THUNDER BAY – The Junior National Team pounded out 14 hits and had two multi-run innings in beating Panama convincingly by a score of 9-2. In total the JNT used five pitchers in front of yet another packed house at Port Arthur Stadium. Their record now stands at 3 wins and 1 loss heading into the final day of pool play at the World Junior Baseball Championships.
Mike Ellis (Surrey, BC) impressed working 4 scoreless innings. It was Ellis’ first start since facing Team USA in Saint Paul on July 16th and he showed no signs of any rust. Ellis allowed only 2 base-runners which came on two hits while striking out 2 batters.
Head Coach Greg Hamilton (Ottawa, ON) explained after the game why he took Ellis out after only 4 innings.
“We wanted to get him out of there so we could have an option with him later in the tournament,” said Hamilton of the move. “He’s a three-pitch guy that throws strikes and he gives us a chance to win every night.”
After scoring a run in the 1st inning the JNT took control of the game in the 2nd putting 4 runs across for a 5-run lead. The big hit of the inning was a Rowan Wick (North Vancouver, BC) double that scored Jalen Harris (Toronto, ON) from 1st base. Later in the frame Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, ON) nailed a double that scored 2 more runs to give the Canadians a nice cushion.
Replacing Ellis to start the 5th inning was Joel Pierce (Windsor, ON) who worked two scoreless innings. Pierce did have some control problems issuing 4 walks, but was able to escape any damage. Pierce also struck out 2 batters.
The game was put out of reach in the bottom of the 6th which saw the JNT add 3 more runs. Brandon Dailey (Brantford, ON) doubled and was hit home by an Alex Calbick (Burnaby, BC) double to put the Canadians up by six. Philip Dierdrick (Ajax, ON) continues to be a force offensively as he hit the JNT’s third double of the inning that cashed in 2 runs. Diedrick’s hit was a liner to centre field that carried over the out-stretched glove of the fielder and rolled to the wall.
Brian Bardis (St. Constant, QC) and Jonathan Paquet (Ancienne Lorette, QC) pitched the 7th and 8th innings respectively, both allowing no runs.
Things got a little sloppy defensively for the JNT in the 9th as Nicholas Pivetta (Victoria, BC) came on to close things out. Two consecutive errors were committed which loaded the bases for Panama. The next hitter singled to break the shut-out bid. The other Panamanian run came on a fielder’s choice.
The lapse on defence was not lost on Hamilton, who knows his team will have to play a complete 9 innings to advance in the tournament.
“That was a focus thing, there is no doubt about it,” claimed Hamilton. “We just got sloppy and guys weren’t concentrating. Sometimes that happens with young players though.”
Hamilton also mentioned that the longer the inning continued the more pitches Pivetta threw, which was something he wanted to avoid.
“They need to understand its more pitches,” said Hamilton of his defence. “He’s a guy that we’re going to use in key spots and he’s out there throwing more pitches than he needs to. Hopefully it is a lesson learned.”
Notes: The JNT will close out the round-robin portion of the tournament on July 28th against the Czech Republic starting at 7pm ET. …Diedrick led the JNT offensively with 3 hits on the evening. … …For live scores, stats and standings of the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championships please visit: http://www.scorekeepers.org/tornei/2010/canada/schedule.php . … Fans can also receive wall-to-wall coverage of the tournament by visiting: http://www.slnsports.com/world-juniors