By Adam Morissette
AJAX, Ontario – Canada nearly doubled Australia’s output in the hit category but lost the battle on the scoreboard with a 6-4 defeat.
Clayton Keyes (Calgary, Alta.) smacked two doubles and added a single while Michael Stovman (Maple Ridge, B.C.), Noah Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.), Jason Willow (Victoria, B.C.) and Dondrae Bremner (Toronto, Ont.) had two-hit games.
The Aussies were opportunistic with their offence producing runs with two out on three different occasions and evened the pre U-18 World Cup series at two games apiece. Both squads are preparing for the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay from September 1 to 10.
It didn’t take long for the Canadians to jump on the scoreboard after Keyes and Naylor combined for back-to-back, one out doubles in the top of the first. Naylor then moved to third on a passed ball and scored when Archer Brookman (Pointe-Claire, Que.) lifted a sac-fly into centre field.
A Dondrae Bremner error in the bottom of the second put the leadoff runner on base and Australia took advantage using a double and sac fly to tie the score. They kept swing the bats in the third and used three doubles to take a 4-2 lead.
After scoring two runs with two out in each of the second and third frames, the Aussies struck again with two out, this time a solo home run off the bat of Jett Wright in the fourth to go up 5-2.
Canada starter Ben Abram (Georgetown, Ont.) was charged with three earned runs and struck out three over four innings of work.
Both clubs traded runs in the fifth before Willow’s RBI single in the sixth brought Canada back to within two.
Reliever Griffin Hassall (Newmarket, Ont.) allowed a run in the fifth before proceeding to blank the Aussies for three innings as part of his four-inning outing. He struck out three batters.
The series resumes on Friday(7 p.m. E.T.) and runs though Sunday with all games being played at Audley Ballpark (2001 Audley Rd. Ajax, Ont.), the same site that hosted the Pan Am Games in 2015. Admission is free for all games.
Baseball Canada is providing live scoring for all seven games.
Monday 21 Aug Australia U18 2 @ Canada U183 7PM
Tuesday 22 Aug Canada U18 8 @ Australia U18 2 7PM
Wednesday 23 Aug Australia U18 3 @ Canada U18 2 7PM
Thursday 24 Aug Canada U18 4 @ Australia U18 6 7PM
Friday 25 Aug Australia U18 @ Canada U18 7PM
Saturday 26 Aug Canada U18 @ Australia U18 1PM
Sunday 27 Aug Australia U18 @ Canada U18 1PM