By Jose Alfonso Taboada
Canadian Baseball Network
TORONTO – Pitcher Eric Cerantola (Oakville, Ont.) showed on Friday night he can still shine when the going gets rough.
The Ontario Black star and Canadian junior team member dominated on the mound, allowing no earned runs on just one hit with 12 strikeouts and six walks in five innings, before leaving with a 2-0 lead over Ontario Green at Tournament 12 at the Rogers Centre.
Cerantola, eligible for the pro draft next year, pitched around those six free passes, using the strikeout to help get out of trouble.
Five runs over the final two frames, however, erased the margin and led Green to an eventual 5-3 victory.
Noah Hull (Toronto, Ont.) doubled in the go-ahead runs for Green in the top of the seventh, scoring Blake Buckle (Milton, Ont.) and Ben Jones (Whitby, Ont.) for a 4-3 lead. A fielding error by shortstop Daniel Carinci (Ajax, Ont.) on a grounder by Cameron Sanderson (Ilderton, Ont.) , scored Hull for the 5-3 final margin.
Cerantola, one of the highest ranked hurlers in the annual tournament, was happy with his effort.
“I just tried to pound the zone,” he said afterwards. “I got away from [the zone] near the end. That’s when [Ontario Green] started putting more pressure on. Overall, just kept pounding zones.”
Despite the loss, Cerantola was happy with the opportunity.
“It’s a blast,” said the Oakville native. “Playing in the Rogers Centre, where major leaguers play is an incredible experience.”
During the scout sessions earlier in the day where each club performed in front of pro scouts and college recruiters, Blue Jays Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar (Commissioner of the now fifth year event) pointed to pitching as one of the key things that stood out to him this year.
Especially impressive, he said, was how the young participants have been throwing with high velocity, getting up over 85 mph or more.
Cerantola averaged in the 85-86 mph range with his fastest pitch clocking in at 89 mph. Told of Alomar’s comments, the 17-year-old was happy to hear it’s that skill set from the young pitchers that’s being noted.
“It’s great. He’s seen it all. I’m glad that he thinks of that. I’m just trying to go out there and do my thing.”