St. Cloud MN- Three pitchers combined to strikeout fourteen JNT batter’s and the Taiwanese used two, 2-run innings to shutout the JNT 4-0. The afternoon contest at Faber Field was the second-to-last exhibition game that the JNT will play before the start of the World Junior Baseball Championships in Thunder Bay, beginning July 23rd.
“We didn’t play that bad but we got beat in all facets (of the game),” said JNT Head Coach, Greg Hamilton (Ottawa, ON). “They out-pitched us, out-hit us, and outplayed us on defence.”
The JNT may have been suffering from a bit of a letdown after defeating Team USA the previous game and not realizing that they had a formidable opponent in Taiwan to play less than 24 hours later.
“From a physical perspective (compared to the USA), our guys may have thought it was going to be a little easy,” explained Hamilton. “But it’s not the case, they are a good club.”
Tom Robson (Ladner, BC) had the start for the JNT and he looked to build on his performance from his previous start in Torrington where he recorded the victory. Robson held the Taiwanese hitter’s at bay through three innings by facing the minimum amount of batter’s. Robson’s luck changed in the 4th inning when he gave up 3 straight hit’s that saw Taiwan jump out to a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, with two out, a Jimmy Ralph (Raymond, AB) error brought in another run for Taiwan.
Robson would be replaced by Joel Pierce (Windsor, ON) in the 5th inning. Pierce got into trouble right away by loading the bases. It looked like Pierce was going to get out of the jam when he struck out two straight batters with nasty curveballs, but it wasn’t meant to be as the next batter singled up-the-middle, just beyond the outstretched glove of Ralph. The hit scored two runs giving the Taiwanese a commanding 4-0 lead.
Pierce settled down from there shutting out Taiwan for the next two innings. Overall, Pierce pitched 3 innings, giving up 2 runs, on 4 hits while striking out 4 batters.
Offensively the JNT threatened in the 7th inning with Kellin Deglan (Langley, BC) recorded his first hit of the tour, an opposite field double to left field. Deglan was later batted around to third and looked to score after Alex Calbick (Burnaby, BC) nailed a line drive to centre field, only to be robbed on the play when the centre fielder made a leaping catch to end the inning.
“The thing you consistently see out of the Asian countries is that their pitcher’s command breaking balls,” said Hamilton. “I think that’s something our guy’s learned tonight, it wasn’t like we got beat with fastballs, it was secondary pitches.”
Brian Bardis (St. Constant, QC) continued to be effective for the JNT, pitching a scoreless 8th inning with only one runner reaching base which came on an error.
“I was pretty happy with how we pitched,” continued Hamilton. “We just need to understand we have to pitch to these guy’s a little differently. You can’t just go up there and throw fastballs because they’ll pick you apart.”
Notes: The JNT will play their final pre-world’s game on July 20th against Team USA at Faber Field, first pitch is set for 7:30pm CT. …Faber Field is home to the St. Cloud Riverbats of the collegiate, Northwoods League.
The 2010 IBAF World Junior (18U) Baseball Championship will host national teams from Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Panama, Venezuela and the United States. Teams will begin qualifying games on July 23rd and the tournament will culminate in the Gold Medal game on August 1st at the Port Arthur Stadium in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Visit the website at www.worldbaseball2010.com. For tickets, please call Toll Free 1-877-422-3201.