By David Morassutti
Canadian Baseball Network
TORONTO – It was a frustrating day at the plate for Quebec Blue but with an opportunity to take first place in Pool B, it was only a matter of time before someone would break through.
Leading 2-1 in the top half of the final inning, catcher Philippe Breton (Repentigny, Que.) hit a line drive to left field to give Quebec (2-1) a much-needed insurance run, as they beat Atlantic Maroon (1-2) 4-1 at Rogers Centre on Saturday at Tournament 12.
With hits hard to come by, pitching and defence was the difference with Quebec capitalizing on two fielding errors by Atlantic.
“Our team performed well, we had a lot of hard hit balls but sometimes it doesn’t go our way,” said outfielder Justin Humenay (Beaconsfield, Que.). “The pitching was good today, pounding the strike zone and our defence was solid all around.”
Quebec did not register their first hit of the game until the fourth inning when Danick Roussel (Gatineau, Que.) singled to right field moving Humenay to second after he reached on a wild pitch. He would later score on a throwing error to first base.
“Getting an edge on the other team gives you a boost to your mentality,” said Humenay. “It helped our team gain some confidence at the plate and obviously we were able to drive [in] some more runs at the end.”
Breton finished the game with an RBI, but it was his play behind the plate that helped starting pitcher Viktor Bergeron (Terrebonne, Que.) after he hit a batter and walked the next one.
The two have been friends since the age of seven living only 20 minutes away from each other so Breton knew exactly what his starting pitcher needed to hear.
“He just told me a joke, something funny we talked about back at the hotel,” said Bergeron. “He told me to forget about the last pitches, have fun and throw the ball in the strike zone.”
It is not often for a player like Breton to have success as a multi-positional player. He pitched in relief against the Futures Navy recording five strikeouts over two innings.
“He obviously did a good job today driving in runs for us,” said Humenay. “It is like a triple threat having a guy that [can] hit, pitch and make plays behind the plate."
Quebec will have to wait for the final score between the Futures Navy and Prairies Purple to determine where they stand heading into the final round robin game. If Futures win, they overtake first place because of a better head-to-head record. A Prairies win will allow Quebec to keep their first-place standing.
The final round robin game for Quebec will be against Ontario Black (0-2) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. with playoffs beginning on Sunday afternoon.