By Adam Morissette
THUNDER BAY, Ontario –A late-inning rally and home runs from Edouard Julien (Québec City, Que.) and Michael Stovman (Maple Ridge, B.C.) weren’t enough as Canada fell victims to the long ball themselves and dropped to 0-2 at the WBSC U-18 World Cup with an 11-7 loss to Korea.
Fourteen walks (two intentional) handed out by Canadian pitchers proved fatal while Korea walked five batters but kept Canada in check by snuffing out a pair of rallies. Korea actually committed four errors to Canada’s three while both teams came up with eight hits apiece.
“It’s really tough to win baseball games when you walk that many,” said Canadian manager Greg Hamilton. “We were forced to play catch-up all game and that’s a tough thing to do."
The first of three Korean long balls of the game was a big one as Korea’s Cho Dae Hyun took an 0-2 pitch from starter Landon Leach (Pickering, Ont.) over the left field wall to put the visitors up, 3-0, in the second inning.
Canada answered back in the third and it was Julien who did the damage as he launched a two-run homer to dead centre that brought Canada to within one.
Leach pitched into the fourth but came out of the game after allowing a two-run homer that gave Korea their three-run lead back and Eric Cerantola (Oakville, Ont.) took over.
The home run parade continued in the bottom of the inning when Stovman launched a 1-0 offering well behind the right field fence only to see Korea respond with two runs in the fifth. A Cerantola wild pitch and a run scoring fielder’s choice with reliever William Sierra (Montréal, Que.) on the mound led to both runs crossing the plate.
Down 9-3 in the seventh, Canada showed signs of life as Lucas Parente (Burlington, Ont.) came up with an RBI single with the bases loaded while Julien reached on an error that brought in Dondrae Bremner (Toronto, Ont.). A bases loaded walk and sac-fly from Archer Brookman (Montréal, Que.) closed the gap to 9-7 but that’s as close as Canada would get as Korea’s Ye Jinwon belted a two-run shot in the eighth to add some much needed insurance runs.
With only three teams from Group A advancing to the Super Round, Canada has little margin for error starting with tomorrow's match-up against winless Italy (6:30 p.m. E.T.).
“We need everyone contributing,” said Julien. “Pitchers, hitters, everyone has to be all in if we’re going to start winning games."
Live scoring for tomorrow’s contest against Italy will be available via the WBSC website.