By Adam Morissette
AJAX, Ontario – Australia limited Canada to just four hits and managed just enough offence to come away with a 3-2 win and record their first victory of the pre U-18 World Cup Series.
Canada rallied with a run in the ninth on a Dondrae Bremner (Toronto, Ont.) RBI ground out but a double play that saw Jason Willow (Victoria, B.C.) tagged out at home, ended the game.
With the loss, Canada now leads the seven-game series 2-1 as both squads continue preparing for the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay from September 1 to 10.
Canada opened the scoring in the bottom of third courtesy of a Rhys Cratty (Langley, B.C.) sacrifice fly to centre that allowed Willow to tag and score. Willow led off the frame with a double down the left field line and moved to third when Bremner grounded out.
Canada starter Jack DeCooman (North Vancouver, B.C.) provided four innings of scoreless baseball before giving way to Cade Smith (Abbotsford, B.C.) to start the fifth. Smith got into trouble early loading the bases with nobody out before starting a 1-2-3 double play, but a bloop single to right that followed gave the Aussies a 2-1 lead.
DeCooman scattered two hits and a walk and struck out three batters.
Canada had an opportunity to answer back in the bottom half of the inning after Clayton Keyes (Calgary, Alta.) reached on an error and stole second base with nobody out, but was left stranded.
Tate Dearing (White Rock, B.C.) came on for the ninth and pitched a 1-2-3 frame with two strikeouts.
After Victor Cerny (Winnipeg, Man.) reached on an error in the bottom of the ninth, Willow drilled his second double of the game off the fence in left to put runners on second and third with nobody out. Bremner cashed in Cerny before a double play that saw Willow try and score on a ground out, ended the game.
The series resumes on Thursday and runs though Sunday, with all games being played at Audley Ballpark (2001 Audley Rd. Ajax, ON), the same site that hosted the Pan Am Games in 2015. Admission is free for all games.
Baseball Canada will provide 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 @ Australia U18 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