By Patrick Stothers
Canadian Baseball Network
TORONTO - Etobicoke native Noah Case stared down the mound armed with a hitter’s count, the bases loaded, one out left, and his team down by one run.
It is a pressure situation that every ball player dreams of being in, the chance to win a game for the team with one swing of the bat, in front of top scouts from across the country no less at this year’s Tournament 12.
With a well-struck double to deep centre field, Case capitalized on Justin Humenay’s (Beaconsfield, Que.) pitch. The bases were cleared and ecstasy ensued for the 16-year-old second baseman, as Futures Navy defeated Quebec Blue 6-4.
“I was just looking for something in the zone that I could hit,” said Case, afterwards. “I was just looking for a fastball down the middle and I got one.”
Futures Navy had trailed throughout the game, until Owen Diodati (Niagara Falls, Ont.) hit a ground-rule double in the final inning to begin the rally, and the bases were loaded with two consecutive walks from Humenay.
Case found himself in a crucial position, and his drive to centre landed in the outstretched glove of Nicolas Tremblay (Mont St-Hilaire, Que.), before it bounced out again and landed on the turf, to clear the bases.
Thoughts of a grand slam only briefly crossed the mind of Case.
“I mean obviously you try not to think about that, but you are always thinking about that,” said Case. “I tried to just stay calm and approach it like any other at bat.”
Case also drove home a run in the second, with a triple that landed at an awkward distance and squeaked under the glove of the diving Tremblay, subsequently scoring third baseman Tyrell Schofield-Sam (Brampton, Ont.).
The defence for Futures Navy kept them in it, as Schofield-Sam bailed out his pitcher in the bottom of the third, turning a double play while tagging Antony Gilbert (Quebec City, Que.), and then picking off a grounder just inside of the foul line, turning and beating the runner with his throw.
Quebec Blue first baseman William Perrin (Terrebonne, Que.) had an impressive showing, breaking the ice with a deep triple over the glove of centre fielder Joel McKnight (Brooklin, Ont.), to score Gilbert and Martin Vincelli-Simard (Boisbriand, Que.).
Perrin added a double in the bottom of the fourth, with both of his hits landing in the deepest part of the field, and was walked in his next two at-bats to finish the game 4-for-4.
Quebec pitching began to show signs of struggle in the top of 6, as Philippe Breton (Repentigny, Que.) walked two, hit Schofield-Sam with a pitch, and then walked in a run, in relief of Christopher Pouliot.
Pouilot struck out 11, walked four, and allowed two earned runs over four innings.
Case and Futures Navy look to build off of this come-from-behind success in the remaining games of Tournament 12.