Clarke, Keyes, Davis sparkle as Jrs. battle Tigers to tie

 OF Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) of the Toronto Mets knocked in three runs with a double and a single as the Canadian juniors battled Detroit Tigers prospects to an 8-8 tie. Photos: Eddie Michels.

OF Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) of the Toronto Mets knocked in three runs with a double and a single as the Canadian juniors battled Detroit Tigers prospects to an 8-8 tie. Photos: Eddie Michels.

March 27, 2017

JNT Spring Training: Juniors play Tigers to draw

By Adam Morissette
Baseball Canada

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Junior National Team scored seven unanswered runs to take a two-run lead into the ninth against a group of Detroit Tigers prospects only to give up the lead in the ninth and eventually settle for an 8-8 draw.

Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) drove in three runs with a single and double to pace the Junior National Team offence.

Score: Canada (U-18) 8 Detroit Tigers 8
Location: Walter Fuller Complex – St. Petersburg, Fla.
Weather: 26 degrees Celsius, Sunny

Canada 18U Starting Lineup:
1. Cooper Davis - DH
2. Adam Hall – SS
3. Noah Naylor - C
4. Clayton Keyes - RF
5. Edouard Julien – 2B
6. Lucas Parente - CF
7. Michael Stovman – 1B
8. Jason Willow - EH
9. Victor Cerny – EH
10. Damiano Palmegiani – 3B
11. Denzel Clarke - LF

Starting Pitcher: RHP Conor Angel

- After getting out of the top of the first with an inning-ending double play, things unraveled for Junior National Team starter Conor Angel (Lachine, Que.) in the second as he walked four, hit two, threw a wild pitch and gave up a two-run single. When the inning ended the Tigers had a 5-0 lead.

- The juniors got their first hit of the game in the third and it was Jason Willow (Victoria, BC) who sent a pitch to the wall in left for a lead off double. With two out and Willow on third, Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) lined a single over shortstop to put the junior on the board.

 RP Jaden Griffin (Lower Sackville, NS) ...

RP Jaden Griffin (Lower Sackville, NS) ...

- The Tigers added a run in the third and it came with two out after a throwing error charged to shortstop Adam Hall (London, Ont.) on a tough play up the middle. Reliever Jaden Griffin (Lower Sackville, NS) allowed a single and walk to start the inning before getting a fly out to centre and a strikeout.

- Clarke added his second an third RBI after a two-run double to left as the juniors added five runs in the sixth to pull even. Clarke scored when Cooper Davis (Mississauga, Ont.) stole second with the catcher’s throw ending up in centre. Davis later took off for third and was able to trot home when the throw rolled into left. With Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) on first base after a walk, Clayton Keyes (Calgary, Alta.) drilled a double to the gap in left that tied the score.

- The juniors took the lead in the eighth as Adam Hall (London, Ont.) led off with a single and proceeded to steal second and third before Keyes drove him with a one out triple to the gap in left. Keyes later scored on a wild pitch and the juniors led by two.

- Reliever Jake English (London, Ont.) held the Tigers off the scoreboard for two innings but ran into trouble in the ninth after a base hit and two one out walks to load the bases. The Tigers tied the score on the same play as a wild pitch scored one before Victor Cerny’s (Winnipeg, Man.) throwing error saw the tying run cross home plate.

- Reliever Griffin did a nice job coming out of the bullpen to start the third inning. Griffin went four innings and was on the mound for an unearned run that scored in the fourth. He allowed two hits, two walks and struck out four batters.

- Clarke reached base in all three of his plate appearances including a double and three RBI, while a pitch also hit him.

 OF Clayton Keyes (Calgary, Alta.) turns on another one 

OF Clayton Keyes (Calgary, Alta.) turns on another one 

- Keyes’ double in the sixth and triple in the eighth were his fourth and fifth extra base hits in four spring training games.

- English was impressive in relief in the seventh and eighth innings as he retired six of the first seven batters he faced. He registered four strikeouts over three innings of work.

- The Tigers roster featured players that are likely ticketed for extended spring training once camp breaks later in the week. There are three Canadians in the Tigers’ organization, all of which have played in the National Teams program including RHP Dustin Molleken (Regina, Sask.), OF Jacob Robson (Windsor, Ont.) and SS Daniel Pinero (Toronto, Ont.).

Hits: 2, Clarke, Keyes
Runs: 1, Davis, hall, Naylor, Keyes, Willow, Cerny, Palmegiani, Clarke
Doubles: 1, Willow, Clarke, Keyes
Triples: 1, Keyes
RBI: 3, Clarke; 2, Keyes
Stolen Bases: 2, Davis, Hall; 1, Julien, Naylor
Strikeouts: 4, Griffin, English; 1, Angel

The Junior National Team will return to the Walter Fuller Complex in St. Petersburg tomorrow to take on a visiting prospects squad from the Atlanta Braves organization with the first pitch set for 1pm ET … RHP Eric Cerantola (Oakville, Ont.) will start on the mound for Canada … Listen live to all of the action on 

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.