By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
It’s awfully difficult for a sandlot team to go 8-for-9 in the win column even if the team is playing against a younger aged group.
Playing south of the border, the Ontario Blue Jays-Travers went 8-1 losing at the 15th annual WWBA 2020 Grads or 16U National Championship.
At the plate Ryan Kush, Christian Leone, Dasan Brown, Dylan Jones and Jaden Brown were dominant at Perfect Game Park At LakePoint in Cartersville, Ga. The 384-team tourney had been whittled down to the round of 24 teams when the Ontario Blue Jays lost.
Kush (Guelph, Ont.) hit .524 (11-for-21) with three doubles, a triple and seven RBIs, while Leone (Nobleton, Ont.) batted .421 (8-for-19) with two doubles and five RBIs. Dasan Brown (Oakville, Ont.) batted .381 (8-for-21) with a double, a triple, two homers and eight RBIs, while Jaden Brown (Mississauga, Ont.) hit .346 (9-for-26) with two doubles, a homer and nine RBIs.
On the mound, Jacob McWhirter (Guelph, Ont.) worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings and Nico Saldias (Ajax, Ont.) pitched five scoreless. Caden Griffin (Nepean, Ont.) was 2-0 with a 1.97 ERA striking out nine in 10 2/3 innings and Jones allowed one run in six innings.
Opening night: Caden Griffin and Nico Saldias combined on a five hitter as Ontario Blue Jays-Travers blanked the Easley Baseball Club 16U 4-0 in the opener. Griffin worked 6 1/3 innings allowing five hits and three walks. He threw 97 pitches (53% for strikes) his fastball topping out at 88 MPH. Saldias came on to throw four strikes, including a strike out to get the final two outs. 3B TJ Schofield-Sam (Brampton, Ont.) singled and knocked in a pair of runs, while CF Dasan Brown, SS Jaden Brown and DH Nick Digennaro (Oakville, Ont.) had singles. LF Jones knocked in a run.
Ten is enough: Lead-off man Dasan Brown hit an inside-the-park homer in the third and tripled to knock in four runs. Jaden Brown hit a two-run homer in the second as the Ontario Blue Jays-Travers scored 11 times in the first three innings on the way to a 17-7 win over DFW Express Elite-Garibay. LF Digennaro had two hits, while other hits went to RF Joel McKnight (Whitby, Ont.), McWhirter, Kush, Schofield-Sam and Leone. Griffin Potter (Kincardine, Ont.) pitched 4 1/3 innings giving up four runs -- three earned -- on six hits and a walk. Potter threw 75 pitches (57% strikes) with his fastball clocked at 84 MPH. Kush allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings and Nick Fraser had a scoreless outing.
Squeaking one out: Jones walked, stole second and scored on a Dionysius Chialtas (Toronto, Ont.) double in the sixth as the Ontario Blue Jays-Travers edged EJ Sports Warriors 16U 5-4 to move to 3-0. Kush and Jaden Brown each had two hits, including a double, and knocked in a run. Jones also singled and drove in a run. The other hits went to Dasan Brown, McKnight and Digennaro. Justin Bradt (Burlington, Ont.) worked five innings allowing four unearned runs on six hits and four walks. He had a 68-pitch outing (47%) hitting 80 MPH with his fastball. Kush closed it out with two scoreless innings.
One more makes four in a row: McWhirter pitched 5 1/3 scoreless allowing two hits and three walks, while striking out five as Ontario Blue Jays-Travers beat Palm Beach Select 2020 11-0. He had an 82-pitch outing (57% strikes) with his fastball clocked at 76 MPH. Schofield-Sam had three hits, including a double and an RBI. Leone doubled, singled and drove in two runs as Chialtas had two hits, driving in two. Digennaro had a pair of hits, plating a pair, while Dionysius had two hits. The other hits went to Dasan Brown, Jaden Brown, McKnight and Jones.
One more makes five in a row: Doubles by McWhirter and Jaden Brown, an error, a hit batter plus singles by Jones and Kush were the key ingredients as the Ontario Blue Jays-Travers scored six runs in the fifth for a 12-7 win over the East Cobb Astros 16U Gray. Kush had three hits and drove in three runs, while Jones was as productive with a double and a single. Schofield-Sam tripled and singled to knock in a run, while the other hits went to Dasan Brown, Jaden Brown, who doubled, McKnight and Chialtas. Connor Best, a pick-up from Coal City, Ill., pitched 5 2/3 innings allowing seven runs -- five earned -- on six hits and six walks, while fanning four. Saldias recorded the final out.
One more makes six in a row: Three runs in the second inning -- thanks to a three-run homer by Dasan Brown -- the Ontario Blue Jays-Travers edged Indiana Expos-National 5-4. C Luca Boscarino (Mississauga, Ont.) doubled and singled, while the other hits went to Kush, Jaden Brown, Chialtas and Jones. Digennaro worked 4 1/3 innings allowing two runs on five hits and three walks. He threw 68 pitches (58% strikes) his fastball clocked at 78 MPH. Kush pitched 1 2/3 innings allowing two runs on four hits. Then, Saldias needed only 12 pitches to record the save.
One more makes seven straight: Singles by McWhirter, Jones, Jaden Brown, a hit battter and a couple of errors led the Ontario Blue Jays-Travers to a five-run fifth on the way to a 9-2 win over the Star Carolina Ash 16U. Jones pitched six innings giving up one run on seven hits and three walks, while fanning three. Jones threw 82 pitches (62% strikes). Jones and McWhirter each had three hits while Schofield-Sam had two hits with two RBIs, while Leone added two with an RBI. Jaden Brown singled to knock in two, while Chialtas singled and drove in a run and Kush had a hit. That victory wound up pool play and put the Ontario Blue Jays-Travers on top of Pool C with a 7-0 mark scoring 63 wins and allowing 24. There were 47 other teams who advanced to the playoffs.
Pool C PCT W L T RA RS
Ontario Blue Jays-Travers 1.000 7 0 0 24 63
East Cobb Astros 16U Gray .857 6 1 0 26 47
Indiana Expos-National .429 2 3 2 22 25
5 Star Carolina Ash 16U .429 2 3 2 26 22
Easley Baseball Club 16U .429 2 3 2 27 19
DFW Express Elite - Garibay .429 3 4 0 37 25
EJ Sports Warriors 16U .357 2 4 1 30 30
Palm Beach Select 2020 .071 0 6 1 50 11
Playoff round opening win: Down 3-0 in the fifth inning, the Ontario Blue Jays-Travers rallied to edged the Royals Scout Team 4-3. Leone opened with a double and after a Dasan Brown walk, Kush tripled. Then, two Royals errors allowed two more runs to score. Griffin pitched 4 1/3 innings allowing three runs on two hits and three walks. He threw 64 pitches (60% strikes). Saldias then worked three scoreless despite allowing three hits and walking three. Leone had three hits, including a double, while Kush doubled, tripled and knocked in a pair of runs. Chialtas chipped in with a single. The victory, which moved them to 8-0, put the Ontario Blue Jays into the round of 24 teams.
And one loss was all it took: The Ontario Blue Jays-Travers managed only three singles in a 5-0 loss to the Louisiana Knights Black. Dasan Brown, Kush and McKnight each singles. Potter started allowing four runs in 2 1/3 innings on two hits and three walks. Kush finished up pitching 3 2/3 innings giving up one run on three hits while striking out four. The Ontario Blue Jays-Travers finished the trip 8-1. The Ontario Blue Jays hit .332, averaging seven runs per game, while compiling a 3.01 team ERA.
The Ontario Blue Jays improved their record to 6-0 at this week’s tournament, and received solid performances from a pair of bats. Dasan Brown (2019, Oakville, Ont.) had the swing of the day as he launched a three-run home run deep over the wall in left. The ball left Brown’s bat at 94 mph, and it was an impressive ball to watch leave the yard. Brown played a strong center field during Tuesday’s action, making a couple of nice plays on the run and nabbing a runner with a phenomenal throw to the plate. Brown is very comfortable in the field, and he also showed an ability to run with a 4.43-second home-to-first time while stumbling out of the box. Brown is uncommitted and a good get in the 2019 class.
Kentucky commit Jaden Brown (2019, Mississauga, Ont.) also had a solid day for the Blue Jays. Brown was 1-for-3 with an RBI single on Tuesday, and he played an excellent shortstop throughout. Brown is a physical player with a 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame that projects well at the next level. He moves well in the field, and his athletic stance and quick hands in the box are something to be excited about. Brown has impressed at events in the past, and the 22nd-ranked player in the class of 2019 will be a name to keep an eye on in the 2019 MLB Draft.
– Nate Schweers