May 25, 2018
JNT DSL: Rays, Dodgers get past juniors
By Adam Morissette
GUERRA, Dominican Republic – The Junior National Team suffered a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Dominican Summer League Rays and Dodgers on the second to last day of the DSL tour.
A close ballgame against the Rays was broken wide open by a seventh inning grand slam resulting in a 7-1 defeat while in the afternoon affair, the Dodgers belted two home runs en route to a 10-1 victory.
-After two perfect innings to start the contest, starter Connor Sparks (Saskatoon, Sask.) issued a one-out walk in the third before a double to left put runners on second and third. The Rays scored the first run of the game on a slow roller to third fielded on the run by Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) who dished to catcher Owen Diodati (Niagara Falls, Ont.) with the runner sliding in under the tag.
-The juniors answered back in the top of the fourth and it was Blake Buckle (Milton, Ont.) who came up with a clutch, two out single to left that scored Naylor from second base. Naylor had reached on a one out walk and moved into scoring position on a free pass issued to LaRon Smith (Spruce Grove, Alta.).
-The Rays took a 2-1 lead in the fifth using a lead off single and stolen base to get a runner into scoring position before a two out, base hit to left scored a run.
-Things took a turn for the worse in the seventh after back-to-back singles to start the frame and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for the Rays before a grand slam to left that gave them a commanding five-run lead.
-Justin Thorsteinson (Langley, BC) pitched the bottom of the eighth and allowed a one out triple to right-centre before the first Junior National Team error of the ballgame, a throwing error from LaRon Smith, scored the seventh Rays run.
-The grand slam in the seventh put a blemish on an otherwise solid performance from starter Connor Sparks. Sparks retired the Rays in order on three occasions and had six strikeouts over six and one-third innings on the mound.
-The Junior National Team played a tight game on defence save for the lone error in the eighth.
-The Dodgers loaded the bases on starter Evan Elliott (Toronto, Ont.) thanks to a pair of walks and an error in the bottom of the first and used a sac fly to right field to plate the first run of the ballgame.
-In the third, Martin Vincelli-Simard (Boisbriand, Que.) drew a lead off walk, moved to second when Dasan Brown (Oakville, Ont.) was hit by a pitch and scored when Jaden Brown (Mississauga, Ont.) chopped a ball to third that was misplayed by the Dodgers’ third baseman and rolled into left field.
-The Dodgers struck for three runs in the third highlighted by a solo home run that cleared the wall in left field. A walk, double and triple put the Dodgers in front by three.
-After entering the game in the fifth and tossing two scoreless innings, the Dodgers got to Zack McQuaid (Oshawa, Ont.) in the seventh with a three-run frame. A single and double led to one run before a walk and double to left brought in two more.
-The Dodgers kept swinging the bats in the eighth getting their second home run of the contest, this one a two run shot to left as they added three runs to take a 10-1 lead.
-The contest was played as “Campo Los Palmas”, the oldest complex in the Dominican Republic that has produced players such as Pedro Martinez and Fernando Valenzuela.
The Junior National Team will conclude the Dominican Summer League tour tomorrow with a 10:00 a.m. E.T. match-up against the Pittsburgh Pirates Dominican prospects...RHP Ben Abram (Georgetown, Ont.) is expected to start on the mound.