Willow, Cerny, Hassall power Canada to Super Round
U-18 World Cup: Super Round up next after big win over Nicaragua
Sept. 6, 2017
By Adam Morissette
THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Canada exploded for ten runs in the top of the seventh and received home runs from Jason Willow (Victoria, BC) and Victor Cerny (Winnipeg, Man.) to record a 15-3, mercy-rule win over Nicaragua that concluded opening round action at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup.
The win improves Canada’s record to 3-2 good for second place in Group A while also booking a ticket into the Super Round that begins Thursday, Sept. 7 with a match-up against unbeaten USA (6PM ET).
“It was important for us to come out today and get this win,” said Canadian Manager Greg Hamilton. “I’m real proud of our group and the way we’ve competed so far in this tournament.”
Nicaragua starter Noel Leonardo Diaz battled control issues in the top of the first leading to three Canadian runs crossing home plate, the last of which scored on a Jason Willow single.
Willow was front and centre again in the third as he launched a solo homer to left on the first pitch of his at bat before Denzel Clarke (Pickering, Ont.) drove in Victor Cerny from third on a fly ball. Cerny had followed Willow’s homer with a triple to start his 3-for-5 day at the plate that included a single and three-run homer.
Starter Griffin Hassall (Newmarket, Ont.) was in control until the fourth when Nicaragua got on the board with two runs before a strikeout and inning-ending double play ended the threat.
They kept coming in the fifth and used three singles to score a run and chase Hassall from the game. Harley Gollert (Toronto, Ont.) took over and went to work right away getting a 6-4-3 double play and pop out in foul territory to first baseman Archer Brookman (Pointe-Claire, Que.) that ended the inning.
“Harley was huge for us in that spot,” explained Hamilton. “It was close at that point and they had some momentum going.”
Gollert came back out for the sixth and threw a scoreless inning before Canada’s offensive explosion in the seventh.
Brookman looked to have hit his tournament leading third home run but the third base umpire concluded that the ball bounced off the top of the fence leaving him with a two-run triple.
Brookman, Cerny and Denzel Clarke each had three RBIs for Canada while Cerny and Willow collected three hits apiece as Canada’s offence combined for 15 hits.
Canada now can set its sights on the Super Round and an American team that has given up just one earned run though five games.
“We know we’re going to face a really strong team tomorrow night,” added Hamilton. “But we’re also feeling pretty good about ourselves and are looking forward to playing in front of our home fans.”
Live streaming for tomorrow’s game will be available via the WBSC’s YouTube channel.
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