JNT Spring: Pitching impresses as juniors tie Blue Jays

 Tate Dearing (White Rock, B.C.) pitched three shutout innings for the Canadian Junior National Team against a team of Toronto Blue Jays prospects on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Amanda Fewer

Tate Dearing (White Rock, B.C.) pitched three shutout innings for the Canadian Junior National Team against a team of Toronto Blue Jays prospects on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Amanda Fewer

March 21, 2018

By Adam Morissette

Baseball Canada

DUNEDIN, Florida - Pitching ruled on a cool Florida afternoon with wind gusts as high as 46 km/h as the Junior National Team scored a run in the eighth to escape with a 1-1 tie against a prospects squad from the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

Box Score

Eric Cerantola (Oakville, Ont.), Ben Abram (Georgetown, Ont.) and Tate Dearing (White Rock, B.C.) combined to strike out 11 Blue Jays while giving up nine hits and issuing just three walks.

Offensively, the juniors managed just two hits but scratched across a run in the eighth to earn a well-deserved tie against their professional counterparts.


Bottom 1 – A leadoff single, wild pitch and base hit put a runner on third and with two out, a base hit up the middle plated the runner to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.

Top 8 – The Junior National Team finally got on the scoreboard in the eighth and it was Blake Buckle (Milton, Ont.) who worked a walk with the bases loaded to allow Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) to trot home with the tying run. Naylor had reached on a one out walk and moved to third on Denzel Clarke’s (Pickering, Ont.) single to right. After a fielder’s choice, Daniel Carinci (Ajax, Ont.) drew a walk to load the bases.


-Blue Jays reliever John Axford was at the Bobby Mattick Complex throwing in a minor league game and visited with some of the coaches afterwards. The Port Dover, Ontario played with the Junior National Team in 2001 and is currently in big league spring training with the Blue Jays.

-Junior National Team alums Owen Spiwak (Mississauga, Ont.) (2012, 2013), Jordan Romano  (Markham, Ont.) (2010) and Tom Robson (Ladner, B.C.) (2010, 2011) were also at the Bobby Mattick Complex.

-The Blue Jays’ roster was primarily composed of first and second year pros. Players who will likely remain in Dunedin for extended spring training.

-The juniors threatened in the first as Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) beat out an infield single with two out before Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) walked and TJ Schofield-Sam (Brampton, Ont.) reached on an error. LaRon Smith (Spruce Grove, Alta.) grounded into a force out at second to end the frame.

-Eric Cerantola worked three innings including a perfect second and got out of a base loaded jam in the third getting a double play to end the threat.

-Reliever Ben Abram recorded all six outs in the fourth and fifth via the strikeout. The big right-hander left the bases loaded in the fourth, a runner on third in the fifth and a runner on first in the sixth to go three scoreless.

-Tate Dearing took over from Abram in the seventh and retired the first seven hitters he faced before allowing a walk in the ninth. A base hit to right moved the runner to third only to see Dearing leave him stranded to end the ballgame.

-Junior National Team catcher Ryan Faragher (London, Ont.) is celebrating his 18th birthday today.


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 Baltimore Orioles’ Minor League Complex in Sarasota to face a prospects squad from their organization on Friday (Noon 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.