontario Black batters over 5 1/3 innings in the late game at Tournament 12 on Saturday. Photo Credit: Jaspreet Grewal

Graham Brunner, of the Okotoks Dawgs Baseball Academy, took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, and struck out nine Ontario Black batters over 5 1/3 innings in the late game at Tournament 12 on Saturday. Photo Credit: Jaspreet Grewal

By Brandon Jodouin

Canadian Baseball Network

TORONTO -- Sometimes, two baseball teams are so evenly matched, that it seems unfair one of them must lose.

No such injustice occurred Saturday night at the Rogers Centre, as Alberta and Ontario Black battled to a 4-4 tie in the final Tournament 12 game of the day.

Trailing by two heading into the bottom of the seventh, Alberta (2-0-1) rallied to tie the game on the back of four walks and a LaRon Smith (Spruce Grove, Alta.) double.

"It's great, much better than a loss," said Alberta starter Graham Brunner. "It's good to have when (your team) can hit the ball around and get (the runs) back."

In the early innings, fans and scouts in attendance were treated to a well fought pitcher's duel.

Brunner cruised, making it look effortless as he kept Ontario Black (0-2-2) without a hit for four innings needing only 31 pitches.

"I feel like I was locating good, threw some pretty good pitches to some pretty good hitters," said the Sherwood, Alta., native. "I think I did my job."

Brunner left the game with one out in the sixth, giving up four runs, on four hits, while striking out nine.

His counterpart, Zachery McQuaid (Oshawa, Ont.) of Ontario Black, got behind the 8-ball early. A walk and a double from the first two batters he faced put his team down a run.

But he settled in after that, allowing just a single hit and one unearned run, from that point on through his four innings of work.

"I just focused on the goal, which is to throw strikes and get guys out," said McQuaid. "Once I got the focus back I felt good."

The Oshawa native credits his catcher, Ryan Faragher (London, Ont.), throwing out Cooper Jones (Ponoka, Alta.) trying to steal third in the bottom of the first, with getting him back on track.

"That helped a lot," said McQuaid, standing outside the first base dugout. "It's definitely a confidence booster to get that first out from the defence, so it felt great to have."

After struggling against Brunner all game, Ontario finally broke through in the sixth, when Matt Jenkins (Toronto, Ont.) smacked a two-run triple to right field, and came in to score on the Ethan Hammond (Oakville, Ont.) single that followed.