Elliott: Jupiter Day 1 stars Clarke, Knight, Kush, Magdic, Rhodes
By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
Hazy weather and darkened storm clouds jumbled the schedule at the annual Perfect Game World Wood Bat World Championship at Roger Dean Complex in Jupiter, Fla.
Yet, that didn’t prevent some Canadians from shining when play resumed.
RHP David Rhodes (White Rock, Ont.) had his fastball clocked at 91 MPH and RHP Jacob Kush (Guelph, Ont.) hit 90.
RF Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.), OF Jayden Knight (Langley, BC) and 1B Ryan Magdic (Beamsville, Ont.) all did well at the plate.
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Jacob Kush (Guelph, Ont.) was dominant and Lukas Barry finished up as the Ontario Blue Jays combined on a one-hit shut out to beat the Houston Astros Scout Team/Elite Squad 4-0 in the opener of pool play.
Kush pitched 5 2/3 scoreless inning allowing one hit and walking six. He struck out seven and hit 90 MPH in his 98-pitch outing. He hit 91 MPH on the Jays fall tour both at TCU and Iowa this year. Barry took over and allowed one runner in a walk as he pitched 1 2/3 innings.
3B TJ Schofield-Sam (Brampton, Ont.) had a pair of hits, knocking in two, while 2B Tyler Small (Mississauga, Ont.) doubled in a run and RF Blake Buckle (Milton, Ont.) knocked in a run.
1B Jake Ervin (Mississauga, Ont.) also doubled, with the other hits going to SS Ryan Johnston (Oakville, Ont.), C Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) and LF Ethan Hammond (Oakville, Ont.)
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Speedy CF Jayden Knight (Langley, BC) of the DBacks Langley Blaze bounced a ball up the middle with the bases loaded to bring him Jose Javier Mercado Acosta in the bottom of the seventh for the 1-0 walk-off win against the Coastal Prospects. Earlier, Knight doubled into the left field corner.
Tampa’s Jorge Oleaga pitched five scoreless and Tyler Kean of Lebanon, Ohio combined on the three-hit shutout.
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RF Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) of the Toronto Mets doubled in a run for the Rawlings National Scout Team in a 6-1 win over the Dirtbags.
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RHP David Rhodes (White Rock, Ont.) had his fastball clocked at 91 MPH pitching three innings for the Louisiana Knights in a 4-4 tie facing FTB 55 Tucci. Rhodes pitched three innings allowing three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and one walk. He struck out two in his 41-pitch outing (68% strikes).
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The DBacks Langley Blaze scored twice in the third inning and made it stand up for a 3-1 win against the Ontario Blue Jays in their annual pre-tourney exhibition match for bragging rights until next October.
Wyatt Wendell, of Lockspur, Col., the son of former major leaguer Turk Wendell started for the DBacks and put up two zeros.
1B Ryan Magdic (Beamsville, Ont.) of the Ontario Royals had a pair of hits and C Jayden Wakeham (Victoria, BC) singled.
RHP Tate Dearing (Surrey, BC) -- one strikeout; Travis McDougall (Abbotsford, BC) -- three strikeouts; Shane Laforest (Belle River, Ont.) -- one strikeout; and Colby Ring (Langley, BC) -- two hits, one strikeout -- each tossed a scoreless inning. RHP Jared Anderson (Victoria, BC) allowed one run in one inning on two hits, while he fanned one.
SS Jaden Brown (Mississauga, Ont.) singled in a run for the Ontario Blue Jays, while Robbie Costa (Oakville, Ont.) doubled. The other hits went to 1B Jake Ervin (Mississauga, Ont.), 3B Thomas Grilli (Mississauga, Ont.), DH Dawson Walters (Toronto, Ont.), C Joshua Cipolla (Oakville, Ont.) and older brother of Lucas Cipolla, had hits.
Dimitri Stamatopoulos (Toronto, Ont.) pitched 2 2/3 innings allowing three runs on three hits and two walks, while fanning a pair. Will Potter (Kincardine, Ont.) took over and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless.
And the pool round ups of the perspective teams with Canadians from the good folks at Perfect Game:
The Ontario Blue Jays ended up getting the win and got a great performance from Jacob Kush (2018, Guelph, Ontario, Canada), who struck out seven hitters and allowed only one hit over the course of his 5 2/3 innings. The righthander worked up to 90 mph with his fastball, consistently sitting in the 86-89 mph range and generating solid plane to the plate despite being a bit undersized as far as traditional righthanders go. He showed off a quality curveball as well, thrown in the mid-70s with good depth.
– Brian Sakowski