Versatile Smith stars for juniors in doubleheader

 On Monday, LaRon Smith (Spruce Grove, Alta.) had two hits in each of the Canadian Junior National team's games and also hurled two scoreless innings. Photo Credit: Amanda Fewer (File Photo)

On Monday, LaRon Smith (Spruce Grove, Alta.) had two hits in each of the Canadian Junior National team's games and also hurled two scoreless innings. Photo Credit: Amanda Fewer (File Photo)

May 21, 2018

JNT DSL: Juniors earn draw with Brewers, fall to Tigers

By Adam Morissette

Baseball Canada

SAN PEDRO de MACORÍS, Dominican Republic – A long day of baseball saw the Junior National Team fight their way back to earn a 3-3 tie against the Milwaukee Brewers Dominican prospects while an error-filled contest in the morning resulted in a 10-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers’ Dominican squad.

Detroit Tigers DSL 10 Junior National Team 6

SCORING

-A misplayed ground ball by second baseman LaRon Smith (Spruce Grove, AB) put the Tigers’ leadoff batter aboard in the bottom of the first before a double to wall in centre followed by a broken bat single to left plated two. Starter Declan Dutton (North Vancouver, B.C.) managed to get a fly out to left before a walk and RBI single put the Tigers in front by three.

-The juniors fought back in the top of the second plating a pair of runs to pull within one. Smith got things going with a leadoff single and Cesar Valero (Calgary, Alta.) followed with a triple left.  He then scored when Dylan Ohlsen (Chilliwack, B.C.) ripped a single to centre.

-The scoring continued in the home half of the inning as a walk and double scored one run before a base hit followed by a fielding a throwing error charged to TJ Schofield-Sam (Brampton, Ont.) brought in two more. 

-Not to be outdone, the juniors fought back and it started when Jayden Knight (Langley, B.C.) stroked a double to left that scored Dasan Brown (Toronto, Ont.) while Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) walked to put runners on first and second. Schofield-Sam then stepped to the plated and smoked a double to centre that scored Knight and Clarke and it was 6-5. With two out, Blake Buckle (Milton, Ont.) came up clutch with a single to left to complete the four-run frame.

-Justin Thorsteinson (Langley, B.C.) took over for Dutton in the third and didn’t get much help early as back-to-back errors put Tigers on first and second before a passed ball moved them up. A sac fly to right allowed the Tigers to regain the lead.

-A one-out, solo home run that cleared the wall in left field gave the Tigers an 8-6 lead and capped a run of scoring in four consecutive innings before Thorsteinson put up a zero in the fifth. 

-Defensive miscues continued to cost the juniors in the sixth as a double and error put runners on second and third before a fielder’s choice gave the Tigers their ninth run of the ballgame. They added to their lead on a two-out, RBI single to left.

QUICK HITS

-LaRon Smith was a factor on both sides of the ball going 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and doing a solid for a taxed Junior National Team pitching staff with two scoreless innings on the mound.

-Justin Thorsteinson quietly put together a nice outing on the mound allowing just one earned run over four innings of work with four strikeouts. The lone earned run came in the form of a solo home run in the fourth before he blanked the Tigers in the fifth for the first time in the game.

-Ten of 14 Junior National Team batters that went to plate recorded hits including two-hits games from Smith and Jayden Knight who hit safely in both of his at-bats.

Junior National Team 3 Milwaukee Brewers DSL 3

SCORING

-A leadoff single, stolen base, wild pitch and walk put runners on the corners for the Brewers in the bottom of the first and successfully executed a double steal to take a 1-0 lead on starter Evan Elliott (Toronto, Ont.) and the Junior National Team.

-A missed catch at first base by Owen Diodati (Niagara Falls, Ont.) put a runner on second base with one out in the fourth before a wild pitch a base hit brought in the second Brewers run of the game.

-Cesar Valero (Calgary, Alta.) picked up his second hit of the ballgame in the fifth and it was a big one as his double to centre scored Diodati from second base to get the Junior National Team on the scoreboard. Valero was later picked off second base before Nicolas Tremblay’s (Mont St-Hilaire, Que.) double. Tremblay however was thrown out after taking a wide turn around second before trying to get back to the base in advance of the tag.

-With runners on first and third and one out, Elliott exited the game and Zack McQuaid (Oshawa, Ont.) entered from the bullpen. A wild pitch brought one run in and the Brewers regained their two-run lead.

-The juniors clawed their way back into the game in the eighth and it was Denzel Clarke who led off with a double to left and eventually came around to score on Damiano Palmegiani’s (Surrey, B.C.) base hit up the middle. With the bases loaded, Martin Vincelli-Simard (Boisbriand, Que.) bounced a ball to shortstop that saw Blake Buckle (Milton, Ont.) execute a textbook take out slide allowing Nicolas Tremblay to score the tying run.

QUICK HITS

-The juniors missed on a pair of opportunities to score in the fourth as Jaden Brown (Mississauga, Ont.) got caught in a run down between third and home on a ground ball to third for the first out of the frame. Later, with two out and runners on second and third, LaRon Smith hit a hot shot towards shortstop that hit runner TJ Schofield-Sam that went for the third out.

-Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) showed off his arm from behind the plate nabbing a runner at third in the first before gunning down a runner at second in the second frame.

-Starter Evan Elliott did more than he was asked as he worked five and one-thirds innings and gave up just one earned run while picking off two runners. 

-LaRon Smith, Cesar Valero, Nicolas Tremblay and Blake Buckle each had two-hit games as the Junior National Team pounded out 13 hits.

-Zack McQuaid battled through his three and one-thirds innings outing including stranding the game-winning run on third base in the ninth to preserve the tie.

UP NEXT

The Junior National Team will play the DSL Toronto Blue Jays tomorrow beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET in Boca Chica...RHP Carter Morris (Vernon, B.C.) is slated to start on the mound.

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.