By Adam Morissette
DUNEDIN, Florida- The Junior National Team kept it close in the hit department racking-up seven hits to the Blue Jays ten, but fell on the scoreboard, 13-2, in the penultimate Fall Instructional League contest.
After a short bus ride from Orlando to Dunedin, the juniors came out swinging as Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) led off the contest with a single to centre and quickly swiped second base to set up an RBI single off the bat of Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) for an early 1-0 lead.
The lead was short-lived however as the Blue Jays responded with two runs off starter Eric Cerantola (Oakville, Ont.) in the bottom half of the inning coming on an RBI single before an error brought in the second run.
In the fourth, Naylor whacked his second hit of the game, a double to left, and proceeded to score on a two-out double off the bat of TJ Schofield-Sam (Brampton, Ont.) that evened the score, 2-2.
Cerantola followed up on a shaky first with two scoreless innings before giving way to reliever Jaden Griffin (Lower Sackville, N.S.) in the bottom of the fourth.
The Blue Jays' prospects took a 3-2 lead in the fourth and Griffin looked to get out of the fifth unharmed before a two-out walk followed by a triple, single and RBI ground out brought in three runs to put the Jays in front, 7-2.
The Jays kept coming in the sixth loading the bases on a double and a pair of walks before a pair of singles scored three runs.
With reliever Connor Sparks (Saskatoon, Sask.) taking over for Griffin in the seventh, the Jays rounded out their scoring with a run in the seventh before plating two in the eighth that included a solo home run.
Offensively, Noah Naylor had a 2-for-3 day at the plate and drove in a run while Schofield-Sam, Nicolas Tremblay (Mont St-Hilaire, Que.) and Damiano Palmegiani (Surrey, B.C.) all connected for doubles while Blake Buckle (Milton, Ont.) added a single.
UP NEXT: The juniors will be back at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Wednesday to wrap-up the Fall Instructional League Camp with a 1 p.m. E.T. contest against the Atlanta Braves prospects.