Clarke, Griffin, Dearing, Bergeron lead juniors over Twins' prospects

 Toronto Mets outfielder Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) drove in the game-winning run in the Canadian Junior National Team's 4-3 win over a team of Minnesota Twins' prospects on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Christian J. Stewart

Toronto Mets outfielder Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) drove in the game-winning run in the Canadian Junior National Team's 4-3 win over a team of Minnesota Twins' prospects on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Christian J. Stewart

April 24, 2018

JNT EXTENDED: Clarke leads juniors over Twins

By Adam Morissette

Baseball Canada

Box Score

FORT MYERS, Florida – Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the sixth before Tate Dearing (White Rock, B.C.) and Viktor Bergeron (Terrebonne, Que.) combined to shut the door as the Junior National Team defeated a prospects squad from the Minnesota Twins organization, 4-3.

Clarke enjoyed a 2-for-3 day at the plate with a double and a run scored. 

Bergeron faced some adversity in the ninth walking the bases loaded with just one out but managed a pair of fly outs to earn the save.


- The juniors came out swinging in the top of the first with Denzel Clarke and TJ Schofield-Sam (Brampton, Ont.) each recording singles off Junior National Team alum Jordan Balazovic (Mississauga, Ont.) before a walk to Cesar Valero (Calgary, Alta.) loaded the bases. Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) then lifted a fly ball to centre that allowed Clarke to tag and score from third before Damiano Palmegiani (Surrey, B.C.) followed with a line single to left that scored Schofield-Sam.

- The hits kept coming in the second as Owen Diodati (Niagara Falls, Ont.) smacked a lead off double to right and LaRon Smith (Spruce Grove, Alta.) followed win an RBI single that put the junior up by three.

- After a scoreless first, starter Braden Halladay (Odessa, Fla., born in Toronto) ran into trouble in the second, issuing a one-out walk before the Twins strung together three consecutive base hits that brought in a pair of runs and added the tying run on a single to right field.

- Denzel Clarke came to the plate with two on a nobody out in the sixth and promptly delivered a double to centre that brought in Dasan Brown (Oakville, Ont.) with the go ahead run.


- Reliever Jaden Griffin (Lower Sackville, N.S.) was exceptional on the mound working two and one-third innings of scoreless baseball. Griffin entered the game with two out in the third and proceeded to retire seven batters in a row including a pair of strikeouts.

-Tate Dearing worked his way out of trouble in the seventh as he loaded the bases thanks to two walks but got a fly out to centre to end the threat.

- Offensively, seven different Junior National Team batters recorded hits including Denzel Clarke who was a catalyst atop the batting order with a 2-for-3 day at the plate that included driving in the eventual game-winning run.

- The Twins did not go away without making things interesting in the bottom of the ninth as they used a single and a pair of Bergeron walks to load the bases but came away empty handed.


The Junior National Team will be back at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches tomorrow and face a prospects squad from the Houston Astros organization at Noon E.T....RHP Eric Cerantola (Oakville, Ont.) is scheduled to start on the mound and be followed by RHP Ben Abram (Georgetown, Ont.) and RHP Zack McQuaid (Oshawa, Ont.).

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.