May 20, 2018
JNT DSL: Sparks delivers in loss to Phillies
By Adam Morissette
BOCA CHICA, Dominican Republic – Saskatoon’s Connor Sparks provided a solid start on the mound, but the Junior National Team could not muster any offence as the Philadelphia Phillies Dominican prospects came away with a 5-0 win.
With nine games remaining on the tour, Sparks ate up some innings going 6 2/3 and allowing two earned runs on four hits while managing two strikeouts.
A Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) base hit in the first and a LaRon Smith (Spruce Grove, Alta.) lead off single in the eighth provided the only two Junior National Team hits of the contest.
-After cruising through his first three innings on the mound, starter Sparks hit the first batter he faced in the fourth before allowing a single, followed by a triple to centre that staked the Phillies out to a 2-0 advantage.
-The Phillies loaded the bases in the sixth on an error, walk and base hit before a fielder’s choice brought in a run. After a hit batter, an error from shortstop Jaden Brown (Mississauga, Ont.) plated another run and the Phillies led, 4-0.
-Reliever Olivier Morin-Larocque (L'Ancienne-Lorette, Que.) was working to escape a two-out jam in the eighth that saw the Phillies have runners on the corners but a base hit to centre brought in a run and the Phillies made it 5-0.
-Sparks retired the first seven batters he faced before an error in the third gave the Phillies their first base runner.
-After a fielder’s choice, catcher Noah Naylor showed off his arm from behind the playing nabbing a would be base stealer at second base to end the inning.
-The juniors made three errors but did receive some fine plays defensively from Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) in centre field, Daniel Carinci (Ajax, Ont.) at second base and Jaden Brown at shortstop.
The Junior National Team will play a doubleheader tomorrow beginning with a match-up against the DSL Tigers at 10:30 a.m. E.T. to be followed by a contest against the DSL Brewers...RHP Declan Dutton (North Vancouver, B.C.) will start on the mound against the Tigers while RHP Evan Elliott (Toronto, Ont.) will get the nod against the Brewers.