March 24, 2018
By Adam Morissette
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – The Junior National Team dropped the final game of their spring training camp, 4-0, to a group of prospects from the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
Errors led to the Rays’ first two runs as they built a 2-0 lead after five before a Carlos Vargas two-run homer in the seventh rounded out the scoring.
Offensively, the juniors registered four hits including a double from Martin Vincelli-Simard (Boisbriand, Que.), while Daniel Carinci (Ajax, Ont.), TJ Schofield-Sam (Brampton, Ont.) and Cesar Valero (Calgary, Alta.) each had singles.
RHP Braden Halladay, who pitched an impressive inning a week ago aagainst the Toronto Blue Jays, was scheduled to pitch but did not. Halladay worked three innings for Calvary Christian on Thursday so coach Greg Hamilton didn’t pitch him against the Rays.
Top 3 – Reliever Connor Sparks (Saskatoon, Sask.) walked the first two batters of the inning before getting a double play with the runner advancing to third. Then, a ground ball got away from shortstop Jaden Brown (Mississauga, Ont.) that went for an error and the Rays took a 1-0 lead.
Top 5 – With reliever Keegan Pulford-Thorpe (Newmarket, Ont.) on the mound, a one-out single moved to second on a stolen base before a steal of third with a throwing error from catcher Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) brought in the Rays’ second run of the ballgame.
Top 7 – Cameron Thickson (Winnipeg, Man.) took over on the mound to start the seventh and allowed a one out single before giving up a two-run homer to left that made it 4-0 for the visitors.
-Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg Dr. Kanika Tomalin threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game. Baseball Canada has enjoyed an eight-year relationship with the City of St. Petersburg who has hosted Junior National Team spring training since 2011.
-Starter Griffin Hassall (Newmarket, Ont.) worked quickly and was extremely effective over two innings as he retired all six batters he faced including two strikeouts.
-Relievers Connor Sparks and Keegan Pulford-Thorpe tossed two innings apiece without giving up an earned run. Sparks had one strikeout while Pulford-Thorpe registered a pair.
-Martin Vincelli-Simard led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to centre and moved to third on a wild pitch, while Jaden Brown drew his second walk and collected his second stolen base of the game, however both were left on base.
-After giving up a two-run homer in the seventh, Cameron Thickson settled in for a perfect eighth that included one strikeout.
-Jaden Griffin (Lower Sackville, N.S.) worked a scoreless ninth with one strikeout. A two-out single moved to third on a stolen base and an error, but Griffin induced a ground out to second to end the frame.
The Junior National Team will reconvene in Palm Beach, Fla. from April 19-28 for the annual Extended Spring Training Camp that will be followed by the Dominican Summer League tour from May 18-26.