Canada upsets No. 1 ranked Japan, will play for medal at U18 World Cup

 Ontario Terriers RHP Ben Abram (Georgetown, Ont.) started and allowed two runs in 4-2/3 innings for Canada in their 6-4 upset win over Japan at the U18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Ont., on Friday. Photo Credit: WBSC/Christian J. Stewart

Ontario Terriers RHP Ben Abram (Georgetown, Ont.) started and allowed two runs in 4-2/3 innings for Canada in their 6-4 upset win over Japan at the U18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Ont., on Friday. Photo Credit: WBSC/Christian J. Stewart

By Adam Morissette

Baseball Canada

THUNDER BAY, Ontario – Canada will play for a medal at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup.

Canada prevailed over Japan, 6-4, on Friday at Port Arthur Stadium to guarantee a spot in Sunday’s bronze medal game against either Korea or Japan.

Box Score: Canada 6 Japan 4

Down by a run in the seventh, Canada rallied to score three runs while reliever Harley Gollert (Toronto, Ont.) followed with three scoreless innings to record a three-inning save.

“It feels awesome,” said Gollert of the win. “The atmosphere was amazing and I really fed off the energy of the crowd.”

In the seventh, Archer Brookman’s (Pointe-Claire, Que.) single to left allowed Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) to score on a tremendous slide at home avoiding the tag from the Japanese catcher on a throw from left that clearly beat him to the plate. From there, Jason Willow (Victoria, B.C.) reached on a dropped third strike before Brookman scored the go ahead run on a wild pitch. Victor Cerny’s (Winnipeg, Man.) base hit to left allowed Willow to score from second and put Canada in front by two.

“Obviously that inning was huge for us,” said Canadian manager Greg Hamilton. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for Japan and were fortunate to take advantage when they made some mistakes.”

Canada received a solid effort on the mound from starter Ben Abram (Georgetown, Ont.) who was pulled with the bases loaded and two out in the fifth before Griffin Hassall (Newmarket, Ont.) got a fly out to right to end the threat.

“We needed some innings from Ben tonight and he delivered,” said Hamilton. “With games remaining it was important to get some length out of our starter which will help our (pitching) staff with two games remaining."

Canada opened the scoring in the second after Dondrae Bremner (Toronto, Ont.) roped a single to centre that brought in Michael Stovman (Maple Ridge, B.C.) and Willow before a two-out single off Abram put Japan on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning.

Abram worked his way out of trouble in the fourth after an error, single and sac bunt put runners on second and third with only one out. Naylor then nabbed a runner breaking for home on a chopper to third base before fielding a grounder at third and firing to first for the third out of the inning.

Already having chased Japanese starter Soma Tokuyama from the game, they went to their bullpen with two out and the bases loaded in the fifth bringing in Kento Kawabata who hit Willow with his first pitch to put Canada in front, 3-1.

Japan got a run back with two out in the bottom of the inning as cleanup hitter Kotaro Kiyomiya hit a solo shot to centre before a walk and a couple of errors gave Japan a temporary lead in the sixth.

Canada will close out Super Round play on Saturday against Cuba (0-4) at 5 p.m. E.T.

Live streaming for tomorrow’s game will be available via the WBSC’s YouTube channel.

WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Schedule
WBSC YouTube Channel

Adam Morissette

Adam Morissette was born and raised in Ottawa, Ont. where sports were always a big part of his life whether it be baseball, hockey or football, including playing two seasons as centre for coach Pat Sheahan with the Queen's University Golden Gaels in Kingston -- Canada's first capital. Morissette has always have been passionate about baseball and has fond memories of attending Montreal Expos games with his father, Mike, and listening to his recollection of watching baseball in Montreal at Jarry Park and stories about Gary Carter, Rusty Staub and Steve Rodgers. Morissette could often be found in a near empty Lynx Stadium watching Joe Siddall, Bert Heffernan, Curtis Pride and Jamie Carroll soaking in a beautiful summer night at the ballpark. He was a member of the provincial championship Orleans Red Sox Little League teams also played with the Ottawa White Sox for the late Lyle Anderson and Todd Burke in OBA Midget and American Legion play and the Capital City Crushers (NCBL), primarily as a catcher. Has also spent time coaching Little League in Orleans and South Ottawa. He wanted to turn his passion into a career and enrolled in Sport Business Management at Algonquin College in Ottawa in 2007. After working for the Ottawa 67's OHL team as the Ticket Coordinator, Morissette jumped at the opportunity to become the Media and Public Relations Coordinator with Baseball Canada in 2010. He loves watching and reading about pro, college or amateur baseball and is a long-time subscriber to Baseball America. Morissette is thrilled about the idea of writing about baseball and is interested in covering any story that his car -- and time -- will allow him to cover.