JNT Spring: Phillies use long ball to top juniors

 Cesar Valero (Calgary, Alta.), of the Okotok Dawgs Baseball Academy, belted the first home run of the spring for the Canadian National Junior Team on Sunday. Photo Credit: Eddie Michels

Cesar Valero (Calgary, Alta.), of the Okotok Dawgs Baseball Academy, belted the first home run of the spring for the Canadian National Junior Team on Sunday. Photo Credit: Eddie Michels

By Adam Morissette

Baseball Canada

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – A power surge that saw the Philadelphia Phillies’ prospects squad hit two home runs was too much for the Junior National Team this afternoon as they fell, 8-4.

Box Score

The juniors are now 0-3 on the spring training trip with four games remaining on the schedule.

Cesar Valero (Calgary, Alta.) belted the first home run of Junior National Team spring training and later added a single before getting hit by a pitch to reach base in all three of his plate appearances.

The juniors cut in to the Phillies lead with three runs in the fifth but couldn’t manufacture any more offence.


Top 1 – The Phillies got on the board early scoring four runs, all coming with two. Varennes, Que., native Ben Pelletier doubled off the wall in left to score one before starter Carter Morris (Vernon, B.C.) loaded the bases on a walk and hit batter before allowing a bases clearing double to left.

Bottom 1 – Cesar Valero (Calgary, Alta.) got the juniors on the board in a big way in the home half of the inning and drilled a 2-1 offering over the wall in left field for a solo home run.

Top 4 – After coming into the game in the third and working his way out of a messy situation, reliever Caden Griffin (Ottawa, Ont.) got into trouble in the fourth allowing a lead off homer before a walk and double came around to score on the second home run of the inning to put the Phillies up, 8-1.

Bottom 5 – The juniors strung together some hits in the fifth and cut into the Phillies’ lead with three runs thanks to a Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) RBI single that dropped into centre before Damiano Palmegiani (Surrey, B.C.) lined a single up the middle that cashed in a pair.


-In what has become a tradition when the Phillies travel to St. Pete to face the junior team each year, their travelling party includes longtime National Team Manager Ernie Whitt and former National Team player and coach Rob Ducey (Cambridge, Ont.).

-19-year-old Ben Pelletier who hails from Varennes, Que., was in the Phillies’ lineup and is entering his third season with the organization after they selected him in the 2016 MLB Draft.

-With the bases loaded and one out in the third, Caden Griffin (Ottawa, Ont.) came in from the bullpen to relieve Carter Morris and got a strikeout and fly out to left to leave the bases full.

-Reliever Olivier Morin-Larocque (Québec, Que.) tossed two scoreless innings allowing just one single and had one strikeout in the seventh.

-Zack McQuaid (Oshawa, Ont.) picked up right where Morin-Larocque left off tossing a perfect eighth including one strikeout and two fly outs. In the ninth, he got two quick ground outs and a line out to face the minimum over two innings of work.


The Junior National Team will be back at the Walter Fuller Complex tomorrow to face the Fort Lauderdale Stars independent squad at 1 p.m. E.T...Burnaby, B.C., native Theo Millas will get the start on the mound... Fans can listen to the contest by visiting radiostpete.com with coverage beginning at 12:50 p.m. E.T.

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.