JNT Spring: Fort Lauderdale Stars edge juniors
March 19, 2018
By Adam Morissette
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – A run in the top of the first and a solo home run in the eighth proved to be all of the offence that the Fort Lauderdale Stars would need as they limited the Junior National Team to just three hits and seven base runners to come away with a 2-1 win.
Both sides agreed to play a tenth inning where Joel McKnight (Brooklin, Ont.) doubled to left and scored on a two-out error for the only Junior National Team run of the ballgame.
The loss drops the Junior National Team’s record to 0-4 with three games remaining on the spring training tour.
The juniors received some solid pitching in the afternoon tilt with starter Theo Millas (Burnaby, B.C.) working two scoreless frames after the first before Justin Thorsteinson (Langley, B.C.) kept the Stars off the scoreboard for three innings. Declan Dutton (Vancouver, B.C.) and Keegan Pulford-Thorpe (Newmarket, ON) each tossed scoreless innings in relief.
Top 1 – Fort Lauderdale took advantage of an error that put their leadoff hitter on and two batters later used a single up the middle to cash him in and take an early 1-0 lead.
Top 6 – Fort Lauderdale did not plate any runs in the sixth but were certainly set up to do so loading the bases with two out before Blake Buckle (Milton, Ont.) made an incredible diving catch in left-centre to end the frame.
Top 8 – After Declan Dutton entered the game in the seventh with a scoreless inning; he allowed a solo homer to start the eighth that put Fort Lauderdale up by two.
Bottom 10 - Joel McKnight doubled to left and scored from third base when Cesar Valero (Calgary, Alta.) reached on an error.
-Fort Lauderdale’s starter was Junior National Team grad Skylar Janisse (2011) of Maidstone, Ont. Janisse is signed with the Joliet Slammers of the Frontier League for the 2018 season.
-Fort Lauderdale’s roster included Chevy Clarke, a 26-year-old former first round draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels (2010). Clarke spent five seasons in the Angels’ organization before one season in the White Sox system
-16-year-old Theo Millas was impressive in his three innings as he retired the final five batters he faced including two strikeouts in the third. Millas didn’t allow an earned run and gave up just one hit.
-With Fort Lauderdale leading 1-0 in the top of the first, Blake Buckle kept a sure run off the scoreboard, with a tremendous diving catch in left field. Buckle repeated the feat in the sixth with a diving grab that left the bases loaded.
-Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) was a one-man show in centre field in the fifth as he recorded all three putouts including a running catch at the wall for the third out. After the catch, his momentum forced him to scale the wall in centre where he landed on the other side of the fence.
-Reliever Justin Thorsteinson tossed three scoreless innings and had one strikeout while also receiving some solid defence behind him to get out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth.
-After getting into trouble by walking a pair of hitters in the ninth, reliever Keegan Pulford-Thorpe was aided by caught stealing before he struck out two to get out of the inning.
The Junior National Team will be back at the Walter Fuller Complex tomorrow for an inter-squad game beginning at 1 p.m. E.T. before travelling to the Bobby Mattick Complex in Dunedin to face a prospects squad from the Toronto Blue Jays organization on Wednesday.